Weekly Thought – September 20, 2022
Fred understood the value of disciplined emotions. He did not deny their presence, but respected their role. He acutely analyzed them with objectivity. He had a particular gift of “standing outside himself” and doing personal assessments. In so doing he sought to know two things: his constructive strengths and his destructive weaknesses. Managing then became a process.
Dr. Clayton Bell, when pastor of Highland Park Presbyterian Church, had the chilling responsibility of telling one of his parishioners her husband, daughter son, and son-in-law were killed in their private plane. He suggested she keep a diary of her experience. She published a magnificent record of this intimate encounter with catastrophe. It has been an exceptional blessing to many. Mrs. May faced her fears honestly and dealt constructively with them. In so doing others have been enabled to deal with their fears.
In sharing our fears, we are able to overcome them.
All our fears are not directed toward death. Most are everyday, garden variety fears. Those nagging fears of self-doubt and discouragement… fears of sickness, and fears of loneliness all pull at us. While we know “God has not given us the spirit of fear” (the constant feeling of fear), we still must fight against those destructive fears which rob us of the “love, power, and sound mind” as He promised.
Some of our fears are the natural reaction to hurt and inadequacy. They are not phantoms; they are real. Therefore, we must deal realistically, not running in terror or striking out blindly without a plan.
It is only when fear becomes a hindrance to our concentration, an impediment to our normal function of enjoying life, that we have to attack it. Oftentimes we wait and it goes away. If it doesn’t, then we are responsible to keep it manageable.
Some fear is good. A proper existence needs healthy fear. The fear of failure has for years motivated winners. Athletes call it “playing for pride.” Therefore, fear can be a healthy driver so long as a moral, value structure keeps it in place. Fear turns on our juices – it is up to us to use them constructively.
Properly controlled fear becomes our cautious guide. Treated intelligently, it guides us around danger. Only when it gets out of control emotionally it leads us into dark places and finally immobilizes us. We rightly fear lions on the loose, but in the zoo they are something to study and enjoy. Just so uncontrollable fears must keep our emotional control towers in good working order. In vigilance we can control and use fear correctly.
Many years ago, Charlie McCormick of Chicago and spice fame, gave me a line he said he saw on an English pub wall: “Fear knocked at the door; faith, answered, and no one was there.”
This week think carefully about: 1) When have I been gripped by fear? 2) What plans do I have in place to deal with fear? 2) How am I modeling faith over fear?
Words of Wisdom: “Properly controlled, fear becomes our cautious guide.”
Wisdom from the Word: “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NET Bible)