Brenda’s Blog – October 8, 2019
“I’m not afraid of heights – I’m afraid of falling.”
Her comment caught me off guard. I have always put myself in the “afraid of heights” category, but she challenged my thinking. She is right – I don’t mind being high if falling isn’t an imminent danger.
Fear is a strange emotion, isn’t it? Anger masquerades as fear; anger often comes dressed as depression. We find the emotion that is most socially acceptable. Or, we just play hide and seek, ducking behind a smiley face and “I’m doing great!”
I was driving US Highway 550 in Colorado from Ouray to Durango. The sun was sinking farther and faster in the west than I intended. As I maneuvered a mountainous curve I had a panic attack. I was alone, I was afraid, and I was petrified. Thankfully there was a pull-off. I sat in the car, talking to myself. “Brenda, no one is going to drive you down the mountain. You can do this – you have driven mountain roads for years. What is going on with you?” The last voice had a critical edge to it – not what I needed. I needed the “atta-girls!”
It wasn’t the height – it was the fear of driving off the edge and plunging down the hillside. I finally had a profitable talk with myself, prayed, quoted favorite fear scriptures, and started the trek homeward.
Pulling the mask off fear and telling the truth about it allowed me to manage the moment. I am not downplaying the reality of panic attacks. For this time, the experience had a rapid conclusion. I know there are other times when the outcome isn’t quite so easily resolved.
We live in a fear-driven, fear-addicted culture. We use anger, fear, and hostility as motivators of ourselves and others. What a foolish misuse of time and energy. We were created as God’s masterpiece, His work of art, His poem. We aren’t designed to operate with fear as our default system.
I heard her words and they triggered an immediate response. What about you? What are your fears? Are you realistically defining your fear or should you be looking for the “fear behind the fear?” Identify it, speak life into the emotion, and be released from the paralysis.