Fear of Living
Fear of Living
By Sam Morse
I have been thinking a lot lately about my struggle with fear. Fear has caused me to stop living for most of my life. It still has a strong hold on me some days, even though I am far more productive and engaged than I have ever been before. There have been many moments when I know I chose to stay in front of the TV instead of going out and engaging with the world around me. I now realize a lot of my fear is tied into my misinterpretation of God within my belief system.
As a young man I felt that I was flawed at my very nature. I was worthless in the eyes of my creator. The only thing in my life I should be grateful for is the gift of salvation from the fires of hell handed to me by Jesus. Even with this gift of grace, if I at any times stepped outside of the rules of the faith then this salvation could be as easily taken away. Being engaged in life seemed absolutely pointless to me. If I ever let go, and experienced life in a "non-Christian" way my salvation was moot. If I ever did anything dangerous that could injure me, bringing an unexpected early death, then I might not be perfectly right with God. Once again this brought my eternal salvation into question. It becomes extremely difficult (especially for one prone to anxiety) to live within a limited lifespan when the consequences are eternal. It becomes the obvious choice to hide in your home and disengage from the world, because the chaos around us is absolutely overwhelming.
Mortality is my greatest "demon". I had become so obsessed with the idea of immortality that I had completely stopped living. I am only now taking the steps to re-engage with the world. Every piece of evidence around us points to the fact that mortality has and will always be part of this present system. Once you attempt to start living with the acceptance of mortality as a reality, instead of seeing it as a curse, you slowly take its power away. If you can't avoid it, and its reality is not a flaw or a punishment, but rather a constant state within our planet’s system (that no living thing can escape from), then death can hold no ownership over my living.
The only "fear" I allow in my life now, is the fear of not living within the God given potential I have been blessed with. When you embrace the idea of a loving God, who loved you so much that he would step into a moment history when we were at arguably at our worst as a species, and would show you how to live the best human life possible while gladly bearing a punishment he did not deserve, then what is there left to fear? If I truly grab hold of the idea that God believes in me, loves me, would die for me just so that I would get my life back in line with love, then...
The question remains however, do I still grapple with fear? Absolutely. My anxiety is a state I have resided in for so long that it will take many years of reflection and meditation to chip away at all the chains that held me down. The thing that has most changed, is that I am starting to believe I have been given the tools to slowly pull myself out of the muck of fear; I have been shown the way. Even though I will continue to have bad days, I now remains steadfast in how much God loves me and believes in me. At times in my life I have even required the help of medication to alleviate the harsh physical symptoms of panic attacks in order to mentally grapple with the root cause of my fears. Mental illness is as real as physical illness. I encourage all to release the stigma of residing in a place of hopelessness, especially if you have been told you feel this way only because you don't have enough faith. This is not a spiritual burden placed upon you, but a physical state which a loving God knows you can work past because he simply and completely believes in you. The only question is will we reach out for help? Will we grab the caring hand of family who love us? Will we seek the hand of medical professional who will help ease these times of burden? Will we search for the nail scared hand who continued to love us even when he was nailed to a tree?