Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The 5 Faces of Fear (Part 1)

Do you find yourself hocking up anxiety over and over like a Guernsey regurgitating her cud?

Does worrying about the what-ifs suck the joy out of your soul?

If so, you're not alone.

My goal for my new book, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate, is to introduce a few simple but effective tools to help us find comfort, healing, power, and peace through our struggles with the often paralyzing and debilitating fears that prevent us from fulfilling Papa God's purpose for our lives.

The first step in defeating these fears is to recognize the monster hiding behind the fear mask. There are as many different fears as there are diets in this world, but for the sake of simplicity, I've grouped common fears into five basic categories, all beginning with the letter "S". (So that this doesn't get too long, I'll start with the first two on this post and cover the next three on the following post.)

Spurting Fear: Raw, reactive emotion, not unlike blood spurting from a fresh puncture wound. This is naked emotion. The unpremeditated, gut-level, internal reaction incited by something that makes us break out in a cold sweat, quiver like a tower of Jell-O, and maybe even toss our cookies. Your reactive choices are fight, flight, freeze, or freak out. An example of spurting fear would be glimpsing a snake slither through the grass at your feet.

Saturating fear: The invasive type of fear that often originates in childhood and permeates our adult lives in ways we don't always see. These fears, often manifested as phobias, are enmeshed within our personalities. Saturating fears are probably the hardest fears to eradicate because they soak into our personalities and become so enmeshed in the fiber of our being, we have difficulty recognizing their individual threads. An example would be an underlying fear of abandonment that pervades your adult relationships because your father left your family when you were small.

As a side note here, saturating fears can be benign and still affect our thoughts and behaviors. An example is my hat fetish. I had no idea why I've always chosen to wear hats most of my life until an innocent comment by a childhood friend a not long ago flashed me back to a long-forgotten (I thought) humiliating incident about my messy hair in the sixth grade. Oddly enough - or not - it was about that time I bought my first hat.

Ah ha.

Hats, of course, are neither good nor bad, but it was quite enlightening to finally understand the root of one of my seemingly random long-standing behaviors.

How about you ... are there any saturating fears influencing your habits and decisions?

(Tune in for Part 2 next post.)


Melissa said...

This was so insightful to me and I am a person who has had to deal with fear most of my life. I really like how you are breaking it down into five categories. Well done!

Anonymous said...

The fear I battle with the most is one failure. Not even complete failure, but in certain areas of my life, having the impossible expecation of doing something perfectly. Then, when I fail, my fear takes over and immediately, I worry about the consequences of making that mistake. Through prayer, God reminds me that if I work to glorify Him in all that do, my work is good. Jesus is perfect, I will fall short but when I do...to look at the intentions of what I did and if I did my best. Rick Christensen