It is appears to be more commonplace these days to see people deal with one another through fear. It is sad to me, and I believe it is totally wrong. I have seen what happens when fear is introduced as it relates to relationship. How the fear of losing a partner is used to benefit one and threaten the other. I have noticed fear during marriage or relationship break-ups, when children are used as weapons, so there is a fear of losing loved ones. I’ve seen bosses play lord over their employees and their livelihoods by using fear as a method of coercion to perform and or produce more, harder or better with a threat of job instability; many times being unfair and downright nasty. Other forms of fear that I have seen recently is peer- pressure. Doing something because it appears to be “in” or what everyone else is doing. Some fear what others will say, if they choose against the crowd. It’s the craziest thing to see bullying at it’s roughest and to have others to go along with it because they fear saying “no”. People fear going to the doctor or dentist because they don’t want to get bad news. Not going doesn’t make the pain or the nervousness go away. This world, no matter where you are, can be a dark place. Stepping into the darkness can be a scary thing, but it doesn’t change the fact that we have to step out. Fear infiltrates our minds and we must conquer it at the point that it is exposed.
There were times when I walked into a class room when I attended school, I had been up all night finishing up projects for work, had to complete chores at home and after laying my head down on the bed, it seem that the alarm rang and it it was time to begin again. As I walked into the classroom, the instructor would inform us that we would have a pop quiz. Immediately fear comes in. It causes me to worry about the quiz, the fact that I may not know everything, the fact that I may not pass, I fear the quiz and the end result because I know that I haven’t had time to focus fully on school or maybe I had focused but I don’t feel prepared. The fear doesn’t change the fact that the quiz will begin in a few minutes but instead it gives me a lump in my stomach and throat and causes anxiety.
During my first mammogram, I was informed that I had a mass on one of my breast. Fear flooded in. Instead of mass I heard cancer. I began to stress and became sad and got so worked up that I couldn’t think straight. After additional testing I was informed that I would need to come back in a couple of days for the results. I wanted the results right away and didn’t want to be left alone with fear. My overactive mind, had a field day and I didn’t know if I was going or coming. I have faced death before, on a couple of occasions, that didn’t mean that I wanted to face it again. No matter what I would still need to get up for the next couple of days and place one foot in front of the other and face the world.
As a young mother, I worked an awesome contract position that I never could imagine leaving. Perhaps I became too content. I was supposed to grow, give back and keep moving. One day, out of the blue, all contractors received memos informing us that we would be riffed after we completed our current contract. There was no regard for people who had mortgages, sick children, or any other financial difficulties. With the news came incredible unrest and, you guessed it, fear. Fear of tomorrow, of how one would make it from day to day with no job, fear of where to find the next job in such short notice, how the rent or mortgage would be paid. A decision had to made: if I were going to give in to that same fear and allow it to dictate life as I knew it or try another approach.
My first day in darkness when I found myself homeless and no place to go. I awoke to a new day, walked my child to school and sat on the ledge of a building and cried the entire day. First feeling nothing and then feeling everything. But the main thing that I felt was fear. I was in a city, a state, in a dark place where I knew no one, alone with a child, no job, and no direction. As a made it through a few days fear began to speak plainly to me. I was overwhelmed and my life had already been a tragic one. Fear began telling me to take my own life. Through the darkness I tried but tomorrow came with a hint of light. The suicide attempt, failed but fear remained with me for a while. The details of this part of my life are a bit much for this writing piece, but the point is how far and how wide fear can lead if you allow it.
Charles, a close friend of mine informed me that one of the past companies that he worked for, had a Vice President who would rarely even speak with the staff in his department and if he decided to speak, it would always be with negative remarks which caused the work environment to be hostile. When the VP was around other members of his team that he had a close relationship with, there was quite often whispers and closed door conversations when certain team members would come around. The work morale was the worst he had ever been a part of. Charles mentioned that although the VP would quite often use threatening language to introduce fear and strife among the staff; the results manifested “extreme hatred” which caused many people to leave the company or search for openings in other departments. The supervisors immediately under the vice president became just like the him in style and manner and refused to open their eyes and see they they were running the company into the ground. They enforced rules that were unfair and cared very little about their support staff. The management team was allowed to do what they wanted and even allowed to make mistakes but the fear of being that human among the subordinate staff was managed with their feet on the necks. What a sad place.
This life isn’t just about you or just about me. Even when you don’t totally understand faith or may not totally embrace it, you still must walk in it. It is about trust. Trusting what you know is right vs doing what you know is wrong. Trusting that even if you are the only one walking a path alone, that you can do it and eventually the fear of being alone will pass. It is not always about production, ability, making self look good or throwing the next person under a train. It is about your character, integrity and insight. Joyce Meyer‘s has a book named “Do It Afraid”, there comes a time when we must in the midst of fear – face it, and do what needs to be done in spite of how and what we feel. If you’re used to running scared, choose instead not to follow that pattern any longer. If fear insist on coming along during a journey that you’re invited to, then stand firm, square your shoulders, and say although I am walking through this valley with shadows of death, I will fear no evil. Little by little we become more accustomed to doing to pioneering those roads less traveled or not traveled at all and the fear subsides. The fear may hang around but there is a joy and relief in knowing that those things that outweigh fear are worth the walk of faith. Don’t turn the other direction and run with your tale between your legs when fear is exposed during a test, when you experience persecution from others, or go through tough times. This is your chance to allow that that hint of light to grow in the darkness and become a force that faces fear head on . . . faith. I don’t have all of the these or have it all together enough to give steps on how you do, but the only advice that I can give is one day at a time – face it, deal with it, expose it and keep moving. In exposing it – we just have to continue to tell ourselves that the fear we feel or see is a lie, even when it doesn’t seem like a lie. One day those fears will be gone and there will be others to expose. My hope is that it becomes easier for each one of us, each time.
Quiet By Nature