Living in Fear
Excerpt from “Life Coach/ Christ Coach”:
There is a very funny movie from comedian Albert Brooks, called Defending your Life, that is constructed on the theme that out of all the stories and trials of our lives, what we are finally judged on is our ability to live our lives without fear. We begin to see much of our own trials in life are surrounded by fear, and it becomes one of the major drivers of our behavior. And in the movie, the assumption is that if we live a life that is fearless, where we learn to take chances and damn the consequences, just living our lives to the fullest, we may conquer the inhibitions that hold us back and make us whole and well-adjusted and more perfect human beings.
It is a wonderfully complex notion, and of course, one that is fictional. There are so many brave people who show us what life is like when we conquer fear. But the human condition is one where we acknowledge that we act bravely in the face of fear, not that there is no fear left! Most heroes will honestly tell you there is some measure of fear when they acted bravely.
There is a funny scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where they trail one of the knights singing of his cowardice in fleeing a battle as he ‘bravely ran away!” So it is that we remember the sayings: “Discretion is the better part of valor” and ‘Choose your battles wisely.’
We have learned earlier of the woman who marveled at the calmness of the Captain who brought order and peace when all were fearful on a huge ship at sea in a storm. That is the voice of reason, … The gathering storm is not lessened when we learn to conquer our fear, but we can live to fight another day and to face the enemy bravely when we learn to conquer our fear. There is a saying in Spanish that translates something like, “A life lived in fear is a life half lived’
We know what fear is when it drains your energy and causes you to freeze. It is something we live with, and must learn to not simply conquer, but acknowledge and learn to do battle with each day. Remember the mantra from the English living through the blitz of London in World War II: Keep calm and carry on. Is this not what Jesus did, knowing the outcome that faced him? And we do know what the outcome of our lives will be as we must all face our own mortality. … life is seen not as a battle well fought, but a life well lived and the knowledge that we are given the freedom to let go. Living in fear is much harder than fighting with death, …”
From Life Coach/ Christ Coach Excerpt
“….We can relate to the many, younger people and those who go to mega-churches in search of, what Tozer calls ‘the above-average spiritual experience.” They seek something deeper, and this is, in his estimation, defined as wanting more (FOMO) ‘because the average Christian life is tragically shallow.’
Perhaps we can lose the “Christian” in this sentence as all our lives may seem more inner directed and we are isolated from other things with the cell phones and internet connections that leave us wanting more. Searching and seeking, we look for answers and Christ is one who is there for us.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer brings the point home with his reading of the gospel of Matthew 6:33 “Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Anxiety for food and clothing is clearly not the same thing as anxiety for the kingdom of God, however much we should like to persuade ourselves that when we are working for our families…we are thereby building the kingdom, as though the kingdom could be realized only through our worldly cares.”
Bonhoeffer tells us that the kingdom of God is so far distinguished from the earthly possessions that come our way, we need to distinguish them in our minds. …. Learning to accept the will of God and to try to understand how God is speaking to you in this life can be a challenge for all of us. Oswald Chambers said that God never speaks to us in dramatic ways, but in ways that are easy to mis -understand. We are left asking at times: “I wonder if that was God’s voice?”
Oswald suggests we (first) ask and we shall receive. To say, “Speak to me, Lord!” and then to listen to what you are hearing. I know that I have been deaf to his voice at times, and at others, when I was receptive and took time to listen, I found some amazing answers to the hard questions.
In my own life, I changed jobs and the new one didn’t work out. I was simply looking, and seeking, when a friend sent an email of a job description that sounded like the type of work I had done many times before. I knew that even though I had thought I would never return to the old work I had done for many years, that this was a good fit. And it turned out, they needed me and I needed them! I heard God’s voice in the simple and short email that led me to a path I had thought was closed to me.
This happens at times, when God will tell you where you need to be or to go. I wanted a small dog a few years back, and went to look at a dog that needed a home. The heavens opened up and it rained so hard, I barely made it home in the downpour, with no dog and not even a chance to look at it. I thought, perhaps God is telling me that this is not the right channel, or the right place to look!
Sure enough, within a month, I found a small ad from a young girl who needed to find a home for her dog. That dog is Abby, who is laying by me now, and was a perfect fit from day one when we brought her home. These are just two examples of waiting to hear God talking to us, through our daily lives, and giving us clues that perhaps we need to wait,
Finding Peace means making peace with ourselves and with those we feel may have wronged us in this life. It is in Christ’s teachings, the act of making peace with our God and with our own souls. Finding peace is something we explore, we meditate, we pray and aspire to and still we may be at war or have a restless soul. Peace may come when you least expect it. Open your heart and your eyes to new ideas and ways to find peace in your life.
Prayer of a Peacemaker from Martin Luther King
“…Keep us, we pray in perfect peace, help us to walk together, pray together, sing together, and
live together unit that day when all God’ s children, Black, White, Red and Yellow will rejoice
in one common band of humanity …..”
And from the Book of Common Prayer:
Give to us that peace which the world cannot give, so that our minds may be fixed on the doing of your will and that we, being delivered from the fear of all enemies, may live in peace and quietness ….
Mantra: This week I am going to be mindful of the times I have lived in fear. And I will remember that some of those times were needless, as the fear that I created in my mind was much worse than the trouble I faced. And I will also remind myself that with the friends we spoke of, and with a deep and abiding faith, that we are never alone with our fears. I will remember to be open about accepting the signs that God may be giving me in life. I will live with an open heart and a receptive spirit for change and for good in my life. Finally, I will strive to find peace, without the fear that often held me back, and will allow me to bring a quiet mind and a truer heart and spirit to move forward in my life.