Fear

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The Scream

The Scream – Edvard Munch (1893)

“Your enemy wants you to be in the maximum uncertainty, so that your mind will be filled with contradictory pictures of the future, every one of which arouses hope or fear. There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against God. God wants men to be concerned with what they do; the enemy’s business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.”  C.S. Lewis – The Screwtape Letters (adjusted to address the reader directly)

What is that feeling of foreboding that creeps in and steals the heart from your chest?  What is that malaise that settles upon you forcing you into survival mode? I don’t think that ignoring it is going to help us live the lives we were created to live. I think it’s time to look it right in the face.

It’s the unknown that we fear the most. Go ahead and name your fears. The usual suspects are public speaking, rejection, loneliness, death… but these are just decoys. I’m guessing that if you dig deep enough, you will realize that it is uncertainty that really scares you… the unknown ridicule, the unknown pain, the unknown terror, the unknown isolation… The more creative you are the more elaborate the horror you conjure in your mind.

We don’t have a logical reason for this fear. It is not likely that we have a record of painful experiences attached to times when we have faced the unknown. In addition, the best parts of our lives are not necessarily the things we are most certain of. Unfortunately, this irrational fear keeps us from fulfilling our purpose on the earth. I could talk about where it comes from, but smarter men than I have handily treated that subject and I don’t want to scare you off.

We do have a choice here.

We can anxiously await a murky future with suspense and anxiety and with elaborate fantasies about what will become of us… “what dreams may come” (W.S. – Hamlet)

Or….

We can keep our eyes on what we know in our hearts we were made to do. We can fix our eyes on the one who endured the ultimate opposition… and did the ultimate deed… the author… (Hebrews 12:1-3)

How’s that for clarity. The only question that remains is, “what will I do”. When you answer that, the fear will flee.