Nothing causes more sleepless nights than fear. Fear of failure, fear over finances and health and business decisions. Fear of spiders, snakes and small spaces. Fear for the future of our children. And there’s many, many more fears that fuel insomnia. As a matter of fact, I found 68 documented types of fears that begin with the letter ‘A’ alone! (Including allodoxaphobia; the fear of other people’s opinions :))
Fear is a persuasive motivator. It has the ability to stir a flight or fight response as a result of adrenaline surging through our body. Unfortunately, fear is most commonly (at least in my opinion), a masterful de-motivator. Like the classic ‘deer in the headlights’ syndrome, fear often stifles activity and paralyses the creative energy needed to find solutions in stressful situations.
A few weeks ago, I went to the movies with my family. As I waited for the show to begin, the words spoken in the movie trailer for After Earth, caught my attention. ‘Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand, danger is real, but fear is a choice.’
Wow. Those words have replayed over and over in my mind, along with similar sentiments I had previously noted about fear.
Joyce Meyer1 ‘Fear is a dangerous virus. It begins as a thought in your head, then affects your emotions and behaviours.’
Dr. Wayne Dyer2 ‘The components of anxiety… and fear… do not exist independently of you in the world. They simply do not exist in the physical world, unless we let them.’
Dr. Max Lucado3 ‘Fear is like an invisible prison with an unlocked door. It holds you captive, influencing your choices and perceptions about life, God, and other people, but you can leave any time you want.’
As a counsellor, I often ask my clients who are struggling with fear (or worry and anxiety) this question; ‘Who could you be if you did not have fear?’ Without exception, the picture they paint of life without fear is always inspiring, full of great adventure, love and courage. This alternate life they envision, seems to be motivated by faith.
Yes, faith is an equally powerful motivator. I believe faith opposes fear. The more faith, the less fear. The more fear, the less faith.
Fear ———————————————————— Faith
Surprisingly, fear and faith possess several similar characteristics. Both are the stimulus that affect our emotions and actions. Both depend on our choices to exist. Both affect our perceptions about life, God and others. Both have the ability to create the life we end up living. However, and not surprisingly, the picture of a life lived by fear is worlds apart from a life that is lived by faith!
It’s the start of a new year. Who could you be if you did not have fear?
1Bestselling author and teacher.
2Internationally known author and speaker.
3Christian author and renown teacher.