Friday, February 24, 2017

Don't Let The Fear Win

Such a strange phrase, and yet so completely applicable to my life.  It comes from an episode of Midsomer Murders where Faith Alexander, an empty-nester from America, flies to England to meet her uncle, who was estranged from her late mother for more than forty years. Unfortunately, she's too late.  Her uncle was murdered just hours before she arrived, but over the course of the investigation she discovers that she had, in fact, met him once before, when she was a girl.  Though he hadn't introduced himself, he had shared the above advice, and years later, that simple phrase finally means something to her.  Faith realizes that she has spent a lifetime letting Fear dictate her choices.  It had led her to marry a pathetic jerk who made up stories about her to manipulate and steal from her relatives.  It had kept her from pursuing a meaningful career.  It had even kept her from wearing the clothes that she wanted.  And once she realizes that it is only her Fear holding her back, Faith is able to chuck her useless husband and her boring wardrobe and start all over again with a new outlook and a new spring in her step.

So why do I bring all this up?  Because, like Faith, I have spent a lifetime "letting the Fear win"  I am afraid of everyone and everything.  Fear keeps me from doing big things and little things and everyday in-between things.  I am a Fear Minion.  Whatever it tells me, I follow without question.  Not because I want to, but because I feel powerless to resist.  My Fear is all consuming and all encompassing.  Not fun.  

When Faith finally realized that she had allowed Fear to overtake her agency, she was able to snap her fingers (metaphorically) and begin righting the wrongs.  By the end of the episode she had left her husband, gotten a makeover/better wardrobe, and had arranged to travel across Europe with her new best friend.  Life, however, is never as clean and efficient as fiction.  A lifetime of submission to anxiety is not overcome over the course of a weekend, any more than you can click your heels three times and wish yourself back to Kansas.  It takes work.  Hard work.  Painful work.  And this is the work I know that I have to begin.  Somehow.

So where do I start?  How do I build defenses?  How do I keep the Fear from winning? 

Or maybe, it isn't about building defenses at all.  Maybe I need to change my point of view.  Fear is the opposite of Faith (Anyone else see what the Midsomer writers did there?), so perhaps what I really need is to bolster my Faith.  Once again, easy enough said, right? Strengthening Faith is just as difficult as overcoming Fear.  Prayer, scripture study, all the Sunday School answers, is that what I mean?  I don't really know.  Maybe just sitting here at my desk, pondering the abstract concepts, is the so-necessary first step.  

 Don't let the Fear win.  I have often repeated the phrase, almost like a mantra, as I watch myself do the exact opposite.  I wish I could be like Faith Alexander and say to myself, "It stops today", but of course that would be a foolish invitation to failure. Simply saying the words doesn't make it so.  If it did, I would be five inches taller, a LOT thinner, much wealthier, and I would live in a medieval styled castle (but with all the mod-cons) along with my cat, a few beagles, and a pony (which would obviously clean up its own poop).  

Simply wishing for something isn't enough.  As Dr. Kelso said on Scrubs, "Life is scary. Get used to it . . . There are no magical fixes. It's all up to you. So get up off your keister, get out of here, and go start doing the work . . . Nothing in this world that's worth having comes easy."  Life is scary.  Fear.  And it's all up to me.  I need to stop waiting for a magical fix and start doing the work.  It's the only way to keep the Fear from winning. 

What a terrifying thought!

No comments:

Post a Comment