Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What Are You Afraid Of?

There would be many different answers to that question of "What are you afraid of?" if all of you were to post your answer. I know that my youngest daughter would have to have spiders near the top of her list. Spiders would be on my wife's list, but not at the top. A lady in my church would have midgets near the top of her list of fears. Many would list speaking in public as a top fear. Another lady just told me that she is afraid of lakes and oceans because she can't always see the bottom. I saw a very athletic young man recently run screaming like a school girl at the sight of a harmless little snake. My heart speeds up considerably at sight, or even the thought, of a rat. Some are afraid of the dark, for others being in a group of strangers will cause render their anti-perspirant useless and the list goes on. There seems to be some type of phobic word for nearly any fear these days.

Why all this talk of fear? Well my wife posted on her blog recently about the fact that pastor's wives deal with a lot of guilt. Wondering if they are doing the right thing, doing the expected thing or not doing the expected thing and what will that mean to her or husband. What she wrote is not only true but a wide spread struggle among pastor's wives regardless of age or denominational affiliation. That got me to thinking about my, and other pastor's, struggles. I think I have settled on the emotion of fear. Don't get me wrong, guilt is a big issue for pastors too, but I think fear is bigger.

The fear of nobody showing up for a service or meeting. Fear that you will go completely blank while attempting to preach. Fear that you will say the wrong thing, or say the right thing and be misunderstood anyway. Fear that people will not follow you. (An old chinese proverb says that "he thinks he is leading and has no one following, is merely taking a walk".) Fear that they will miss a meeting, a surgery, a paycheck, a visit from their District Superintendent or Bishop and you can fill in the blank on other things they fear. Fear that they will lose their family because of the time invested in their ministry. Fear that they are not really supposed to be a pastor in the first place. Fear that .... I think you get the idea.

Fear is a very real emotion and can be healthy. For instance my fear of going blank while preaching causes me to study harder. A fear of certain types of danger can cause us to make better choices. It can be healthy but fear can also paralyze and cause us to not do what we should.

In the Bible there some 365 references about not fearing, or to be strong and courageous. So there is at least one reference for each day that encourages us to not give in to the unhealthy fears and to do what we know God's will is for us. Therefore, each day I get up and give it a shot, but I'll be honest I still battle the fears.

How about you? What causes fear to rise in you?


At 5:28 PM, Blogger Kin said...

spiders...and escalators...and the smell of oranges...definitely


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