Fear makes people do crazy things. If you’ve ever watched shows like Fear Factor or some haunted movies, you see how people react when they are terrified. A mix of fight or flight reactions and everything in between. It’s always somewhat amusing to watch big, buff and tough guys completely wig out like little kids when the right combination of fear strikes.
Fear comes in many ways. the extreme situations – being lost in the woods, attacked by evil clowns, for instance – or the eerie quiet situations when the hairs on the back on your neck and on your arms stand up. But there are also fears and anxieties that creep up on us, almost unnameable, like just a generic sense of woe that snuck in the door of our hearts and is lounging on our couch.
I am not generally a fearful person. I’m not afraid of the future even when it looks bleak or uncertain. I’m not really afraid of death, in fact some days I long for it, knowing that death brings the ultimate victory for us as Christians. I know that sounds morbid, but no need for concern. I won’t by any means try to hasten death, but it isn’t something I am terrified of like some people I have known.
But the anxious concerns that grip my heart could easily make me act in ways that are damaging to both me and to those around me. Fear can make us insecure and needy. It can turn an otherwise capable person into an incompetent one, tripping over her words, unsure of her next steps. Fear can make someone overly self-conscious and unable to calmly address problems, or hear criticism, or objectively take stock of what’s wrong. It can hold us in bondage, afraid to change, afraid to stay the same.
Maybe there’s something to the idea that when you are afraid, your true colors are shown. How you act and react to your fears says a lot about who you really are. When pressed and intimidated, anxious about tomorrow, threatened by other people who seem to not have your best interest at heart, what do you do next? Do you compete? Do you take matters into your own hands? Or do you cower, avoiding people with potential conflict? Do you stay away from things you normally find joy in because of some nameless fear lurking in your soul? Do you strive endlessly out of a fear of rejection or being wrong? Do you base your whole life and personal worth on what others’ think of you and your reputation? Do you find peace at the end of the day when you haven’t finished your checklist and you don’t have any clue what tomorrow will bring, but you can fall asleep easily and without regret?
My prayer is that my fears will never control me. Perfect love casts out fear. I am loved and held closely. My prayer for my husband is that fear will never influence his behaviors and actions, that he will never give in to any anxiety that grips his heart. I pray he will always be reminded that he is dearly loved and treasured, come what may. That he will always have a safe refuge with me, a haven in the storms, as we both anchor to the Rock and we cling to it and each other.