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Inspiration: Live by Faith Not by Fear…

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Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream. Paulo Coelho

Inspiration: Live by Faith Not by Fear… scared child at night

What are you most afraid of? What lingering fear still has a hold on you? Fear is a very powerful emotion… It can paralyze us and prevent us from living life fully. At its most insidious, it becomes a pathology; resulting in phobias and paranoia. It is normal to have some measure of fear as we all know the saying that “only fools dare to tread where wise men fear to go.” But, we cannot live our lives in fear of X – whatever that factor is. Whenever I see myself worrying about situations that perturb me, like when a road rage driver tried to run me off the road sometime back in my California days, I remind myself that I can find a solution by acting on faith or accept that I have no control over the situation and move on. In that instance, I found a solution by changing lanes and ignoring the driver. I believed he won’t follow me as usually most road rage drivers are in a hurry to God knows where = nowhere.

They can conquer who believe they can. He has not learned the first lesson in life who does not every day surmount a fear. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Inspiration: Live by Faith Not by Fear… Spider up close

Fear is an equal opportunity abuser and a common condition that we all share; some more than others. I’ve even written about some of my childhood fears. The only people who say they are fearless are either dead or deluded. It is just not possible to claim a lack of any kind of fear and this becomes apparent when those who make the claim are faced with terror. If we can develop a spirit of faith in the fact that others have similar fears, and if necessary, talk with a professional about them, we can reduce many of our lingering fears. Another suggestion is practicing deep, focused breathing exercises and visualizing a peaceful resolution to any situation. Prayer and relaxing music can help too as they refocus our attention away from the fear.

As I prepared this post, I looked around for the top things people fear and found a number of lists. One common denominator on many of the lists I found was that our fears are often fueled by a belief that we are in danger of death, exposure, injury, embarrassment or more. Listed below are the top things that people fear the most; Which of these items are still on your list and what tips do you use to help reduce or eliminate your fears? See the Top Twenty List of Fears below, and the list of phobias and then read the Insightful Story I added after the list. Enjoy! 🙂

The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true. James Branch Cabell

Inspiration: Live by Faith Not by Fear… Giotto - Faith; one of the seven virtues.

There is another kind of fear which is the fear of what others will do to hurt us through blackmail or such. Read the insightful story of Johnny’s dilemma below. Has this ever happened to you… How we choose to respond is very important. One thing I can say is that no one should be held hostage by fear; better to face the music than let another person blackmail you.

The Devil & the Duck ~ Author Anon
There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced in the woods; but he could never hit the target.  Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for dinner.
As he was walking back he saw Grandma’s pet duck. Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head and killed it. He was shocked and grieved!
In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile; only to see his Sister watching! Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing. After lunch the next day Grandma said, ‘Sally, let’s wash the dishes’
But Sally said, ‘Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen.’ Then she whispered to him, “Remember the duck?’  So Johnny did the dishes.
Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, ‘I’m sorry but I need Sally to help make supper.’ Sally just smiled and said, ‘well that’s all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help? She whispered again, ‘Remember the duck?’ So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help.
After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally’s; he finally couldn’t stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck.
Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug and said, ‘Sweetheart, I know.. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing, but because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.’ Johnny had let fear get in the way of telling the truth.

What stands in your way? What are your thoughts? What fears do you live with? If you had to pick 1 or 2 to share what would they be? Do share! Thank you. 🙂

Positive Motivation Tip: Life is made up of fun and fearful events. We can develop our faith by recognizing that there are solutions to our fears and that everyone has some.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: Photo of Scared ChildSpider, and Giotto – Faith as On of the Seven Virtues via Wikipedia

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

32 Comments leave one →
  1. 23/05/2011 4:05 am

    He has not learned the first lesson in life who does not every day surmount a fear. Ralph Waldo Emerson – this quotation of Emerson helped me to step forward as I was down. And some books I bought in New York: author: Aaron T. Beck

    • 24/05/2011 1:48 am

      It is a great quote and a good reminder to press on… I do believe that when we challenge ourselves to do more with our lives, we are faced with the daily fear he spoke of; not debilitating but anticipatory of what will happen next. 🙂

  2. 23/05/2011 5:12 am

    I’m always stunned that people fear public speaking. I can ad-lib for hours no worries. I’ve done it, without prior notice, just handed a mike and told to speak, so I did! I was handed the mike, of course, because they knew I wouldn’t be phased. My tip to people is to imagine the audience in their underwear. No-one is scary in well-worn underwear.

