How good is your sense of smell? Can you sniff out the rank scent of fear in your life?
The emotion of fear itself is neither good nor bad. It’s a natural self-defense mechanism to warn us when we are in danger. But today, fear frequently dictates our decisions, inhibiting us from doing God’s will.
When faced with a choice, rather than think through the reality of the situation and discern what the good is we ought to do, we stop at the first sign of fear. This would be fine if we were just animals, but we’re not. We have a physical body and an immortal soul made in the image and likeness of God—we’re made for heaven. Oftentimes we feel like our supernatural good threatens our natural good, making us uncomfortable. What happens next? We stop dead in our tracks.
Do you experience the worry, stress, and tension of feeling like you need to be in control of everything in your life as well as everyone else’s around you? That’s the result of fear.
Fear is one of the stealthiest tactics of the enemy, aka the Fear Mongerer. The devil doesn’t want anyone to do God’s will or to be in friendship with Christ. So what does he do? He causes fear, doubt, distractions and discouragement. Does that lineup sound familiar when it comes to your decision-making or prayer life?
When a soul is in the state of grace, (i.e., has no unconfessed mortal sins), God attracts that person to His will through peace, encouragement, consolation, removal of obstacles, granting moral certainty, etc. He does not guilt, discourage, cause fear, doubt, agitation, etc. These are signs of the enemy’s meddling.
Fear causes us so much suffering, especially when we agonize over the future. God is granting us the grace we need today to handle the present moment. Sure, it’s good to plan ahead and prepare for the future, but this should be done without worry and anxiety. We spend far too much energy worrying about what
happen— and most of the time we’re wrong.
God tells us over and over in Scripture, “Do not be afraid.” Both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI reiterated this message to the world at the start of their papacies. At the close of his inaugural homily Pope Benedict said, “Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? … No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide... Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything.”
Courageously surrender your fears to Christ and boldly move forward in doing the good.
Duppong, a native of Haymarsh, N.D., has served as director of faith formation for the Bismarck Diocese since July 2012. Click here to check out Michelle’s monthly faith formation talk series online.
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