All healthy men fear. If we did not fear, we’d conclude that something was mentally wrong with us, and yet the same can be said when fear takes a gripping hold over our life. So fear is a balance between maintaining healthy fear while not falling into the grip of unhealthy fear.
I believe for many of us in 2020, we have found ourselves in the jaws of unhealthy fear; I count myself included in this. But how do we even identify when we are living in unhealthy fear? Isn’t this why we’ve fallen so far into it…because we believe that what we fear is a real and ever present danger? And even if we are to identify what fears are unhealthy, then how do we conquer those unhealthy fears?
I will begin with identifying those unhealthy fears. Unhealthy fear on the extreme end leads us into hate, and this is possibly the easiest identifier for when we’ve allowed fear to take over our lives. It’s possible that we fear the actions of others politically, religiously, and socially…and our fear response extended out long enough turns into a generalize hatred for those who induce our fear. But hate has no power to resolve our fears, and when we find ourselves here, it’s easy to justify, and I hope we can agree that hate is bad for our souls. So what about fear that doesn’t induce obvious hate but still may be keeping us from fulfilling our Godly callings or other moral duties in life? I would say that this is also unhealthy fear in need of healing. I can guarantee you that to fulfill some of our Godly callings and moral obligations in life, we will have to daily surmount fears. There is much more here, but these are a couple easy identifiers.
Now, before we jump off a cliff and call all fears unhealthy…I want to recognize and honor healthy fear. I would argue that at this point I recognize that healthy fear is present fear and not imagined fear. Present fear would be when you are in immediate danger. Present fear could be the realization of many unhealthy fears. Therefore, it’s not as simple as making a blanket statement that certain fears are bad. Let’s use snakes for example. A healthy present fear of a snake would be if while out on a hike I almost step on a Western Diamondback in the middle of a trail, so in response to that I begin walking with more care and possibly choosing paths that are not on rocky outcroppings where they are laying out to warm in the sun mid-day. Now, an unhealthy imagined fear would be if in response to almost stepping on a Western Diamondback I proceeded to go home and never go hiking again because I might step on a venomous snake. Equally as unhealthy would be if I had no response to the venomous diamondback and proceeded forward without a second thought and maybe even stepped on the snake because of my numbness. Now, if that story alone made you cringe, then you may begin to understand how crippling unhealthy imagined fear may be. Fear of snakes is not a bad thing, but if a fear of snakes keeps us from doing something which is healthy for us, then it’s likely that this fear is an unhealthy fear. Now, we can extend this into all things in life, because everything we do involves some sort of risk which leaves us with the possibility of responding with healthy fear or unhealthy fear.
So, hopefully now you’ve identified some of those unhealthy fears, and maybe it is even of snakes! If you’ve made it this far, I am so happy you are here and I’m so sorry that this pain is a part of your life; I understand it far too well. I want to assure you that there is without a doubt hope for you, whether your fears are related to relationships, health, trauma, or abuse. That being said, if you are struggling with any of these, I’d highly recommend seeking professional help, they are going to have many more tools in their bag to right that which has gone wrong. I’ve been working with my current counselor, who is also a believer in Christ, for almost a year and a half now, and his expertise has armed me tools, weapons, and wisdom that are priceless. However, there is one step we can make here in our thinking that may even move you to seek professional help. If you’ve come out of denial and have been able to identify that you have an unhealthy fear, congrats!! You’ve come a long ways already. Now, I want to identify one thing that is essential is conquering unhealthy fear.
Yes, that right, conquering unhealthy fear will always require COURAGE. Courage is our ability to override our mental processes and act. Real men and women in the face of obstacles don’t lack fear; they fear and act with courage. Courage is a funny thing, because there is always a risk of when using this weapon that we may act wrongly, and yet in order to move out of unhealthy fear, we must utilize courage. As you can imagine, courage requires much faith, and so are left with a praying for courage in our life over our crippling fears, trusting only in a God who can conquer all things and forgive all mistakes. Courage is not safe, but courage backed with faith in a loving God gives us the spiritual strength we need to rise up look at our fears eye to eye.
So, if you are struggling with imagined, unhealthy, or irrational fears of any kind this week, I am praying for you. I hope you will lean on our God who is strong enough and forgiving enough for all your needs. Faith in Him is the key to courage that gives you the opportunity to walk out of this present darkness and into a new life.
~Let me know if you like or dislike this discussion, and I encourage your input. I’d like to know what some of your fears are this year, where you are at managing them, and possibly even what they are keeping you from. If I have a good response, I may keep writing about this.