This week’s Art piece is a small 8” X 10” acrylic I did about 18 months ago. When I painted it, I wanted to create a somewhat foreboding setting. I used several elements to help with the mood: nighttime, winter, graveyard, rural setting and aged church structure. It’s not one of my best acrylics. Perhaps even that contributes to the feeling I was after. I chose it for today’s thought of fear because it includes what for many become fearful images or thoughts.
CURRENT ENVOLVMENT with a global Covet19 pandemic; social distancing restriction that closed, schools, churches and businesses; social unrest resulting from racial injustice; destructive rioting by nefarious groups; a near collapse of the economy resulting in unemployment; falling markets and increased national debt seem to have created, what I think of as, ‘a perfect storm’. This idiom refers to a rare combination of events or circumstances creating an unusually bad situation. In my lifetime our current combination is a first, and its’ bad. Fear grows in the hearts of many we know.
Some defined fear as one of the seven universal emotions experienced by everyone around the world. Fear arises with the threat of harm, either physical, emotional, or psychological, real or imagined. While traditionally considered a “negative” emotion, fear actually can serve an important role in keeping us safe as it mobilizes us to cope with potential danger.
Studies have demonstrated that globally these are 5 of the most common fear triggers:
- Darkness or loss of visibility of surroundings
- Heights and flying
- Social interaction and/or rejection
- Snakes, rodents, spiders and other animals
- Death and dying
I suspect today many would add “pandemic disease” to the list.
It seems to me, at the root of fear, as currently defined, is a feeling that I have no control. Looking carefully, in each of the 5 (or 6) listed, the common denominator is “I’m not in control.” When we are able to cope with a threat, this lessens or removes the fear. Alternatively, when we are helpless to decrease the threat of harm, this intensifies the fear.
It also seems to me the antidote to this fear is establishing who is ‘god’ in my life. Am I ‘god’, or is God ‘God’? If I am ‘god’ then I am alone in this fear filled condition. I have no assurance of how to respond or what to do. I can only guess, realizing whatever guess I’ve implemented, there will be inevitable consequences. Can I risk that? Do I want to risk that? There is a better place to start.
“Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.” Proverbs 1:7 The Message
It’s certainly true that fear actually can serve an important role in keeping us safe as it may mobilize us to cope with potential danger. Through wisdom and learning from God we can learn and be enabled to cope with many fears in our daily lives. Then, we need not fear consequences of the action we take because, we know God loves us! We trust His guidance through wisdom and learning.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love:” 1 John 4:18
When God is ‘God’ in my life, even things that, on the surface, may seem like ‘punishment’ are not out of God’s control. He may simply be using them to equip us for the present and future.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirits that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:15-16
What fear is in your life today? You may be able to add to the list above and make it personal. Identifying your fears may be a good place to start…but not a good place to end. Allow God to be ‘God’. Then, seek His help. He loves you!
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
 Source: Atlas of Emotions