When I was a chaplain in an oncology practice patients who took their faith seriously were sometimes upset at themselves for being afraid. “If I really had faith, I wouldn’t be afraid,” they would say. I comforted them by pointing to the gift of fear. It was fear of something being physically wrong with them that got them to the doctor and subsequently into treatment of the disease. True fear motivates action, whereas anxiety steals energy and focus.
Anxiety is the generalized state of being distressed or worried. It impacts one’s ability to deal with life. Fear is an uncomfortable emotion caused by the threat of pain, harm, or trouble. Anxiety is different from fear in that anxiety has no direct object while fear does. When I am anxious, if I can look under the anxiety to find what it is that I am afraid of, then I can do something about it. To name what one is afraid of, to face the fear and wrestle with it, can bring strength. God does meet us in our fear.
About what are you afraid?
What helps you face what you fear?
“May I be strengthened in my inner being through the power of the Holy Spirit, and may Christ dwell in my heart through faith as I am being rooted and grounded in love.” (See Ephesians 3: 14-19.) You may want to develop body motions such as yoga postures to accompany these prayer words.
For further reflection:
“When I am afraid, I will trust in You . . .” (See Psalm 56, especially verses 3-4a).
“My father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me . . .” (See Matthew 24: 36-46).