The Spirit of Fear

It’s Halloween at midnight. I’m just home from work but not yet in bed because I have to make sure there’s a fire going or I’ll be too cold to sleep. If there is a moon tonight, you can’t tell by looking outside. I’m surrounded by a dark forest beneath a dark sky. The only sound is the slow crackling of the wood and the occasional whine from Bella by the door. She think she has to go out. One glance out into the dark night around us and I’m confident she does not.

It’s a perfect time to think about fear.

I am afraid of a lot of things. I’m afraid of scary movies and of being alone in the woods. I’m afraid of the dark and of intruders and psychopaths. These fears make sense to me. Most of them I’ve acquired over the years, by watching movies and tv, by reading the news and novels, and through the stories of friends and family.

Then there are the fears I have because of my own vivid imagination. I’m afraid of stairs sometimes, certain something is behind me. I’m afraid of closets at night if I don’t check them thoroughly first. I’m afraid of unfinished basements and spiders and of walking in my sleep.

And then there are the ones that I just can’t comprehend, the ingrained fears that, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to move away from.

I’m afraid of getting fat. I’m afraid of being boring. I’m afraid I’m never going to accomplish what people expect from me, or what I was meant to achieve. I’m afraid I’m never going to even know what either of those things are. I’m afraid that if I ever have kids I’ll be a bad mom, and if I never have kids I’ll regret it. I’m afraid of losing what I’ve gained. I’m afraid of getting old. I’m afraid to disappoint. I’m afraid that I’m never going to be truly, really happy and, that, even if I were, I wouldn’t know what it was.

I’m afraid of going to Hell.

I’m afraid I’m never going to stop being afraid.

It seems to me that we weren’t meant to be this afraid all of the time, that there’s a scripture that says just that very thing. It seems that, if I believe what I say I believe, and if I have faith, then even when I’m still afraid I can be hopeful; I can know that I’m in midst of a process and fear just means I haven’t yet arrived.

And when I start to think things like that, I know that God is still with me and that what I hear is His still, small voice.

And then I’m just a little bit less afraid.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
1 Timothy 1:7

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9 thoughts on “The Spirit of Fear

  1. I was watching a joyce meyer broadcast about FEAR last night; to feel fear is human but to let it stop you from taking a step forward no matter how uncomfortable it may be, is straight out Satan’s most evil spirit at work in your life! Know when to confront and know when to stay still, with the Holy Spirit in you, you can do it and remember you’re NEVER alone!

  2. Hi Seana, I am just so impressed how you can so easily put things into words. We all have fears, I test my fears each day. I push them past their limits and sometimes I win for a while. As a father I wonder if I was a good dad? Did I do everything that I could to help my children to be successful in life? Did I teach them how to find a good partner? When I have been unsuccessful at that myself.

    I’ve done solo backpacking trips on the Long Trail and read Clive Barker books while sleeping in a tent on the side of a mountain while coyotes howled in the night. I pushed myself to step over the wall of the Grand Canyon and backpack to Horseshoe Mesa to spend the night. No Regrets!

    I often wonder if my mother and father are proud of me? Do they consider me successful? I live week to week and would rather enjoy life each day then save for someday that I might not ever see.

    For you it’s “fear” and for me it’s “wonder”. I wonder if I will be alone for the rest of my life? I wonder if I am smart enough to get another job if my job ends? Keep pushing, keep trying, keep testing.

  3. Seana, know that you are not alone in your fears. I have similar experiences when it comes to fear of failure (which I think your paragraph beginning “I am afraid of getting fat..” is about). I am convinced it is something all internally driven and ambitious people struggle with.The trick is learning to forgive yourself, a truly tall order for some. I know it is awfully hard for me. As for finding peace you’ve really got me stumped there. I will let you know if I figure it out though, and please do likewise.

    1. Ben, thanks for reading and for taking the time to leave your thoughts. 🙂 I think you’re pretty right on… about fearing failure, about it being a struggle of the ambitious and about the importance of forgiving oneself (which is so much harder than forgiving another!). As for finding peace… I’m trying to practice being okay with being me, all the good and bad (especially the bad) of it. I keep thinking peace is somewhere at the end of that road. I’m no where near there yet, but I’ll let you know if I’m right when I get there.

      1. I was discussing the difficulty of forgiving oneself with a friend the other day and he told me, “I always give my past self the benefit of the doubt. I assume he made the best decision he could with the best available information.” I am trying to adopt this as a mantra since obsessing about shoulda–coulda–wouldas is so counterproductive (although I do it all the time).

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