Oh my gosh I just saw now as I looked out the window, the trees we planted a few months ago. They are now reaching higher than the fence we positioned them next to! I can’t believe it! It’s winter and shouldn’t they be slowing down their growing?
As parents we know that feeling with our children. Their continuous growth can be shocking and daunting at times! And notice how it always happens when we don’t expect it!
The suddenlies of growth!
Over the last few weeks there has been something more than just trees growing.
Fear has grown too. I have been seeing it everywhere. Peoples eyes, peoples words, peoples way of driving on the road, laced with fear.
I was at the Check-out yesterday, glanced down and there embolden in large black font were the words “Terrorist plot foiled!”
Fear! And it was reaching over the fence into my backyard. It wasn’t in the backyard of Ireland or Israel, this time it was in mine!
It is in all of ours.
And we are growing really tired of it.
Everywhere I am going as I train, consultant and speak, people are communicating that they are getting sick and tired of being bombarded with being told who they should be afraid of.
Kids are tired of being scared into not saying ‘hi’ to the neighbour who walks by as they play football in the park. In the work place, people are tired of being scared into performance reviews. On our roads, people are fed up with hate and anger as the prevailing go to emotions to deal with fear.
My husband says its overrated!
Is it really that powerful that it now seems to be ordering our lives, our values, our relationships???? But what do we do about it? How do we navigate fear?
Isn’t it a basic human need and right to feel safe physically and emotionally? So what are we doing as a society? Do we really understand what we are doing when we teach our kids and ourselves to not say hello??
A few years back I had the amazing privilege of studying under Dr Brene Brown. She is a Social Scientist and Professor at Houston University. From her research, she defined fear as the inability to manage vulnerability.
Because the nature of vulnerability is risk, uncertainty and emotional exposure, this naturally evokes feelings of fear in us. We all experience the fear that vulnerability pulls on in us and for some it pulls on terror.
But fear always comes with a story. And because terror is the more common word now used for fear, the story is more extreme, more life threatening, more debilitating.
Are we aware of the story we are hearing when we feel fear? Our brains are wired for story. NeuroScientists say that our brains only need 1-2 pieces of information in order to make up a story, then it will fill in the rest with emotion, if an individual doesn’t have the skill set to find out the information needed to get the true story.
God has a story too. The bible acknowledges and honours the vulnerability in moments of fear and speaks to that. The freedom offered to us in the Scriptures is that fear is faith in an inferior. It is the by product of a whole bunch of “me” in focus.
This is true. Fear is by its nature a self conscious affect, emotion. It is one of 4 emotions we experience as human beings that makes us intensely aware of ourselves.
Fear is a power emotion. It drives a enormous amount of energy physiologically in us. That energy has to go somewhere.
God says put that energy here. He shows up, draws us out of ourselves and says crazy things like, “Don’t be afraid. I am with you”, “Don’t be afraid, Trust in me”, “Don’t be afraid, for you have found favour with God.”
God loves vulnerability. He calls it faith. He calls it courage. He calls it pleasing! Me on the other hand, can call it crazy, insane!!
Time and time again he reaches out to us and offers us vulnerability, because in vulnerability is connection and that will sustain us in the fear! Here is the bottom line of what God is really on about, connection.
Fear kills connection.
What do I really believe about vulnerability? It is not oversharing, off loading or blaming. It is not weakness. In fact research has shown us that it is the most accurate measure of courage. It is a courageous, honest owning of ourselves before another.
What value do I give to vulnerability? That will determine how I manage fear.
It is vulnerable to grow. But we can’t stop our kids from growing, we can’t stop the trees from growing.. apparently even this winter!
Are we tired enough to give up being scared and reach for vulnerability? Are we sick enough of growing our children on fear and brave enough to say, “Hello!” instead of walking past saying nothing?
Have we had enough of hate and anger as go to emotions for dealing with fear, and ready to try something new like “o that quick turn in front of me frightened me” and I will own my emotion and actions by taking my time to deep breathe and slow my heartbeat”?
What is going to reach higher than your fence today?
Want to live fearless?
Read my blog http://all4him.org/2018/05/02/your-humanity