Fear is meant for survival, not to burden

Columnist and Columnist

It’s funny how our own fears can be our own hurdles.

I have been terrified of thunderstorms since I was a toddler. So, you can imagine how I felt when I walked to the Union with a friend while one was taking place a couple Thursdays back.

That “flight” response was rushing through me as I watched the lightning around us blaze the night sky. Even though the storm wasn’t directly overhead, I involuntarily hunched my tall self.

I wouldn’t get fried by the heat lightning if my head was closer to the ground, I felt.

Of course, once we entered the Union to meet other church friends, my friend and I were safe from the ensuing storm that rained over campus.

The rain may have ended abruptly, but that thing packed a punch! I could tell by the light show it put on.

Eventually, my friend and I found an opportunity to head back to our residence hall during a break in-between storms.

At that moment, I knew I had a choice to make: either I take my chances walking across campus or book it to the nearest bus stop at Founders.

I chose the former.

The walk back was funny because I kept hunching and jumping with anxiety at each lightning flash, while my friend walked casually.

He kept saying we’d be fine, and eventually I believed him (of course, once we were 200 yards away from our destination).

It was a good thing I didn’t dawdle any more than I did. A far more startling thunderstorm woke me up around 1 a.m.

Of all times to fear thunderstorms, nighttime is the worst for me. I can’t sleep through them — especially when it sounds like the thunder is busting trees in the neighborhood to pieces and when lightning flashes up my room.

A thunderstorm is not my only strange fear.

I bet you’ve never heard of anyone being afraid of viewing a world map.

When I was very young, a large physical world map hung on a wall in my bedroom.

No matter what time of day it was, I would always glance away from the strange-looking shapes that are the seven continents.

It’s very ironic because I have a pretty good knowledge of where most of the countries are located.

Whether we have a common fear like spiders or a more obscure one like Jell-O, I think we all forget that we weren’t made to fear for our lives.

I do believe it is beneficial that our fear instincts help us survive. But, our fears were not meant to be a dominant feature of our existence, and they’re not at all meant to overtake us.

For some of us, we may never grow out of certain fears, but I feel that we have to keep one thing in mind:

“God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7).

In other words, out of the features God gave us when He breathed life into us, fear was not one of them.

Also, God is a truly lovable, powerful and fearless spiritual entity; and, because He made us into his likeness, we have hope to not fear anything.

There is also hope for those who don’t believe in God.

Fear is an emotion (or I guess one could also say a response) that every human experiences.

I feel that sharing your fears and taking steps to relieving them with someone you can trust would help in eventually overcoming them.

Whatever fear you may have, please remember that we were born with far better features than fear.

Most importantly, please remember the hope that God has for us.

Remember that we are not alone, and He is here to help and comfort us when we seek Him.

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