Wednesday Words–Fear

Now words, and more words.

I have been thinking about fear lately. I’m not particularly fearful, but I am close to people who have some issues. A friend in California who rarely travels took a business trip to Toronto about two months ago. Before she left on her trip, she developed a fear of flying that left her sobbing at the home of another friend. Fortunately, that friend is very down to earth and firmly grounded in the gospel. She comforted and encouraged my fearful friend, who was able to fly without unusual discomfort not only on that trip, but on a subsequent weekend trip to a nephew’s wedding. She had a great time on both occasions, now says she loves traveling, and is planning to come to Boston this weekend.

Not all fears are so easily dispelled. Many times they lead people to act in strange ways. One of our favorite tv shows which stopped airing a few years ago was Monk, featuring an obsessive-compulsive detective. He was so afraid of germs that he avoided shaking hands and had his assistant carry hand wipes which he used whenever he couldn’t avoid shaking hands or when he touched any unsanitized surfaces. It was easy to laugh at him because of his extreme behavior. However, there are real people with the same or similar fears whose lifestyles are cramped because of their reactions to those fears. A fear of loss of control can lead a person to being excessively controlling, which doesn’t go over well with family members or those forced to work with him or her. Another annoying behavior occurs when a person assumes that the worst is going to happen in any situation and verbally obsesses about it. Fear is contagious, depressing, and a tool of Satan.

There are many ways to combat fears. Counseling, hypnosis, and medication are some methods which may help. Faith in God and his protection can eliminate fear; ideally it prevents fear from surfacing at all. All of these methods require sustained effort. Just as we need frequent physical nourishment to stay healthy and alive, we need spiritual nourishment to stay healthy spiritually and combat Satan’s tools, including fear and discouragement.

Although I could remember the gist of many scriptures about fear, I couldn’t remember where to find them and couldn’t quote them verbatim. I looked at the Topical Guide and found many references. Following are eight appropriate scriptures, one for every day of the week plus a bonus.

Isaiah 41:10.  Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Psalm 27:1.  The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 46:1-3.  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled; though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.

Matthew 8:26. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

2 Timothy 1:7.  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

1 John 4:16, 18.  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Doctrine and Covenants 38:30. …If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.

Doctrine and Covenants 68:6.  Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.

I realize that some fear is good. It enables us to recognize and avoid danger, and it can prod us to take steps to protect ourselves from future harm, discomfort, and sometimes even death. In my lifetime, I have experienced several hurricanes, earthquakes, and the threat of fire. Fortunately, none of these experiences harmed me or my family members. However, if these types of events prod us to collect everything we need for 72-hour kits and longer-term food storage, they have produced a positive result.

I hope that we will all make progress in channeling our existing fears into positive actions instead of allowing them to drag us down into negative reactions. 🙂

–Donna Mitchell

 

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