By Pia Thompson
Pia: Today, I’m speaking with Fear. He is well known to most of us. Fear has been a constant companion to many, a casual acquaintance to others. Welcome to my blog today, Fear.
Fear: Thank you. It’s my pleasure to be here. Always good to see you, again, Pia.
Pia: Now, Fear, you and I are well, I wouldn’t say old friends, but we do have a history at the very least.
Fear: Yes, we do have a history. I’d like to think we still have a connection. Wouldn’t you?
Pia: Yes, well, for the sake of those who don’t know you as well, I’ll introduce you. Fear first made an appearance in my life after the death of my Father. I was three, my sister was five. Fear is a near relative of Insecurity. Some say the family resemblance often makes it difficult to tell them apart.
Fear: If I may interject, I think I’m stronger than my cousin. Insecurity is far too fretful.
Pia: Yes, I agree. But you both bullied me in my early years.
Fear: Such a strong word, bullying. We don’t do any more than you allow us to do. Please don’t play victim with me.
Pia: Anyway, my mother turned to alcohol to cope. I felt very alone. She was often depressed and would sit in the dark at home. I remember hearing on the news about a single mom who drove into the water, killing herself and her two daughters. I remember asking, “You wouldn’t do that, would you, Mom?” Somehow her reassurances didn’t help.
And because my father died young in a car accident, I feared the same could happen to my mother and we’d be left alone.
Fear: If I may, how am I to blame for any of this? Did I drive the car that killed your father?
Pia: No, but you and your cousin whispered to me on those many nights when I slept with the light on.
Fear: Don’t bring my cousin, Darkness into this. Let’s just stick to you and me.
Pia: Very well. I turned inward. I may have been more naturally shy being the younger sibling. But in my school years, I became painfully shy, beyond description. I was the queen of malingering, pretending to be sick to avoid the stress of school. Because of my home life, I spent many nights sleeping over with friends. I was drawn to “whole” families who loved each other, talked and joked. I knew that’s what I wanted if I ever had a family.
Fear: Excuse me while I dab at my tears. So touching.
Pia: No one would ever accuse you of being sensitive, Fear. But I do have to thank you.
Fear: Thank? Me? Whatever for?
Pia: You are a motivator of sorts. You helped me want to escape, find a better life; happiness.
Fear: Did I succeed?
Pia: Yes, but I wouldn’t go so far in giving you all the credit. When I first heard the gospel, it was fear of judgment that motivated me to come to Christ, although it was love that kept me. I knew when I heard the bad news, that it was true. I was a sinner and I deserved to suffer the wrath of God. When I heard the Good News, that God had provided a way of escape through Jesus Christ, I ran into the arms of a Father who would never leave me alone. This was the beginning of my life as a Christian. But you didn’t leave me, Fear.
Fear: Well, not to boast, but I am faithful.
Pia: I knew my fears were inconsistent with a life of faith, that they showed a lack of trust in God, but a lifetime with you wasn’t easy to shake.
Fear: Oh, I recall being kicked to the curb more than once.
Pia: Yes, it was those Bible verses. They helped me see you for what you really were.
“ Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.”
Then said I:
“ Ah, Lord GOD!
Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”
But the LORD said to me:
“ Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of their faces,
For I am with you to deliver you,” says the LORD.
“ Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.“
“ For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7
Pia: Why are you covering your ears, Fear?
Fear: I thought this was an interview, not Pick-on-Fear Day.
Pia: So what have you been doing with yourself, lately? Besides hiding in closets and under beds?
Fear: Ouch. Although there is merit in those things you mentioned. Some people never shake well established childhood fears. Get ‘em early, I always say. But to answer your question, I’ve left you alone for quite a while now, haven’t I?
Pia: Yes. Some of my fears and insecurites fell away as I became an adult, others left as I matured as a Christian. Once I learned how easily I could make you flee, by prayer and the Scriptures, I became more confident.
Fear: See, you found yourself a Christian man, built yourself that dream Christian family you always wanted, with love and laughter and joy. Oh, excuse me a moment while I bring up my lunch.
Pia: You’re right and wrong. My mother stopped drinking when I was seventeen. The lights turned on, quite literally. I began to know her and we now have a great relationship. God blessed me with a husband and a family. He showed mercy to me by also saving my children. Yes, I have a happy family life, like I had always dreamed. But it’s not all sweetness and light. We live in a fallen world. My husband developed bone cancer in his leg thirteen years ago.
Fear: He’s alive, isn’t he? What does that have to do with me?
Pia: Yes, he’s alive, thank God. God spared him, and all of us. During that time though, I had no assurances he would survive. I’m an oncology nurse. I know that not everyone has a happy ending. I was afraid he would die. Our girls were 6 and 8 at the time. I feared they would grow up without a Dad, like I did.
Fear: But they didn’t. I’ve kept away since then,let you go on with your storybook life, in a beautiful house in the suburbs, with your mother living with you, and a dog, no less!
Pia: Yes, life is good. I thank God for His blessings. I know I don’t deserve them. Now, though, I see your subtlety. You’re not attacking in the old way. Now you dress up in opportunities.
Fear: Please explain how I manage to scare you by opportunities.
Pia: Fear of failure is a great motivator. It makes me work hard. But fear of success is different. I know that in order to succeed, I need to take risks, step out of my comfortable world, and risk rejection. Sometimes it’s safer to stay in mediocrity; not promoting myself, not finishing writing my books, because then I’d have to push the baby from the nest. What if it doesn’t fly? Suddenly I’m an insecure child again, afraid of the world out there. All alone. That’s why I just blog for myself and keep my partially finished manuscripts on a shelf. It makes me feel I’m working towards something without ever getting there.
Fear: So, let me get this straight. I am responsible for the bad things in your life, and the good things? I keep you in your mediocre existence so you won’t take chances because of your fear of failure AND your fear of success? I didn’t know I was that good. I need to update my resume. I impress myself!
Pia: No, Fear. You’re still loathsome, no matter what form you take. But I’m wise to you. I see how you operate and I don’t have to allow you to freeze me in time. I learned long ago that you are not invincible.
Fear: Well, so happy for your insights. Glad we had this little chat, but I must be going, scaring little children and all that, you know.
Pia: I can’t say I’m sad to see you go, but I am glad we had this talk. You’re not so intimidating in person. I thought you’d be taller. And I totally wasn’t expecting the British accent.
Fear: (rising to leave) Goodbye, Pia. I’m sure I’ll see you again sometime. Think of me when you can’t finish writing something. I may be around the corner, holding hands with Success.