What are you afraid of?

This is a great topic, and I’m glad that Livejournal suggested it, because I was going to write an entry anyway!

Right now my biggest source of fear and anxiety stems from waiting for the results of my lab tests. I had my blood drawn for a general physical exam (I hadn’t had one done in three years), and my thyroid test a couple of days ago. I am hoping the thyroid test comes out in such a way that the doctor will let me reduce my medication. And I also am praying that the general physical is all right.

But why would I be afraid of all this? When I was younger, I did not fear these kinds of things much at all. One reason is because I got to be around my dad, whose faith enabled to tell me every time he had a health challenge, “I am not afraid”. Plus, I had such an optimism when I was younger (i.e., in my teens), that my life would get better and better. Also, there is something about reading the Bible daily and just soaking myself in it that gave me an unshakable peace and calm. I was generally a very calm person and not anxious much at all.

But certain things happened in my 20s that shook me to the core. First, I found out how cold and limited people can be in compassion towards those in need, even if they are self-proclaimed Christians. My experience helping two disabled friends unfortunately was not a pleasant one because not many people offered to help them at all. Also, I would often hear one thing being preached but another being carried out in church. In my naivete this puzzled me greatly, especially because the church I attended was very strict and insisted that it followed the teachings of the Bible. I should have known better. I ended up becoming very disillusioned and even had panic attacks and great anxiety over my emotional conflicts about the church and what they were doing. I even started to fear airplane flights because I started to doubt that I was saved. I wondered if I was crazy for trying to help those in need, when it seemed so clear to me that the Bible said to do so. And yet, I found out the hard way that few put Jesus’ words into action.

Another thing I fear is that nobody would attend an event if it concerned me–e.g., my birthday party. In the same church that I used to attend, there was an emphasis on people looked “sharp” and beautiful, etc. Those that were not sharp were often passed over for church or Bible study leadership. Popular people in the church got nice birthday and going away parties, and great attendance at their life events, such as bridal showers, baby showers, etc. After awhile, I became afraid that no one would attend my events. For example, I was afraid that no one would come to my wedding. Thank God we had a sizable attendance, but very few people made it to my bridal shower, which was disappointing. I later found out that the bride before me had a friend that personally called everyone on their list to make sure that they were coming. My maid of honor and I did not know that we were supposed to do that–we had just relied on the church bulletin announcement. In case you are wondering why this is such a big deal, let me just say that the church strongly emphasize that we were all one family, and people were often expected to attend each others’ events, such as birthday parties, weddings, etc. I went to many weddings, bridal showers, going away parties, etc., but the favor was not always returned. In fact, no one gave us a going away party when we were moving away. Anyway, I still have the fear, even though it has lessened.

Becoming a parent certainly has increased the opportunity for more fears. Fears and worries about my child, about taking care of a family, even health worries seem so much more now. My mother used to incessantly worry about everything when I was a child, and I would often marvel at her seeming lack of faith, but I understand it better now. However, I do not want to be like her in that I want to fight my fears with faith and the Word of God, and not be anxious or share those anxieties with my children.

So those are my main fears. They might be a bit unusual, and I hate to say that I developed a majority of them when I attended my old church. Church should be a place where fears are assuaged, instead of magnified. I’ve been working on eradicating fear lately, and the most effective remedy I have found for my anxiety is to repeat scripture. It works!