Fear – our emotional fire alarm

Return to InnocenceRaise the dead: animate and reenergize what once was alive (part two of four)

Jesus tends the garden of our soul by resurrecting our true selves, the self that wisely trusts because it is free from fear or worry. (see part one)

When you find yourself not trusting, ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?”

Usually pain of some kind is the answer. Fear is our emotional fire alarm, saying “Danger, slow down, let’s make sure we’re safe here.” Healthy fear can help us unhealthy fear can paralyze us.

Unhealthy fear is like a muscle-bound, well-armed, overprotective body guard. Originally employed to keep us safe, he now keeps us a prisoner to guarantee our safety; reasoning only when we are locked away from any danger, whether it be physical or emotional, can we hope to be kept safe and avoid pain. Trust is the key to this prison, but this key is so infrequently used, it has grown rusty and is often hard to locate.

Spiritual speaking (which in turn impacts all the rest of our lives) we are living oxymorons in relationship to trust. We say God is good and loving and yet we resist trusting him completely. Why? Why is it hard to trust God? Why do our actions not match our words?

Three reasons:

1. Lack of perspective – Eliza and the peas. Peas were good provision for her, and needful for her, but she wasn’t crazy about the flavor, so she trusted her taste buds more than her providers. So it is with us. We know what we want and think we know what we need, therefore we resist anything that doesn’t square with our expectation. God has long-term, life-providing, strength-building provision for us, we don’t recognize it because it tastes like peas, not sweet potatoes. (See part one)

2. We’ve been injured – In the past trust lead to rejection and pain, experiences we made a vow to avoid at all costs. Most of us had, as they say in the psychological literature, “good enough” parents; parents that more often than not were available to meet our needs, provide and protect, so fear is not the foundation of our life.  But it is still a powerful factor in keeping us “dead”.

3. Lack of Control – Need I say more? We all believe in the myth of control. If I’m in charge, I can manage the situation and insure that neither me nor anyone I love is hurt in any way. If I trust, I give another power over my life and am at risk of being hurt.

Unhealthy fear = Death. The good news is that if fear is a learned condition, it can be unlearned. Jesus came to resurrect trust in our lives once again.

More about this in part three of Return to Innocence.

(This material is taken from the Shaped at the Garden retreat. For more information about participating in this retreat, contact me or look in the events category.)

6 thoughts on “Fear – our emotional fire alarm

  1. Loved this post, Debby. Good insights into the reasons for fear. I read something else about fear today that dovetails with your post: “Fear is not a bad place to start a spiritual journey. If you know what makes you afraid, you can see more clearly that the way out is through the fear.” – Kathleen Norris, in her book _Dakota_

  2. Pingback: The great coverup « The Mentored Life

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