I struggle with fear. I imagine I always have, but have dwelled in rather ignorant bliss until recently.
I sat down the other day and tried to journal through the things that I fear and here is a sampling:
- Lizards: anoles and geckos in particular
- Any body of water in which I cannot see to any substantial depth
- Roller coasters
- Public speaking: the first time I did announcements at The Village I literally stayed up the night before with nausea
- Heights: not sure when this sprung up, I used to love heights as a kid
- Clowns: why did my parents let me watch It at the age of 12?
- People in masks: they “can’t be trusted” according to The Princess Bride
Some of my fears are completely irrational. I can understand a fear of venomous snakes, but lizards? Perhaps it was because my brother would allow them to dangle from his ears as a child (if you have never seen this, it is too complicated to explain) I have no clue why I still fear clowns I would have to say that the chances of being lured into a sewer by a carnivorous clown who promises me balloons that float is next to nil and yet...
With these few notable exceptions, most of my fears do relate to some legitimate (if remote) danger. Snakes, alligators, and sharks did inhabit the lakes, bayous, and gulf environment of my youth; roller coasters can jump a track; serial killers do exist; etc. The chances of my being bitten or eaten while in the water, involved in a freak amusement park accident, or stalked by a sociopath are fairly small, but the point is that they could happen. And it is this chance, minute as it may be, that feeds fear. Fear takes possibilities and fixates upon them.
The Scriptures call me to “be anxious for nothing” and yet I am filled with anxiety by these fears This is sin It needs to die.
The next few weeks will serve as an opportunity for me to think through a theology of fear. It is not an overly academic exercise, but is rather my attempt to consider my fears in light of the gospel My hope is that as my anxieties are exposed, I will find greater freedom from the flesh.