Facing Fear

Paradigm Three – Fear

If we would be honest, just below the surface almost everyone is afraid of what we all know on some level is right around the corner. Many are caught up in a spiral in which they are afraid of losing their jobs, or their savings, or their homes to such an extent that fear seems to be ready to overtake all their thinking.  This can make it seem impossible to concentrate on anything but saving our skin.  Ultimately; no good can come from this type of decision-making environment.

Fear prompts retreat. It is the antipode to progress. Just when they need new ideas most, those held prisoner by fear are seized up, trying to prevent losing what they have left. When everyone does this at once, the result is a downward economic spiral.  The most concrete thing that neuroscience tells us is that when the fear system of the brain is active, exploratory activity and risk-taking are turned off.  Since many managers and executives are pretty guarded about their feelings, it’s hard to determine if this phenomenon is really having a significant and broad effect on American business. So the first order of business: are you observing this sort of behavior in your company, or in your family, or in yourself, and if so, to what extent? 

DEALING WITH FEAR

When I was a rookie in the NFL, it was my third game and on national TV.  As an offensive tackle my upcoming opponent was the strongest man in the NFL at the time by the name of Doug Atkins.  Doug was 6’8” and weighed 275 lbs. and he literally could jump tall buildings in a single bound!  Our captain and Hall of Fame linebacker Joe Schmidt came up to me in the locker room before the game.  He said, “Skunk” (my nickname because of a gray streak), remember they can beat you but they can’t eat you!”  Not particularly comforting words but the light comment gave me a chuckle and the mounting fear of the moment dissipated.

But there is a reality here for us all to consider.  What is the worst thing that can happen in whatever situation we are in?  There comes a moment when we are willing to lose it all, or get beat, or go broke, or lose our job, and then declare there is still a way to go on.

In my Christian experience of realizing how involved God wants to reassure me of His Presence, I find strength in that truth.  There is always a way forward.  There is always an answer to get us through the darkest times.  In our faith, we can discover that there is a way when there does not look like there is a way.

Now before we find our solutions for getting out of the jam we are in we must first face and deal with the “Fear Factor.”  Fear itself must be cast aside.  Before we can deal with alternative solutions we must lose the grip fear has on us.  The key to casting down fear is a willingness to accept the worst thing that can happen to us.  Once you accept that you may lose your; money, job, home, etc and that life will still go on, something comforting can happen in your heart.

We must acknowledge the power fear can have over us.  Interestingly enough one of the best ways to cast fear down is to discover that even if what we are afraid will happen does happen that we can find a way to live with it and move on with life.  There is no question that life is not in the things.  I have lived in an apartment with the kitchen, bedroom, and living room were all one room with the bathroom down the hall shared with two other families.  It is doable!  I have lived with my bedroom in the hallway and my bed a cot, it is doable.

We are talking about getting free from the power of fear.  Get free by not worrying about the worst that can happen and that comes with finding the revelation that so what if it happens I can still go on and I can still find a way.

As Winston Churchill said, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself!”  This revelation brings a liberty to the moment and clarity to the decision making environment we are in.  Cast fear down.  If you are a Christian I would say cast fear down in the Name of Jesus.  This indicates an authority to do so that fear must obey.  But there is a resident authority we all have because fear cannot own us and only has the authority in our life that we grant.  Take away the authority of fear and fear is impotent and rendered harmless.

Fear has friends we will talk about next time.  God Bless you.