Why do we fear people, places, things?

As children we are fearless… In fact, I grew up with a girl (my best childhood friend) that would go on the most daring roller coasters, dive off the highest diving board, ride her bike as fast as she could and attack a fast pitch like no other. I emulated her fearlessness. It inspired me to jump out of trees, hold my breath as long as I could underwater, work out harder, run faster, see scary movies, run for student council and class officer and even follow my dreams from coast to coast without thinking about the more practical and easier ways of life.

The older I get the more I am astonished at how fearless I once was…  auditioning for things I had no business auditioning for, pounding the pavement of NYC at 17 years old without a shadow of doubt in my ability and/or talent, belting out a tune as loud as I could for anyone that would listen not caring if I was on pitch, or telling people how I felt without concern for the outcome… When did that fierceness and fearlessness dissipate?

It’s not until you lose something or someone that you are introduced to pain. Ultimately, isn’t that where fear comes from? Loss equals pain and pain equals fear. No one walks around seeking pain (and if you do… that is a whole other blog post and problem)… but for the most part we try and avoid pain, i.e. we fear pain… therefore we as humans have fears.

As a child I played sports… every sport… I can remember attacking ground balls as my father cracked the softball with the metal bat.  I would run up as fast as I could on that ball hoping to make him proud and to be the best fielder I could be.  It never occurred to me how hard he was hitting the ball, how fast it was coming at me or that the ball could very easily skip up and hit me in the chin or the nose… but sure enough, if that ball skips up and hits you one time… it can mark you forever (both figuratively and literally).  Get hit in the face with that ball one time and it changes the fierceness you once had… or at least it did with me.

It only gets tougher as you get older… replace that ball with bad news, the loss of a loved one, heartbreak, loss of job, or a crushed dream…  When one has so many of those experiences it is possible she can start fearing too many things… and then you end up enduring life as opposed to enjoying it.

That’s where I am today… not allowing myself to enjoy my life and my blessings because I’m so worried or fearful I could lose them.

Having pain or dealing with trials and tribulations from the past has almost paralyzed my ability to live in the moment. Some might even describe this as shutting down emotionally or disconnecting from people, life or love.

I am smart enough to know there is no guarantee in life. I am smart enough to know that no one can predict future pain, success, happiness or loss… and therefore I am smart enough to “understand” we shouldn’t go through life worrying about things that haven’t happened yet.  But sometimes it’s hard to connect my brain’s rational thoughts to my heart. It’s almost as if I’m wired to think irrationally first… It’s almost as if I’m wired to worry about (or fear) the unknown before realizing I haven’t even been “hit in the face with the ball” yet.

So I guess today is about attacking that ground ball… it’s about not caring if I get hit with it since I ultimately can’t control the bumps in the road, or, as it were, the bumps on the infield…
it’s about “child like” faith
it’s about fierceness
it’s about not just enduring life, but actually enjoying life
Today is about not accepting the way I am wired… but actually changing it… today I acknowledge that I can feel fear, but  I can’t let fear conquer me.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirt of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind. 

8 Comments on “fear…

  1. You have “charged those ground balls” in life with such grace, poise, beauty, love, fearless fun . . . and we have great faith in you to stay in the game. We’ll always be here with a hug, unconditional love, (even an ice bag), and a gentle nudge to get you back out there. We love you, Joy!!

  2. Thank you Joy for putting into words a challenge I have seen, not only in others but, occasionally in myself. There are days when I am just enduring life but being normally a “joie de vivre” sort of gal I can shake it off. My sadness and frustration comes when I see those who live in that place of just “enduring” life. Your words have given me new insight to understanding. Thank you Joy!

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