Fear has a way of sneaking up on us. We do not always notice it is so near. Our reactions can be based on the fear we feel deep inside. It may not sound like fear or even smell like fear. But when we seek out the source, there it is – hiding in the depths. Fear causes us to get angry. It causes us to lash out at people we really love. It pushes us to stay away and hide. Fear can be the driver in so many of our emotions. It seems even more pronounced when we are grieving.
When we are grieving, we are experiencing the painful loss of someone or something so very important in our lives. We are changed and change is scary. We fear change, at least most of the time. Even when the hospital visits and doctor offices have filled our schedules, it becomes routine. But not having someone by our side – that is scary. How do we function? What do we do without them? How do we move on when all of our plans included our loved one? How are we to survive when we feel the wind has been knocked out of us? Fear is real and it can really immobilize us. But it does not need to. Fear does not get the final say. It may have a hold for a while, but it does not consume us.
It is important to recognize when fear is in the driver’s seat. When we can stop and see how our fears are causing us to react in certain ways, this is the beginning. It takes time. It takes courage. It takes real self-discovery. But it is possible. What are we fearful of? Is this fear something we can do something about? It is a rational fear? Does fear look like loneliness or anger or sadness or withdrawal? Does it feel like heartbreak or tears or anxiousness?
Once we recognize we are fearful, we can begin to address it. It is not easy but it is freeing. We write down our fears. We see them and we acknowledge them. Is there someone we can talk to about our fears who will just listen? Is there someone we trust to share our thoughts? As a person of faith, I bring my fears to God. I know he created and understands me. He gets how fearful I really am. He hears my cries and experiences my tears. He reminds me over and over again of how he holds me up and carries me through. It doesn’t mean I am not fearful – it means I have someone to walk the journey with me. Eventually the fears lose their power over me. Eventually, there is peace. Fear does not win.
If you find you are living in fear, know you are not alone. Hear this is normal. Fear is real – but fear does not have the final say. God does. May you find rest in him.