Monday, June 10, 2024

Do Not Fear

Christians talk often about what is considered the most frequently-repeated command in the Bible: Do not be afraid. 

It seems that no matter what you're facing in life, some well-meaning Christian will come out of the woodwork to tell you not to be afraid. I confess that I, too, have said this from time to time (although I never leave it as a standalone statement - let's talk about the goodness of God, shall we?). 

I am a human being. As a human being, I have some things that I naturally fear in life. As a human being who has lived in a broken world for all of my days, I also have some things I unnaturally fear in life. Such is the nature of being human. None of us can escape it. 

There are some folks who say they aren't scared of anything. And maybe they aren't. But my guess is that even with most of those folks, if you dropped a snake or a spider unsuspecting on their head, they'd scream and jump and maybe even run a little. Which means, if nothing else, they at least have a startle response - and startle responses, when not properly managed, can often turn to fear. 

Can I be honest with you, though? 

Fear isn't something I think about a whole lot. 

When I'm sitting around doing nothing or when I'm engaged in a meaningful activity or when I'm thinking about virtually anything, I don't consider fear as a factor. It is entirely possible for me to sit around and plan a whole skydiving excursion for myself, everything from what kind of route I might travel to get to the little airport to what it might feel like to strap on the backpack to how to open the door to the plane and so on and so forth. I can go through every single detail in my mind without an ounce of fear popping in. Not one.

I'm very good at fooling myself that way. 

Because the truth is that I don't travel very well, not even in a car. And I have no idea what a parachute pack feels like. And I'm even worse with airplanes. And, oh yeah, I get vertigo around heights.

There are a dozen reasons, at least, why my little parachute adventure isn't ever happening, and not one of them is fear. At least, not in my head. 

Go ahead. Ask my rational mind whether I'm afraid of any of this or not. I will confidently tell you that I am not, and I will not be lying when I say that

Fear just isn't something I sit around wallowing in. (Yes, I realize there are folks who do; often, that's a clinical pathology of some sort - for most of us, it's just not a reality.) In my head, I can do anything. In my head, I do do anything. Unconstrained in my daydreaming or my scheming, I'm completely capable of anything and know, functionally, how things work ( I write this, I realize that perhaps it is my neurodivergence that makes this possible - do all you neurotypical persons sit around all day think about how afraid you are of everything? or anything? I don't know. Maybe you do). 

The point is...I would not consider my life a life of fear. So when you tell me these good, lovely words - do not fear, do not be afraid - no problem. 

But tell them to me when the plane reaches altitude, and that's a whole different ballgame.... 

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