Spiritual Sisters

Spiritual Healing Serene Salad

Spiritual Voices Creativity Bakery

Spiritual Inspiration TeaRoom

Inner Sanctuary Growth Brew

Spirituality In The WorkPlace

Spiritual Parenting PlayRoom

Angels Miracles & Noble Deeds

Spirituality Message Boards

Ways we Handle our Fears - Pt.3

    'I have come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly', said Jesus. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (John 10:10, 2 Timothy 1:7).

    Fear, as we have said, is a basic human emotion. It is given to us for good reason. The way we handle fear is critical to our emotional and spiritual growth, and can affect our whole lives.

    Those of us who suffer from an overload of fear, often find that we are not actually living life in its broadest dimension. If we are complete workaholics, and then lose our job, our whole world feels as if it has fallen apart. So we are likely to be extremely fearful of being unemployed. Many people are anxious about retiring from work for this very reason.They have nothing else in their life to fulfil them.

    Others of us may be completely absorbed in parenting our children. Then when they grow up and leave our home, we find we are totally lost. It is known as 'the empty nest syndrome' because it occurs so frequently. Many marriages fail at this point, because all the effort has been placed in caring for the family, and not enough effort has been placed in also attending to the maintenance of a healthy couple-relationship.

    In Susan Jeffers book, "Feel the Fear and Beyond : Dynamic Techniques for Doing it Anyway", she encourages us to do exactly the same thing Jesus two thousand years earlier encouraged. That is to live a FULLY rounded and balanced life. Jeffers lists nine areas of life which all need to be integrated within us to enable us to be happier, more fulfilled people. If we have these nine areas working in our lives, we will be handle fear much more easily. Jeffers names them as - PERSONAL GROWTH, AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP, A CAREER, CONTRIBUTION TO LIFE, SPIRITUAL GROWTH, FRIENDS, FAMILY, PLAY/RELAXATION TIME and TIME ALONE. Jesus exemplifies the perfect example of One whose life encompassed all nine of these areas.

    He certainly showed PERSONAL GROWTH. Read of His development over the three years of His ministry, from miracle worker to teacher, to facing death and actually allowing Himself to be crucified. Admired miracle worker to Crucified One - what personal development to follow!

    Jesus had AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP with His Father. "I and my Father are one," He said.

    He had a CAREER the world has never forgotten!

    His CONTRIBUTION TO LIFE was to save the world. Wow!!

    Jesus showed incredible SPIRITUAL GROWTH too, from a young boy teaching in the Temple to a Man prepared to give up everything in order to do the will of His Father at Calvary.

    The FRIENDS of Jesus came from a wide range of life experience, fishermen and a tax collector, 'be'-ers to 'do'-ers, impulsive Peter and reflective John and even the betrayer Judas. He gathered friends from all sectors of life and all personality types.

    He also had a FAMILY. What a family! Father, Son and Holy Spirit were His Heavenly family, and then Mary, Joseph and possibly siblings as His human family. And he cared for His widowed mother right up until His dying moments, even arranging for her care after he died.

    Jesus had PLAY AND RELAXATION TIMES. He met the first disciples whilst strolling along the lake edge, so he must have enjoyed spending time in nature, water lapping near his feet. He went fishing. He spent time with children - an activity he encouraged the disciples to do too. He was a keen and fit walker. He enjoyed picnics - one with 5000 people. What fun! He had a great time at a wedding. In a word, he truly knew how to celebrate life whilst pursuing playful and relaxing activities.

    TIME ALONE was always a very high priority. Jesus would often escape to the mountains and then spend whole days and nights refreshing himself. When the crowds became oppressive he knew when it was time to withdraw himself and be alone.Often he would 'get away from it all' and cross to the other side of the lake in a boat. He had obviously learnt the art of being alone without experiencing loneliness.

    Jesus certainly lived a full, balanced and wholesome life. When reflecting upon Jesus, then looking at what Jeffers says on handling fear, we gain wonderful insight. If we have fulfillment in all nine areas of life, and one collapses (let's say we lost all of our friends) then we have the other eight components to our life which will help us to have the courage to bear the loss. Therefore we won't need to fear losing friends nearly as much as a person who has ONLY friends in their life and nothing else. Get the picture? If you are a fearful person, make sure you are living a well-rounded, full life which will help balance out those "bumps" when they occur. Analyse your fear when it hits you, act assertively in naming what it is and why (not resorting to aggression or depressive passivity). It is also about standing tall, taking responsibility for your life, not living as a victim, facing the fear and doing it anyway.

    Jesus had to face his fear of the cruel death impending for him on Calvary. He admitted his fear to his Father. He 'plunged into an agonizing sorrow' (Matt. 26:37 - The Message) and was ' deeply distressed' (NKJV). Jesus expressed his fearful emotions in an appropriate manner. After hours of wrestling with God he agreed to do the will of his Father. So Jesus faced his own fear and did it anyway!!! And always remember that ALL of life's experiences bring within them opportunities for learning and growing "mature into all things", like Jesus. He is our perfect example.

    Jesus came to bring us Life - life to the full. He wants us to explore every dimension in life. I love the quote from Walter Rinder - 'Don't exclude yourself from precious moments, warm encounters, beautiful attitudes, majestic discoveries, flowing intimacies, sensory development; for these are the jewels placed in your crown of life.' In other words - let's explore, develop and utilise every possible fulfilling (but right and healthy) avenue available to us. This enables us to live life in all its beauty, so that fears are much more easily placed into an accurate perspective. I'm working on it! How about you?

    © 2004 Christine M. Jones

    Droplets from Life

    Christine Jones is married to David. She has two adult children and precious grandchildren. She has worked for many years as a school teacher/librarian, and written children's material for several years in her 'spare time'. She loves nature, music and the theatre.

    John Mark Ministries