By the time you read this, my birthday has passed. I enjoyed celebrating it and believe everyone should celebrate their own. We must celebrate each year we’re given, right?
While each year is another, blessing, gift, treat, treasure, whatever you want to call it, with age comes more responsibility. More fear of the unknown. The choices we make as adults can have heavy consequences. My thirties has made me more aware of just how precious life is and how it can change in the flick of the wrist, the flip of a switch, or snap of the fingers.
This past Sunday at Faith Presbyterian, Pastor Tim spoke about the concept of fear. He mentioned the phrase “do not be afraid” is in the Bible 365 times. Our creator knows our hearts. He knows we need reminders to snap out of the tunnel vision sometimes.
Fear is inevitable. We all have it. We all need it. Our ancestors used it to survive. While we may not need fear to survive as much, it’s still there. I’m afraid if I eat too many sweets, I could gain health problems. Therefore, I might try a better diet. I’m afraid if I ride a motorcycle without a helmet, I could get hurt. Therefore, I’ll buy a helmet and wear it every time I ride.
I recently read an article on psychologytoday.com, titled “Why We Need A Little Fear.” The writer, Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. writes about an interesting case study where a woman continued to have life threatening seizures, which led the doctors to complete a temporal lobectomy. She continued to have seizures, but because they’d removed her left amygdala, she lost control of her inhibitions when it came to food and sex. Despite lessening the threat of her seizures, her behavior during those times made it to where she couldn’t properly function in society.
McGonigal concludes that “we need our instincts to let us know when something is just wrong — an immediate emotional evaluation that is even more powerful than complex reasoning and logic.”
Fear has its purpose. It helps us not only survive, but function. Though it can turn into a glass box, trapping us, even making us afraid to escape for fear the glass could cut, gratefulness for the divine inspiration and protection is key.
My fears usually deal with health and safety. And while I sometimes want to rid myself of these fears, I realize they serve a purpose. Though my brain is a little sensitive, it’s trying to take care of me, send me heavenly reminders to take care of myself.
A lot of the time my fears are simply dramatic, but that’s why I turn to those daily reminders. Those “do not be afraid” verses, whether straight out of scripture or part of something else. God can speak to us in different ways. I’m always trying to listen.
Justa Lanie Garrett is a lifelong resident of Baytown.