Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 (New King James Version-emphasis mine)
As you can tell, my October posts have focused pretty much on fear. Even my first post of the month, “You Mean To Tell Me…?” focused on the fear of not being “good enough” for God. As we don scary costumes for Halloween parties and trick-or-treat, and watch scary movies on TV, we need to look at what truly makes us afraid.
There are, of course, two kinds of fear. The first is our natural fear that instills a “fight or flight” response in us from our prehistoric days. The “fight” kicks in when we face a threatening situation we need to remove: a soldier in the battlefield; a cop with a violent offender; somebody fighting off a would-be attacker. The “flight” part kicks in when the threatening situation could is bigger than us and we need to get away: jumping from in front of an oncoming car; people evacuating a town in a hurricane’s path; a hiker evading a bear or a snake on the trail. This kind of fear is rational since it deals with a real threat that can do real damage to us.
The second is the unnatural, irrational fear. This is pretty much the fear of modern humanity. The fears that fall into this variety are many, and would take a few posts to tell. These are fears about things we cannot control: opinions, aging: death; loss; loneliness; and, lack of security to name a few.
However, I want to introduce you to three major fears that we all have-in varying degrees that umbrella all other fears. First, is the fear of change. Yes, change is frightening. The idea that your routine is being altered, your path re-routed, your world shifting about you-all enough to make us uncomfortable. The above list of fears all involve change in one way or another. I’ve felt this fear at one time or another in my own life-especially with my family and in my world. It’s not easy to see that which you’ve become accustomed to suddenly (or even gradually) change before your eyes.
Second, is the fear of the unknown. It seems to be the bedfellow of change. Many of us want to know what’s going on in our lives, where the path will take us ahead of the journey, to see what the end will look like before we start. The not knowing, the feeling of vulnerability in this regard, can be terrifying to many. And since it’s Halloween season, you see the unknown as a theme in the horror/science fiction genre as well.
The third fear is the fear of letting go. This fear seems to be the child/parent of the first two. Having to say “goodbye” to the familiar, the routine, the comfortable, and the secure is scary indeed. My past post, “Time To Say Goodbye” reflected on letting go. It’s hard to say goodbye, to break up with, to walk away from…to transition period is hard. Such a fear can paralyze many a would be explorer from seeing what beckons them on the other shore.
In respect to what you may say you’re afraid (or not afraid) of, I believe it’s these “major” fears that probably frighten you the most if you were to be honest.
When this post’s text was penned, it was during a time of political activity in the Middle East that involved Israel. Changes going on in and about Israel, causing her to let go of some of her time-honored ways and venture into an unknown future probably brought fear to her people and to Isaiah. God (through the prophet Isaiah) was assuring Israel that He/She had them in His/Her hand; that they need not be afraid or discouraged. This same discourse could also be applied to us in our own individual and collective lives with so much activity going on about us.
Today, change is so rampant in our lives, causing us to let go and venture into the unknown of life. This can make many a person shrink in fear-especially since this is happening at such a breakneck speed. What I’ve seen transpire in my 50 years on Earth would make some pack up and head for the hills. However, the story of Isaiah and God’s message in the above text can resonate with us today. God is upholding us and is with us through His/Her Divine Erotic Power in the Spirit-the life-energizing force that will help us transcend our fears and channel them into the power we can use to face our fears and move forward-individually and collectively.
Then we’ll know what we’re afraid of, how to face that fear with God’s power, and then to transcend that fear and live the lives God desires us to live.