Fear
Posted in Nourishment for the Mind » Learn on Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For Anyone Who Struggles With Fear

This was a homily I heard in church that helped me deal with my fears. 

I asked Fr. McMahon for a copy to share it with you..... I'll include the highlights.

 

      I.         Today’s gospel is a passage that has been a rich source for the imagination for many believers- Jesus in the boat with disciples, and a violent squall that comes up- with waves breaking over the boat.  If you have ever been in a boat when a violent storm kicks up suddenly, you know the experience.

 

     II.         Jesus says to the disciples at the end of our passage, “Why are you terrified?  Do you not have faith?”  In many ways this gospel is about the movement from fear to faith.  When Jesus says, “let us cross to the other side,” this crossing is about the movement from internal fears that can immobilize us to a faith that gives us strength.

 

   III.         Transforming fear into faith is not a simple or easy thing.  While some times we have exaggerated fears, there are other occasions where our fears have a firm lodging in reality and must be honored, or at least recognized… so to move from fear to faith doesn’t necessarily mean trying to completely eliminate fear, for fears can also be there to protect us and let us know of dangers in out world.

 

   IV.         However fear that immobilizes, depletes us and is chronic not only warrants our attention but is a cause for our inner work as well.  Not too long ago I had conversation with a friend of mine who counsels many people.  He advises three steps for working with a fear that one believes is partly irrational or perhaps exaggerated.

 

     V.         The first thing to do is to admit you feel fear.  This breaks through all the rationalizations by which you try to talk yourself out of fear and make it into something else.  It is OK just to say “I am afraid…  I am afraid of this person or this situation.  The simple awareness of this… admitting to oneself is important.  Second- feel the fear fully… with no attempts to get rid of it.  It is a process of allowing the emotion and watching and letting it go.  Third and most difficult is to act as if fearless with those persons and situations.  In this way,,, we don’t act from fear but act with fear.  The courageous person is one who feels just as scared as you but acts bravely… (One of the endearing things about Indiana Jones).

 

   VI.         The thought occurred to me while this makes sense as psychological advise, we can adopt it with a spiritual twist, by our consciously inviting God into the three steps.  First admit what you fear to God.  Second feel the fear fully, and in prayer, ask for guidance in releasing the fear in healthy ways and having it transformed into faithfulness.   Finally, act with Christ as an ally and a friend- especially in situations or with people who arouse fear.  After all, isn’t this what discipleship is?  Walking with the Lord in all things.

 

  VII.         Fear is never totally eliminated from a healthy person’s life… from a disciple’s life… in some ways it is an element of life… but if we do our inner work and invite Christ as our ally, we might find the destructive side of it begins to obey and acknowledge Christ’s presence- and that we can find a calm being secure and anchored in God’s presence- even amidst the storms of life.

 

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