Dear Friends,

Of what are you afraid? Now, there is an uncomfortable question. Whether it be anxieties about a relationship, an outcome, consequences, or uncertainty about the future or death, we are only too familiar with fear. In fact, people have made billions of dollars banking on our fears.

Fear exists. How we handle fear is another matter.

When we are paralyzed by fear, make decisions based on fear, or have plans based on fear, we simply cannot make good choices. While it is unlikely that we can learn to live completely without fear, we can decide not to be dominated by it. As a supervisor of mine once reprimanded me when I was anxious about something, “Just do it scared.”

God certainly understands us very well. It is not an accident that the phrase “Fear not” appears over three hundred time in scripture. The word "love" is actually used fewer times, depending on the translation. A courageous person is not someone acting without fear, but a person refusing to be overcome by it. If that is so, it is worth examining those things of which you or I are afraid in particular. Once identified, we might consider if these fears are holding us back from expressing our full humanity. The answer is almost certainly yes, and we can begin to reflect on how we might begin to loosen the chains of a particular fear to live more fully as the person God intends us to be.

Thomas Merton wrote that no tree can ever be exactly the same as another tree and it gives glory to God by becoming the unique tree God has created it to be. Likewise, we have a unique identity created in us by God. There will never be anyone just like you again. To reach beyond our fears and into the life we have been created to live , is to bring into being what God intends for us as individuals and the whole creation.

Even if we have to "do it scared."


The Reverend Susan N. Eaves
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