Fear settles itself in and is left undisturbed for quite sometime long before I hear it breathing. It reminds me of my cat, Ewok, who likes to sneak inside when I open the door and I’m too distracted by a screaming baby or have my hands full with grocery sacks. She hides under the bed awhile and stays out of sight until she thinks it’s safe to emerge. She silently makes the leap and nestles into my pillow. I find her hours later curled up, warm, purring and releasing tufts of black fur into the crater she’s created on my white down comforter. If I’m lucky, I find her before she’s left wet lick marks where I lay my head at night, and we all know what body parts cats lick! I immediately disrupt her cozy slumber and place her back outside.
Fear is the same way and often lurks and lingers in my mind without notice until one day I explode or maybe I should say implode. If I was on better guard, less distracted, I may have noticed it sooner or never let it creep in to begin with. I often struggle with feeling intimidated, insignificant, insufficient, incompetent and the list goes on.
All of these words start with the same prefix, “in”. They all start with the same letter, “i”. Where do these feelings come from and why? Well, my answer was right there in front of me, plain, easy to read, literally, the actual word! When I focus inward, focus only on myself, and begin to wallow around in my own self-pity, I’m swinging the door wide open for fear to come on in and make itself at home. Then I let it stay for dinner, then it rolls out it’s sleeping bag and stays a couple of nights, and before I know it, it’s an ill-mannered house guest staying indefinitely. I read a good book a couple of years ago entitled, The Gift In You. It is written by Dr. Caroline Leaf who states, “Love and fear are the root emotions, and all other emotions grow from these…They (Scientists) have found a deeper system in the brain concerned with positive love emotions and negative fear emotions. They have discovered that these two systems cannot coexist, that at any one conscious moment, we will be operating in one or the other for each cluster of thoughts we think.” —Dr. Caroline Leaf, The Gift In You.
I must be operating in fear, absorbed in myself, in order for the dark clouds to start rolling in, raining down little droplets of intimidation, then steady rains of insufficiency, and then downpours of insignificance. Fear is being afraid of the uncertain. Faith is knowing that God will never let you face those uncertainties alone. I must try to operate in love, focusing outward, working towards blessing others and encouraging those that fall prey to fear too.
Easier said than done, right? I know I’ll get quicker at shutting that door if I keep practicing, until then, I’ll keep my lint roller handy!
1 John 4:18 “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” New Living Translation