    I think I’ve got to a stage in life where I fear very little these days. I do believe as we get older, having experienced more and survived, we realise many of these things aren’t to be feared at all.

    Having said that, I do not like heights. I can’t stand close to a floor to cieling window on the 39th floor, for instance. I can’t sit in the top rows of the Great Suthern Stand at the MCG as I feel I will fall into the field. I KNOW I won’t, but I can’t stop the feeling.

    Something get’s all of us, I guess!

    • 24/05/2011 1:54 am

      Actually, some people get more fearful as they get older for some of the same reasons we did when we were young adults; ending up alone, not being able to care for ourselves, illness, death and such… We also worry for our children; especially if we have concerns for them.
      The thing with public speaking is that some people just panic in front of a group even when they have things to say. I’m comfortable speaking in a group but that comes from practice and I still have some initial jitters; like actors do before they go on stage.
      Heights make me dizzy too and I don’t like those crazy rides in the air at playgrounds. 🙂

  3. 23/05/2011 7:36 am

    Loved the story about the duck! Great post.

    • 24/05/2011 1:55 am

      Thank you!
      I enjoyed it too and wanted others to benefit from the message. 🙂

  4. 23/05/2011 9:46 am

    Nice post about fear – made me reflect how I worked hard to conquer some lifelong fears (mostly related to OCD), and then parenthood plunged me into a whole new set I have to work on!

    • 24/05/2011 1:58 am

      Righto about parenthood and fear. I thought I was on my way to a fearless life and then i had my kids and a new type of fear set in… You know, fear is not a bad thing and it is fine to have some… What is that bible quote again? “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.”
      I believe that fearlessness is a wonderful theoretical concept. 🙂

      • 24/05/2011 7:40 am

        But every now and then, you need it! Fearlessness, that is.
        I’d forgotten about the fear that arrives with parenthood – so long ago!

  5. 23/05/2011 10:28 am

    I liked the story of the duck, too. I fell into depression, anxiety attacks and panic attacks about 13 years ago. It was so bad, I actually prayed to God to either heal me or take me home, as I couldn’t continue to live like that. He did neither, but he did give me the strength to get through each day. I’m still taking medication, but haven’t had an attack — a serious one, anyhow –in about three or four years. I’m still afraid of crowds and ladders, though!

    • 24/05/2011 2:01 am

      Hi Geezer,
      I hear you and thanks for stopping by my blog. Fear can be paralyzing and can contribute to other ailments. I’m glad you are managing your anxieties with the appropriate therapies… and prayer is a great protector/healer. Will visit your blog and say hello.
      Be Blessed! 🙂

  6. 23/05/2011 11:09 am

    Well thanks a lot Elizabeth… I wasn’t afraid of spiders til you posted that ugly close-up!

  7. InsideJourneys permalink
    23/05/2011 11:26 am

    Very timely topic, Elizabeth. I’m slowly working through one of my fears right now – taking risks (fear of failure, rejection).

  8. 23/05/2011 12:35 pm

    Elizabeth…if I have time to read only one post, I will always read yours…and this post shows why!
    Thank you for the thoughtful and hopeful examination of fears…yes, we all have them and the CAN be overcome and faith is definitely a great help. I believe PASSION is another help…when we are passionate about something, we don’t even know we are overcoming the fear…we just do it.

    I definitely have always been afraid of approaching new situations and/or people and/or places. But when I talk about my book and using positive participation to uplift children, I seem to be able to confront these new situations, if not with total ease, at least with confidence and determination.

  9. 23/05/2011 1:26 pm

    When you have conquered the enemy within . . . there are no enemies left to conquer.

    Most fears are a form of self-created suffering because we let our imagination run wild instead of reining it in. The more mindful we become, the less we fear the world.

    To that end, I am not afraid of speaking in public, death, heights, spiders, tunnels, bridges, flying, storms, drowing, the dark, failure, rejection, bugs, germs, disease, illness, aging, or commitment.

    I have a healthy appreciation of snakes and prefer to keep my distance. I also prefer to avoid pain, forced confinement, crowds, and strangers touching me . . . but I’m not phobic about anything.

