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Moving from fear to faith

Moving from fear to faith

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by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
September 13, 2019

When it comes to fear, most of us have learned to respond with forgetting everything and running.

Fear takes the joy out of living and reduces those dominated by it to a state that makes everything they do ineffective. What’s the medicine to cure it? Is there a face cream or a shampoo? Maybe a vitamin or an essential oil?  A powder you can sprinkle on your smoothie or mix into your morning coffee?

You can begin by examining the fear.  Look at it closely, unpack it to see if you can understand why you are afraid.  Ask yourself, what am I afraid will happen? In doing this, you are meeting yourself face to face.  Usually, you can see right away that what you are fearful of is a worst-case scenario you have imagined.  Sometimes the fear grips you, and the worst-case scenario seems very real.

Remember, you are a creative being with great imagination. You’re able to redden your face with a thought when embarrassed or make your mouth water as you imagine cutting a freshly picked lemon from your beautiful lemon tree.  What if instead of imagining the worst-case scenario you were to imagine the best-case scenario?  Ask yourself what the best possible outcome is. What if it all goes right?

It takes a bit of practice, and each time you choose to ponder the best possible outcome instead of the worst-case scenario, you build your faith muscle.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Fourth-century philosopher St. Augustine observed: “Faith is to believe what you do not see.  The reward for this faith is to see what you do believe.” As you imagine the best possible outcome and believe it will be so, you are rewarded by seeing what you believe manifest in your life.

As with everything in life, practice makes permanent.  In the same manner that one might practice getting into yoga poses or running long distances for a marathon, one practices turning to faith instead of fear.

Intrusive thoughts which create fear may also arise at times.  Individuals who have post-traumatic stress disorder have recurring intrusive thoughts about a distressing situation which leads to more fear.

One practice I use and recommend to release intrusive, unwanted thoughts of fear, doubt, or worry is this: First, in your mind’s eye, wrap the thought in a bubble. Now place the thought bubble in the palm of your hand. Next, gently blow the bubble off your hand. If another unwanted thought arises, do the same.  Repeat until you find yourself in a state of peace and calm.  Without being consumed by intrusive thoughts which create fear, you are free to create a life you love, fueled by faith, anchored in love.

Instead of forgetting everything and running, what if you were to face everything and rise?

What’s the best possible outcome?  Give yourself permission to experience that.

And so it is.

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