8/19/2005

Constantly Afraid

3. I am constantly afraid.

Most people I know are uncomfortable with "creepy" things. They wouldn't want to go into a haunted house, they get nervous when eerie music is playing, and they lose control of their imaginations every time we drive down a dark road with lots of trees. Scaring them is considered utterly taboo.

I, on the other hand, rarely have that problem. As a kid, I became fearful the same as anyone else. Over time, though, I forced myself to deal with the emotions and not let them affect me. As I came to trust more and more in God's inevitable sovereignty, I became less and less nervous of things like monsters, the dark, the unknown, or even real things like demons. I had become, I thought, unafraid.

Recently, I've become more willing to admit that this is not actually true. I AM afraid. Constantly. My fear drives many of my actions, my passions, and my values. It often hurts my relationship with God.

These days, my greatest fear is that Samantha will stop loving me. She has a powerful personality, and she can be very confusing for my very simple and very male mind. I often find myself walking around the house, scared that my actions, nonverbal communication, or personality traits will betray something about me that she will hate. I feel like an house elf, having extreme affection toward but also extreme fear of a certain person. My fear is strong enough to make me doubt her love.

I am also afraid that my friends will discover how worthless I am. I love teaching, but I worry that they will someday realize that they never really needed me, that the things I do aren't that significant. Actually, that part is true, but I fear that when the realize it they will forget me, or make me less important in their minds than I used to be.

My fear shows itself in funny ways. For one thing, I cannot have people cleaning my room for me. For some reason, I get extremely nervous when someone even shuffles through my things, and it works its way up to panic if they start to reorganize. Even now that I'm married, I have a hard time controlling my fear-driven anger or annoyance toward Samantha if I'm missing something that I know she cleaned up.

Another telltale sign of my fear is when I argue with criticism. Someone will tell me something they don't like or struggle with about me, and even if it's 75% right I find that I MUST argue about that other 25%. I'm so scared people will mischaracterize me in their minds, that I will argue constantly until I like the picture of myself that I see through their eyes.

The biggest way my fear manifests itself is when I feel I am being disrespected. I am so afraid of being looked down on that I will go to great lengths to make CERTAIN that I am spoken to with the grace and gravity I feel I deserve. Nothing makes me dislike a person more than when they treat me as if I don't matter and don't deserve to be treated as at least an equal.

Why do I have all this fear? Much of it can be attributed, I think, to discontent with God's creation… I don't like what He created, and my self-hatred makes me afraid that others will hate me too.

More than that, though, I fear that I am a flea on the back of a dog. No matter how much I push and pull, sweat and strain… it makes no difference, and my life will mean as much to others and to God's Kingdom as a flea does in determining how a dog lives its life. I'm afraid that I don't count, and so I get weird whenever anything that might confirm that comes up.

Fear of the Lord is healthy, but fear for ones' own significance is also a form of self-centeredness. I know it's wrong. With God's help, I'm learning to fight it… because if God is for us, who can be against us? And if none stand against us, what reason have we to fear? I need to be reminded of that more than anyone I know. Pray, dear reader, that I will hear my own words and internalize them.

2 comments:

ST said...

i'm afraid of the future...too much uncertainity, try to have faith but there's always a little doubt in the back of my head, i can't get rid of it

amanda said...

I'm afraid of the most things. the dark, history repeating itself, never learning, people not liking me I’m learning how to be less afraid of my fears.