Sunday, June 13, 2010

Great Fears

Leslie left this morning for a week-long mission trip with 25 other 8th graders. She left with a good amount of anxiety about the whole venture. So, fear is on my mind right now.

The preacher this morning had a side-note in his sermon on the topic of fear. He described a time when a friend asked him what his greatest fear was. He took the question very seriously, and when he had answered it, he realized it gave him insight into many things in his life.

Have you ever had to answer that question? What is your greatest fear? Is it fear of failure? Of being controlled or manipulated? Of abandonment? Of pain?

I've heard before that your earliest memory can give a hint to major psychological "themes" in your life. My earliest memories are of our house on Fairmount which we left when I was six. There were three girls my age on that block. Sarah, across the street, was my best friend I've been told, but I don't have any memories of her from that time. However, I well remember the other two girls. They were nice . . . sometimes. And sometimes they would have nothing to do with me. There was no rhyme or reason to their friendship that I saw; I just knew I could expect them to dump me at any time with no warning.

My greatest fear is rejection. Our great fears have deep roots, as you can see. They also have wide-spreading branches. When I look at it, this fear has had profound implications in my life -- in my career decisions, relationships, parenting style, and much more.

But fear is not supposed to be the habitat of believers. We are children of God . . . and God is love . . . and "perfect love drives out all fear". One could even argue that living in fear is a form of idolatry.

I hope my daughter understands and conquers her fears before she's a middle-aged mother with regrets. But unfortunately, maybe we need some life regrets to reflect on in order to understand our fears.

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