I kept seeing the same message. When a message is repeated to me in 4 amazing ways, I must take it seriously.
1. A devotional and illness
The first time I heard the message was in a devotional. A man told about his illnesses and his examinations on a hospital. His reaction to being sick was to be joyful, always praying and always giving thanks. He quoted 1 Thess 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. While I was reading this, I had a time when I was sad and complaining about my life, and I was not able to pray to God for days. I didn’t think further about this verse.
2. My husband and a broken wheelchair
A few days later my husband’s wheelchair was broken. Life became more complicated than usual. One night my husband and I went to bed, and he began to talk. It was as if he preached. He talked about all the good things in our life, all the things we should be grateful for. I listened and said yes. I turned around and closed my eyes while thinking: Yes, but…I’m sad, I’m bored, I wish a lot of things were different, and that the wheelchair was not broken.
Do you have fears? Congratulations, you’re a human being! It’s perfectly normal to fear. Everyone has fears, I know I have a couple (or thousands) of them. We cannot avoid fear, but let’s investigate what fear is, and what we can do about it.
Let’s take an example of exposure of fear:
I see a bear; I panic and run away.
What actually happens is a cluster of nuclei, the amygdala, in my brain reacts to my sight (references: Anette Prehn and calmclinic.com). The amygdala stores all my experiences and emotions. It especially remembers unpleasant feelings, it remembers dangers and reacts on all dangers and all what resemble to those dangers. Amygdala causes a strong physical reaction and my instinct is to fight or flee. This is very useful when we meet actual dangers as dangerous animals, nature disasters, and violence.
Hey, wait a second. Let’s watch the bear again. It turns out the bear is a beetle! My amygdala thought the beetle was a bear, and therefore I panicked. When the amygdala reacts on “false” dangers, it’s not constructive. Fearing false dangers can stop you from following dreams, hopes and calling. Fear can stop you from living your life. That’s a good reason to be serious about fear and decrease fear factors, and what triggers your amygdala? Emotions or environmental impulses: thoughts, words, smell, sounds etc. Events that remind you of an unpleasant experience from your childhood trigger your amygdala. Changes, new people, exams, threats of unemployment, high expectations, noise, suppressed feelings and unexpected events trigger your amygdala. Stress triggers your amygdala.
You can’t avoid fear, so what can you do about it?