Paralyzed by Fear
We are all human beings and, like everyone else, I had to deal with denial, deflection, suppression, –and many forms of defense and coping mechanisms– to keep my world spinning. No one is exempt!
In a previous post I talked about my process of transformation via challenging my assumptions and beliefs and gaining a different understanding of my identity. One would think that at my age I would have dealt with any issues of life as I transitioned into adulthood or through my studies as a Christian or a psychotherapist. I often thought to myself, “You should know better!” Ladies and gentleman, this is a misnomer.
So anyone who thinks they are standing strong should be careful that they don’t fall. (2 Corinthians 10:12 ERV)
Over a decade ago I had a dream of being on top of a very tall building sitting inside a cage with thick bars with guards surrounding it. In this particular dream I stood up and walked outside of that cage and walked to the edge of the building. A guard approached me so I ran back to my cage and closed the door. In a conversation with the guard I was informed that the door to the cage was never locked from the outside and that I was free to leave whenever I chose. Guess what? The dream ended with me sitting in the cage questioning why I was in the cage in the first place. So, just as in the dream, what caused me -or anyone for that matter- to remain in a cage that I controlled rather than running free?
Two things come to mind to answer this question. One of which I will address in this post. The first is FEAR! In my previous post I brought up the concept of Love casting out fear. Well, what is fear and why must it be cast out? Why can’t it just be asked to leave or dissipate on its own?
To cast something out means to throw it with great force in a specific direction.
The fear that I had inside the cage, or my life in the natural, had such a grip that it literally paralyzed me from taking any action at all. This is where we get caught in our own emotional self-talk. I was asking the questions but my pain was answering them. Hence, I was stuck; Holding myself hostage! I feared going outside of the cage as the scenery was unknown, strange, and too risky. Yet, I hated being inside the cage because I saw everyone on the outside enjoying life and taking risks. I also thrived off of being able to control who I allowed into my life and took great liberty in escorting others out! Yet I could not see myself thriving if I allowed myself to leave and took great liberty not allowing others in! My cage brought both security and confinement. We call that ‘stuck’!
Fear is one of those things (we’ll just call it that-Lol!) that has to be dealt with forcefully and with great seriousness. It does not ‘just go away’ because too many things are there to reinforce it and increase its grip. It has to be cast out by force. By that I mean some consistent and intentional work must take place coupled with actions that are the complete antithesis of the feeling. It is not always easy to push past fear. I have found that quite often I had to close my eyes and press through it. It is a beast–literally!
Fear has paralyzed you in some way. How? What would you rather be doing at this moment? Why are you not doing it? What known fear needs to be cast out so that you can shift from where you are right now to where you should be? Again, movement begins with a change of perspective!
Fear is an idea-crippling, experience-crushing, success-stalling, inhibitor inflicted only by yourself. -Stephanie Melish