There have been a lot of really tragic events in the news lately, and it’s enough to make me want to stock up on canned goods and build a bunker — a place where everybody I love would live in relative peace, away from the rest of the world. Does anybody else feel that way?
But the thing is, we’re not meant to hide away in our homes because of the fear of what might be. We aren’t supposed to have a spirit of fear or timidity, but one of power and love and self-control (2 Tim 1:7). But when I look at my life, there are times when I definitely have let fear make my decisions for me. And, though we are supposed to be prudent, we aren’t supposed to let fear rule our lives.
You know that scene from the Passion of Christ, where the androgynous Satan is holding a little person/baby in his/her arms? That scene used to freak me out.
What I find really powerful about that scene is Mary’s response to this weird, frightening image. She sees it, and even responds to it, but she quickly changes her gaze back to Christ. I am convinced that Satan wants us to keep looking, to stare at the horror, until we only see evil in the world. And he wants us to become so paralyzed by fear that we are incapable of doing anything of real value in the world.
I can tend to be a fearful person, especially since I have become a mother; it’s like your heart grows exponentially with each child, and with the growth, comes the ability to experience more pain at the suffering of others. So, what can a mother do to live out a more peaceful life in the midst of the fears that will arise?
My first word of advice…
Face your fears, but don’t dwell on them.
Honestly, is watching 24/7 coverage of evil in the world helping you live a better life? Nobody is being helped by staring at a television and examining every gruesome detail of these events– so my advice is don’t watch that news clips or stare at images on your social media feeds — don’t do it. Say a prayer for all people involved and turn your focus back to Christ. I know it sounds trite, but loving the people we encounter today is the most powerful way to respond to these tragedies — I believe that with my whole heart!
The same goes for our own personal fears– don’t go to that crazy place in your mind where you imagine that awful thing happening or envision the worst case scenario opening up in front of you. The thing is, God isn’t in those moments in our head, because they haven’t happened yet, and they most probably won’t ever actually happen! That’s why we need to live in the moment and to stop our crazy imagination when it gets out of control.
My second word of advice…
Avoid isolating yourself when you are facing your fears.
Sometimes, you just need to find a faithful friend or priest to voice your worries, and with their help, you can see the ways that you have blown things out of proportion. I think that Satan tries to isolate us from others, because there is strength in numbers, and when you seek out the counsel of prayerful people, quite often they will share just the words that you need to hear in that moment. So don’t be afraid to name your fears so you can move beyond them.
My final word of advice…
Remember that courage is a virtue, and virtue grows in our lives when it is tested.
Each time you face your fears head on and accept Gods grace in that moment, you grow a little more courageous! If you’re not praying, you won’t be strong enough to face these fears alone. It will bleed into your life in many different ways, and uncontrolled fear will stop you from loving the people around you as fully as you should.
Remember, Love casts out all fear. God is love. Spend time with Him. Share your fears with Him. Don’t underestimate the power that prayer has to change the course of human history, or at the very least to transform your fears into a Spirit of Love and Boldness.