Our fears can range from an insecurity about money matters or growing old and weak, to a trauma caused by having been violated. Some feelings and experiences associated with fear are abandonment, darkness, betrayal and uncertainty. According to psychologytoday.com, “Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger – if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats.”
Fear, from a positive perspective, warns us to avoid harm. However, when it overwhelms and paralyzes us, it becomes unhealthy.
By itself, fear is not a sin. But it is what we do with it that can be right or wrong. When we surrender our fear to God and let Him take over, this is the right thing to do.
What then are antidotes to fear? Scripture reminds us, “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). It really helps to pray. Be completely honest with the Lord and open up all your fears to Him. One could journal to our God and listen to how He wants to address them. He speaks through the Sacraments and He embraces us as we rest in His arms in the adoration chapel. Believing in His Word and memorizing by heart some verses to overcome fear could also help us focus more on Him. We could turn these verses into a jingle that we could sing repeatedly or record and listen to on our cellular phones as a form of personal encouragement.
Graces that we could ask for in prayer would be faith, trust and courage. Praying the Rosary could also aid in combatting fear. The Blessed Mother is our intercessor and warrior who accompanies us in our struggles. There are also prayers for protection that one could utter to drive away the spirt of fear.
When the fear is deep-seated, one could seek support from a counselor who could help identify the root memory from which it emerged. Being assured of the accompaniment of someone who could hear us out and provide a wise, calming presence could help address the fear through a healing process.
Regularly visualizing the safety of God’s gentle, protective hug while breathing in His love and exhaling our anxieties could open us up more to a positive and proactive outlook. We ask for His fortitude to fix our hearts on Him rather than on the negative occurrences and factors in our lives. We pray for the strength to redirect our energy toward His vision and mission for us.