Friday, July 25, 2008


originally posted at Mormon Matters.

I am acquainted with physical fear.

A friend and I, two women of a certain age, accompanied our children to an amusement park on a weekday.  The children were allowed complete freedom, with an admonition to return to the meeting place at 5 pm.  My friend and I found myself with several hours to fill, and we decided to be daring.  Instead of finding a shady spot and chatting, eating several hundred dollars worth of funnel cakes, we thought we would recall our youth by riding the most scary rides in the park.  I had not been on one of these rides in many years and had forgotten the sensations associated with climbing 100 feet into the air with a crowd at my back.  When I reached the top of the rollercoaster, my forehead was slick with sweat.  I took my seat and the cars on the wooden tracks began to creak.  I felt distinctly unsafe.  The coaster crept to the edge of a precipice, and as it rolled off into thin air, a July Fourth sparkler exploded in my chest.  This was physical fear.

Emotional fear, though not as tangible, nevertheless can be paralyzing.  I have experienced this fear in my relationships with my parents.   I find it difficult to discuss the "family secrets"--the ones everyone in the family knows, but no one ever talks about.

A fear which is certainly different than either of these two is spiritual fear.  Have you experienced it?  What does this scripture tell you about spiritual fear?

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)
At times I experience spiritual fear in the form of a hesitation to pray.  I fear that there might not really be a Higher Power, and that I am only talking to myself.  Other times I fear that I am unworthy of approaching such a sublime being.  Or I don't know if God is micromanaging this earthly existence enough to care if I find my lost car keys or have enough money to pay my tithing this month.  At my most spiritual, I find my tongue bound because I am waiting for the Holy Ghost to dictate my prayers to me in the true order of prayer.

Why do you think power, love, and a sound mind are put in contrast to fear in the above biblical verse? What spiritual fears do you confront, and how do you plan to combat them?

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