A World of Fear
Welch surveys our experience with fear from childhood to adulthood. His conclusion is that fear is naturalÃ¢â‚¬â€we have donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to learn it. Furthermore, fears donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go away. With greater freedom and responsibility, fears multiply throughout life.
Welch offers a nice chuckle on the psychiatry of fear: Ã¢â‚¬Å“There was a time when adults were neatly categorized into one of two groups: you were either neurotic or psychotic. Psychotic meant that you were out of touch with reality and afraid; neurotic meant that you were in touch with reality and afraidÃ¢â‚¬Â (p.22). He goes on to point out that even with the ever-expanding list of psychiatric disorders, fears continue to make up the largest category.
Treatments for fear such as medication, psychology, and systematic desensitization donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem to get at the root of our fears and worries. Welch suggests that we look outward to the source of our fears and inward to the way we interpret our situations.
My own journey
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got my share of fear stories: Ã¢â‚¬Å“whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s under the bedÃ¢â‚¬Â fears from childhood, overactive imagination when working on a ladder, dreams of being unprepared to preach.
At forty-five years of age I suppose I work around or work through most of those things. I guess what IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m more interested in, or am more aware of lately is how little anxieties, hardly conscious at all, might be affecting my choices. Am I hesitant to make a phone call? Am I putting off an unpleasant task? Am I putting my head in the sand when it comes to something IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d rather not face?
I wonder if these fears are little fissures in my faith?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s your fear factor on a scale of one to ten (one being the least)?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ What would it be like to live completely without anxiety? Is it possible?