DayBreaks for 1/07/20: Fear and Control Freaks
From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:
Of all the human emotions, perhaps fear is the one that I really dislike experiencing. OK, I’ll admit, I was raised in the age of the Marlboro man – someone who was always in control of the world around him, master of fearlessness, brave, courageous and bold. Fear is for wimps, I thought.
Life has a way of changing how we feel about things. When we were young, we weren’t smart enough to be afraid…really afraid. Oh, sure, we might have been afraid of flunking a chemistry test or of being turned down if we asked a girl out on a date (or even more embarrassing, being turned down if you tried to kiss her goodnight on the doorstep!) But those are hardly earth-shattering things to be afraid of.
As we age, the things we fear change, too. We start to fear for the one we love – of something bad happening to them. That’s partly because we genuinely don’t want anything to happen to them – but underlying all that is fear for ourselves – how we would feel, how we would cope, about the overwhelming powerlessness of the situation. And then we fear for our children. The first time they cough we fear they’ve contracted dengue fever or something like bubonic plague rather than a common cold. They start to drive and we fear, perhaps really fear for the first time, for their very lives. We can’t bear the thought of what it would be like without them, of the grief that would rend our hearts.
Max Lucado, in Fearless, considered fear and had this to say: “[Fear] turns us into control freaks … [for] … fear, at its center, is a perceived loss of control. When life spins wildly, we grab for a component of life we can manage: our diet, the tidiness of our home, the armrest of a plane, or, in many cases, people.
“The more insecure we feel, the meaner we become. We growl and bare our fangs. Why? Because we are bad? In part. But also because we feel cornered.
Martin Niemöller documents an extreme example of this. He was a German pastor who took a heroic stand against Adolf Hitler. When he first met the dictator in 1933, Niemöller stood at the back of the room and listened. Later, when his wife asked him what he’d learned, he said, “I discovered that Herr Hitler is a terribly frightened man.” Fear releases the tyrant within.”
The New Year is young, but by the time you read this, you’ll hear more about terrorist bombings and possible wars, down days on the stock market, depressing economic news, you may be fearful of the direction the country is or isn’t heading. You may be afraid of a pink slip at work, or a divorce filing at home. Fear is a terrible master. Don’t let it master you and let loose the tyrant hiding inside your heart.
PRAYER: We so desperately need to learn to rest in Your goodness and care for us and not to be afraid, Lord. Give us peace in a world full of fear and fear-mongering! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>