Sunday, June 28, 2009

Is Fear a lack of Faith?

Fear appears to be a relatable emotion. Many of us have an intimate knowledge of fear. A frequent bedfellow in the middle of the night. The brutish lover waking you up for another go. When you've already had your fill. Of piercing thoughts that do not have a beginning and an end, but are orbital. Yet, not just the night stalker is fear. No, fear lurks in the daylight. In the shadows. Around our edges. If we let it...

Fear can cripple us, freezing us into immobility. The possibility of a new joy and wonder is crushed, because our imagination lies fallow. Is Fear a lack of Faith? Perhaps. Yet, some of the most grounded people of faith also struggle with fear. So, then... fear is part of the human condition. How do we address it? Do we sit on one side of the door, unable to open it for fear of what is on the other side? Or do we pick up that club and beat down the door of fear, because....? Because, there could be something desirable on the other side.

It is far easier when you are forced into a change. Your home is on fire. You get out of the house. Adrenaline and instinct take over. But, when you are approaching what appears to be a precipice, and you see it coming with every step... closer and closer. That is when it is so easy to turn tail and run back from whence you came. Even if someone is reaching out to you with a rope, helping to guide you down the other side.

Before I had children, I wanted to sky dive. Now, I am afraid of heights. Do I lack faith? I don't think so. I think I'm still germinating. Maturing. And I need to grow into my big girl shoes.

"Doubt is not the opposite of faith: fear is. Fear will not risk that even if I am wrong, I will trust that if I move today by the light that is given me, knowing it is only finite and partial, I will know more and different things tomorrow than I know today, and I can be open to the new possibility
I cannot even imagine today."

Verna Dozier from her book, "The Dream of God."

Painting courtesy of Google Images.

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  1. I don't think we begin to understand fear until we have kids. Middle age plus kids? Tightrope of fear. Just gotta take a deep breath, walk straight ahead, and believe you're gonna make it.

  2. I think fear is vital to feeling truly alive; if we acknowledge it & understand it, we can still move and we gain so much more after we've faced it [whether we succeed or fail]. And I don't believe faith & fear are enemies - in fact, I think they can be allies.

    Like PhD said: breathe, walk, believe.

  3. On the other side of the fear is that chance to feel like "Yeah, I did that..." And I haven't had much of that in recent years, that feeling of accomplishment.

    There are elemental fears, most of them rooted in being a mother, that have their own category. But it's often the other ones - the fear of not accomplishing or that maybe I will accomplish something, that are really hard to wrangle.

  4. I think fear is just part of protection mode. I don't know anyone not more fearful after children!

  5. I think you have to know fear in order to appreciate it when it's gone.

    I don't know if it's lack of faith; I tend to think not. Sometimes it's just plain common sense.

  6. Maybe fear is just telling us to think it through carefully. I think it only if you always give in to fear that you have a problem.

  7. Sometimes, apathy can find its genesis in the type of fear you describe. We don't want to take the steps toward the apparent chasm between what we know and what we have yet to discover, so we find ourselves unwilling to keep walking . . .

  8. . . . and thanks for taking the time to swing by The Cheek. It's such an honor.

    I found your blog through a suggestion in my Reader. We write about some of the same things, and in a strikingly similar style. I immediately loved your site.

    Keep it up . . .

  9. sometimes fear is intuition, whispering in your ear

  10. I think becoming a parent introduces new fears just because we become acutely aware of just how much our decisions affect these little people we are in charge of.

    It is when fear prevents us from living fully and being in the present that it becomes an issue. Good luck, JCK! You will conquer your fears!


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