What is it about fears that make us so irrational? Having a healthy fear is not bad, it keeps us from doing stupid things like touching a hot stove, or jumping in front of a car. When the fear becomes bigger than our willingness to do something it has too much power.
When I was a kid I loved to play with spiders. I would sit on the front steps and watch them make their webs. I would bring them dinner at times too (though I stopped that when I felt bad for whatever insect I caught tried to get away and couldn’t). As funny as it is I even had a “pet” daddy long leg that lived in my family’s shower. Spiders were not a bad thing in my mind until I saw the movie ”Arachnophobia” in the movie theaters. From there on out spiders had a scariness to me. I could be close to one, if there was one over my doorframe I couldn’t leave the room. If I ended up squishing one, I had to quickly get it off the bottom of my shoe just in case it was still alive. I remember one time helping my best friend clean out her garage and we found a black widow in a box. We burned the box. I have no idea what was in there but it didn’t matter. When I started working in the vet world, a tarantula was brought in for being sick. That was the day I felt brave.
When I couldn’t get it to let go, I admit I was almost in tears until the doctor I was working with “saved” me.
This is just one of many fears that are out there. I have a family member who is afraid he’ll get left behind or forgotten if he gets dropped off somewhere. Some people are afraid of heights, others are afraid of going too fast (like on rollarcoasters). Sometimes there are rational reasons why people have these fears. Some people feel that you can condition these fears out of people. I don’t really know the answer and sometimes it can be frustrating when dealing with someone who is overcome by one of these fears, especially when you can logically show them they’ll be ok.
The Bible says there is no fear in love. We were not put on this earth to be fearful. We are to live. We are to share with others. We are to love others. We can’t do these things if we are constantly allowing a fear or fears keep us planted where we are. When my kids were younger I tried to show them what it was like to take healthy risks. So they learned that helping others was ok. They learned that doing sports was ok or taking dance lessons was ok. They saw their dad and I take risks, we were scared sometimes but we didn’t let fear overpower us.
As I am sitting at my son’s baseball practice, I am watching him be brave. This is out of his comfort zone. He thought he would be playing on the same team as his best friend, but instead he is on a team that he didn’t know anyone the first day. He has mandated that I wait at the field for the whole practice due to another fear he has, but even if I couldn’t stay and watch, he has shown that he is ok. My best friend has to be brave, she has fears coming at her left and right. Her daughters look to her for guidance and she happily gives it to them. I know she has said ”no” to the, before when it comes to trying new experiences but it is rare. She does not have an easy life but she does not allow her fears to stop her from living her best for herself and her family.
Fears are roadblocks we put in front of ourselves. They either have the spikes that deflate our tires or they are ones that with a little extra strength we can master and overcome them. I pray for my kids often. I want them to have strength that comes from joy which ultimately comes from love. There is no fear in love, and love has joy wrapped around it. This is where we get our strength, our patience, our boldness, our humility. Imagine how much better our lives would be, our world would be if we allowed love (joy) to rule us instead of our fears. Until next time:
Negativity is contagious. Unhappiness is contagious. Fear is contagious. But so is happiness. So is optimism. Some is love. Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. And strive to be a reflection of what you want to receive.MichellCClark