Monday, July 30, 2012

Holding the Fear at Bay

Jesus encourages and challenges his disciples on the night he was betrayed, poignantly at a time, just hours before his persecution and death, when he should have been most fearful:
“I’ve told you this so that my peace will be with you. In the world you’ll have trouble. But cheer up! I have overcome the world.”
~John 16:33 (GW)
What audacious words these are. They are not simply audacious but true, too.
When we think about it, Jesus never promised any moments of fear-free living. No, many moments of our lives are loaded with fears of all varieties and to varying extremes. Fear may be so prevalent it mars our entire existence. Somehow we learn to cope.
Now, here is the thing. Fear is the opportunity.
Its presence highlights, as a trigger, the need to dwell in the courage of the Lord who has already overcome.
When we consciously undertake to face our fear, living as pleasantly as we can with it, fear itself is seen truly for what it is—painful or uncomfortable, for sure, but the evil mystique vanishes, and what we are left with is just the work.
With the work isolated all that is needed is the discipline of diligence—to remain focused beyond distraction.
Limiting the Imagination – Focusing on Context
Holding our fear at bay can be as simple, or as difficult, as keeping matters in perspective so that reality is constantly in focus. This done, the imagination is subdued and saved for more elaborate and purposeful work, like creating or sustaining vision regarding what is truly important.
Imaginations are best deployed on our finest creative works, not wasted embellishing our fears.
We need no help in being fearful, surely. As we limit our imaginations for the positive brushstrokes of the mind, we redeem hope, joy, and thankfulness, and a vehicle for faith is fully licensed and ready to run.
And it is faith that must secede fear, as we grasp the opportune time for courage to release us from torment. Importantly, there is the role of the awareness.
Becoming Aware of Fear
Many may still be completely unaware of the many disabling forms of fear that limit us. Awareness is paramount. How could we otherwise act if we are unaware? We must first become aware.
When our awareness of our fears, the admission of our anxieties, and the manifestation of our avoidance is made known then we can do something about it. Before we are aware we are sublimely ignorant.
Fear is the trigger for faith; to dwell in the courage of the Lord who has already overcome. When we face our fears the fearsome power within the fear vanishes.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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