    None of my gentle “fears” keep me from living my life to the fullest.

  10. 23/05/2011 1:48 pm

    Interesting look into faith vs fear… It’s true, there needs to be some sort of balance. One can’t live in total fear or total fearlessness. Faith is hard though. Take, for example, the guy who predicted the world would end. All his “followers” took what he had to say in faith, despite their fear of the world ending. And look where that got them… lost jobs, maxed out credit cards, etc. all because they believed – in faith – that this guy was telling the truth.

  11. Bree permalink
    23/05/2011 2:31 pm

    Call it an appreciation or an understanding of things we abhor, we all have a handful of fears or thngs that give us the hibby jibby.
    I try to not focus too much on the things that I fear like violence, pain and bugs. I use the tips you suggested when I need to and just avoid being in situations that could expose me to them.
    No camping for me! 🙂

  12. 23/05/2011 4:38 pm

    You know…the entire Bible Study I am going through now relates to fear…

    “Breaking Free” by Beth Moore has been a transformational study for me…bringing me face to face with fear….

    God’s truth is bigger than ANY fear I have.

  13. 23/05/2011 5:32 pm

    Great post ! I have a few fears, but they do not keep me from living my life to the fullest. Fears can paralyze us and prevent us from living life fully. I have learned too, to face our fears head-on- is the best way to deal with them. As long as we feel good with ourself, our direction, and being around the ones we love, we can conquer the world !! 🙂

  14. 23/05/2011 7:58 pm

    Good post. If I could ban fear,I would. I never need the fight or flight sort of instinct that kept man alive eons ago. Fear for me makes me stop thinking. When’s that good?

  15. 23/05/2011 8:19 pm

    When you have conquered the enemy within . . . there are no enemies left to conquer. The enemy within is a constant battle, it’s the inner self fighting the inner enemy on a daily bases. Out thoughts are a process and our desires; are of the heart. It is a constant battle of the mind over the heart, the enemy is a constant prowler.

  16. 23/05/2011 9:48 pm

    Hi, Elizabeth! I can always count on your posts to resonate with my life at the moment. Thank you once again. I hope you’re doing well, and send you lots of love!

  17. 23/05/2011 7:21 pm

    As always you cover a very good area the fear. I always imagine my fears as little devils playing around with me like yo, yo. The thing is when my patience is done; I eat those little devils and spit them in the dirt since my fighting mode is getting really hot and unstoppable.


  18. InsideJourneys permalink
    24/05/2011 12:43 am

    Hey Elizabeth,
    Tried to comment on your post about anger but comments were closed 🙁

    • 24/05/2011 12:59 am

      Yes, I just noticed it myself and corrected it… Some funny stuff going on today. My first write up for that post was accidentally deleted and then I noticed the comments snafu… Something is trying to make me angry! LOL! 🙂

  19. 24/05/2011 1:15 am

    Yes, Elizabeth, that was strange! I tried to comment on the anger post and saw comments were closed! Perhaps that is some kind of sign. Maybe the next post should be superstitions… lol! (I’ve got a ton of those!)

    I think fear is all about the unknown. If we can understand it, whatever “it” is less frightening and one can look for peace in place of fear. 🙂

    • 24/05/2011 1:42 am

      Yes, maybe superstitions should be it… and then who knows what that will trigger! I have made the change, please do leave me a comment on that post. 🙂
      And yes, fear is triggered by our anxieties around the unfamiliar and things that make us feel not in control…
      Thank you!

  20. 25/05/2011 2:29 am

    Fear is a normal thing, but we must be leaded by truth in god.
    la peur est humaine, mais la confiance en Dieu est notre vérité.

  21. 26/05/2011 10:01 am

    In my experience, it’s when I have more that I fear more. I’ve observed this in other people, too. When they have nothing, there’s nothing to fear because there’s nothing to lose. But when life is good, there’s fear that the good will be taken away. That’s my fear. I fear my happiness being taken away from me. Gotta conquer it, I know.

    Btw, that Sally’s a clever girl! Heh.

  22. 30/12/2012 7:59 am

    It’s become clear that I need to read more Ralph Waldo Emerson 🙂 thank you for this post! and for directing me to it via your more recent post.


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