Dealing with Fear
(Published: Fresh Ink 2007)
For many, fear has replaced hope for the future.
The present-day world is often disconcerting and disorienting, sometimes frightening.
Every day we watch disasters in real time on TV or read about them in the newspaper.
Most of the time, our fears are more emotional than rational, especially when they involve loved ones. There is also the underlying fear of our own mortality, which increases with age. Living in fear of the future, however, is not really living.
The first step in solving a problem is acknowledging it.
Some people believe that admitting such feelings displays weakness or
lack of faith and hesitate to talk about the worries that keep them awake at night.
There is a commonality of emotions, however, that is simply human nature and nothing to be ashamed about.
deals with fear in his or her own way. I can only share what works for me—prayer
and living in the moment. To overcome fear, I need to practice both on a daily
basis. I try to “not worry about anything, but pray about everything.”
(Phil. 4:6) Each day I pray for others and for peace of mind, regardless of the
we can’t see the overall picture, we may not be able to understand certain aspects of our lives, but I always remember
what my ninety-four-year old uncle once told me. As he lay dying, he quietly
said, “Everything always seems to work out in the end.” For him,
trust and faith were the mainstays of peace of mind.
The second step in dealing with fear—living in the moment—is sometimes easier
said than done. Why is it so difficult?
Because too often we live our lives in two dimensions that don’t exist—the past that is gone, and the future
that is always before us.
When memories of the
past consume our thinking, the present moment with all its possibilities is lost. Although
it is necessary to remind ourselves of past lessons learned, and we certainly want to savor precious memories, we need to
live our lives fully in the present. When I focus on the moment—the feel of soft sheets, the taste of good food, or
the pleasure of reading a wonderful book, my worries fade away.
enjoy the moment, we have to carefully monitor our thoughts—listen to the words in our minds. Words have power. They can change our emotions in an instant,
but it takes commitment to keep our thoughts from running amok. When feeling
anxious or worried, asking the question, "Is everything all right at the moment?" will often help, as most of the time, the
answer is yes.
mind is a wonderful computer, a problem solver. Its job is to solve the problems
we input, and it searches for answers. The brain doesn’t know the difference
between the truth and a lie. When we tell ourselves that everything is going
to be all right, the brain sends the message to the body, and we begin to relax. That
affirmation can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Replacing fearful thoughts
with trust and hope and turning everyone and everything over to a Higher Power can help us achieve that “peace that
passes all understanding.” (Phil. 4:7)
I pray for those I love and then focus on the moment, I suddenly notice the soft breeze on my cheek, recognize the elusive
smell of the honeysuckle, or experience the blessings of love.
light of love always illuminates the darkness of fear.