Your Fear

Running Scared Chapter Two Your Fear I have a new philosophy. I only dread one day at a time. – Charlie Brown “Rather than minimize your fears, find more of them. Expose them to the light of day because the more you find the more blessed you will be when you hear words of peace and comfort” (p.28). In this chapter, Welch encourages us to inventory our fears. Acknowledging that not everyone is struggling with hourly panic attacks, he encourages us to look for clues to what lies beneath the surface. The author suggests these rocks to look under: • Background fear and anxiety (related to anything you love or want deeply—for example: fear for your safety or safety of loved ones, fears about living a meaningful life, fear of being unloved and alone) • Phobias (heights, paper cuts, the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth – arachibutryophobia) • Dreams (specifically those that betray fear and anxiety) • Physical clues (what physical symptoms indicate tension?) • Stress (“when we are aware that anxiety has registered at a physical level”) • Busy and driven (maybe the driven person is running from something) • Depression (a passive way of responding to fear) • Anger • Overprotection • Superstitions (When my wife and I visit a particular relative, we can’t leave without salt flying, a cryptic comment about cats and ladders, and an incantation or two. And never, ever say ‘pig.’ The neutralizing ritual for such a cosmic faux pas would extend your visit an extra day” (p.35). My own journey I’ll spare you a complete inventory. It’s best both for my own sense of dignity and for your endurance. Two signs of anxiety come most readily to mind. Worry filled days are often filled with stressful dreams. The theme of these dreams is almost invariably being responsible for a test or for a speaking engagement–and not being prepared. On the physical side, stress registers quickly in my nervous stomach. I’d say both of these symptoms say something about my desire to be respected and appreciated, or conversely, a fear of failure. Discussion • Are you a person who readily identifies your fears, or one who feels a certain sense of mastery over fears? • Which of the clue categories listed by the author leads to your most productive fear search? • Have you ever shared your fears with anyone? Who would you be most likely to share them with? • Do you think that a fear inventory is a path to blessing as the author suggests?

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