Living in Fear
6 A.M. You get up out of bed in a flurry and your day started five minutes ago. Immediately, you note with dread your appointments for the day -- some unsavoury people to deal with; relationships to manage. More of the same and you feel you're getting nowhere fast.
There are other problems too, probably family and personal-life problems, that aren't being dealt with.
Your life resembles Groundhog Day, the movie; each day's a repeat of the previous day, and the new day heralds the same anxiety. Life all of a sudden has become a scary thought.
How do we deal with this situation, and more importantly, what causes it? FEAR. In one word, fear is the cause. If we project fear, what do we get? -- More of the same. It loops around and back on itself. Fear harms relationships, and relationships promote and reinforce our most private fears. What we left behind the previous day joins us again for the start of the new day.
Fear affects relationships. This is because fear comes essentially from our lack of personal security; the result is, at the subconscious level, we worry about ourselves excessively. This is anxiety -- undefined, merged, non-specific fear. Even if it is a loved one who we are fearful for, we are still protecting mainly ourselves -- from discomfort and pain and more fear (anxiety). Fear is insidious and it impacts our relationships.
Fear drives arguments because we passionately represent our views without regard for the other person or the situation, mostly. It drives an instinctive response from the reptilian/mammalian brain. It's only when we get that déjà vu feeling -- 'that didn't come out right,' or 'oops, how am I going to recover from this faux pas.' As a result of this self-talk we get more fear; fear comes from feeling overwhelmed... in this case by specific relational problems.
Fear ruins our joy and zest for life. It squashes our spirit and drains our energy. Imagine being full of life, joy, energy, and spontaneity. They're all yours when you effectively deal with your fear -- your anxiety.
Perceived time pressure comes from fear. Do you know the truth? You can be relaxed and restore your peace and sanity any time you wish, if you want to. It's not my purpose to rush through life (e.g. for fear of not meeting deadlines and meeting other people's demands). It's not yours either.
Enter the paradox: the only way to not live in fear is to fear only one thing. If we have fear (respectful awe) for God, we need never be crippled by other fear anymore. This is very conditional on a one-day-at-a-time approach because as humans we're so prone to wandering off the right path -- fear God only and all our problems magically disappear because we suddenly see them for what they are -- small stuff, in the light of him. When we see our fears as they truly are, we are suddenly empowered to meet them.
I, personally, have a daily resolution I've modelled off Gandhi. I find it invaluable for resisting fear and being reminded of my place in the world. I find it very re-assuring. It goes like this:
Let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day:
I shall not fear anyone (or any situation) on earth.
I shall fear only God; his fear alone shall drive me.
I shall not bear ill toward anyone.
My resolution goes on a bit further into things not relevant to this discussion.
The main point is you can conquer your fear once and for all. I challenge you (like I often do myself) to a "fear audit." Check yourself and be really honest about the role fear is playing in your life. If you're being honest you'll probably find it a bigger problem than you thought.
Deal with it. It will make you thankful in retrospect. Your relationships, for one, will be improved when you fear less. Don't just think of your relationships with others -- what about the relationship you have with yourself, and God? The latter relationships are the most important; it's the very basis of 'you.'