You don’t have to fear fear
By Ginny Luedeman
Some friends and I watched a television comedy about a
family that was afraid of everything unfamiliar to them. The title of
the skit was “the Fearful Family.: When the doorbell rang or a
newscast announced an unusual happening, the entire family would
yell, hang on to each other, and their hair would stand on end. It
made fear seem ridiculous and it was very funny.
To many people fear isn’t a laughing matter, however. It’s a solid presence that can freeze the natural abilities to be productive and enjoy life.
Some years ago, I began to experience intense and sudden fear for no apparent reason. The fear often came with out warning. Sometimes I had to fight even to stay conscious. Usually the people around me were unaware of what I was going through. I felt so embarrassed by this unexplainable fear that I would often avoid situations involving other people. It seemed impossible to tell someone-in the middle of a normal encounter-that I needed to leave and pray. Many mornings I would rather have stayed in bed than get up and face the day. But I didn’t give in to this feeling. Each morning I immediately made the bed, so I wouldn’t be tempted to get back into it.
This challenging fear continued for a number of years. With each new battle, the thoughts I needed in order to get through the experience always rescued me. I studied passages about fear, love, mind, and so on in the Bible and in Mary Baker Eddy’s writings.
This passage in the Bible was really helpful: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.”(1) I reasoned that the “perfect Love” that would cast out fear was God. Because infinite, spiritual Love is perfect, its very nature and presence destroy evil. There’s nothing perfect about evil-and so the perfect love of Spirit casts it out. I prayed earnestly to recognize and give up anything that would prevent me form understanding and knowing this perfect love.
Though the fear persisted and came quite often, life didn’t sit still and allow me to run away and pray on some mountaintop. My husband, for instance, served as an Army chaplain, and I was involved with him in this work. At the same time, I began to work as a spiritual healer, and my practice was beginning to grow. We adopted and fostered children. I sang publicly.
Step by step I realized that I could continue living, in spite of the fear. I knew God, or Spirit, would show me that the fear was powerless. Whenever I thought I couldn’t go on, this statement in Science and Health gave me needed courage: “Fear never stopped being and its action.”(2) I was learning that I was the expression of Spirit’s being, so I couldn’t be stopped from any kind of normal action.
A turning point came. Once, in the middle of the night, I woke up just filled with fear. I didn’t want to disturb the family, so I stood in the middle of the dark bedroom praying with all of my heart to be lifted above this awful feeling of fear. We were living in Texas at the time, and the night skies were particularly beautiful. As I prayed, the thought came to me to go to the window, open the shade, and look up at the stars. As I did so, I was dismayed to see that there wasn’t a single star in sight. The sky was completely overcast.
At first, I felt that God had forsaken me. But I continued to listen for His guidance, in spite of the panic I was feeling. At last this gentle question came to me: “Are the stars there?” I answered, “Yes.” Then I heard a tender but firm explanation: “The stars are in perfect order, just like your thoughts. All of the clouds on earth can’t touch the order of the stars, any more than all your fears and anxieties can touch the thoughts that I have given you. They are in perfect order now.” A great peace flowed into my consciousness. All of the fear vanished. I went back to sleep, enveloped in the arms of Love.
I had mistakenly believed that I could choose to have good or evil thoughts. I hadn’t understood that as the child of God’s creating, my thoughts are as much created by the one Creator as is the rest of my being. Because the thoughts God imparts to His creation are wholly good and spiritual, pure and unchangeable, these thoughts can never become less than Godlike, less than their divine source.
As my new understanding grew, I realized that while we may perceive past thoughts and anticipate future ones, God and His creation live forever in the now. This is where you and I truly exist, because we are spiritual beings who live in eternity, not in time. This fact frees us from feeling that we began with a material process, rather than with God. Such processes may include DNA inherited at conception or any kind of negative family history. Suffering caused by environmental damage, drugs, accidents, unnatural tendencies, and so on, can be wiped out with the pure understanding that all real thought is a natural impartation from the universal Father-Mother we call God. Then we begin to see life as it really is, as God has created it.
Mary Baker Eddy knew what it was to have a life made new, and in her autobiography, Retrospection and Introspection, she wrote, “The human history needs to be revised, and the material record expunged.”(3) This is only possible because material history is not a history of reality but of our beliefs about reality. In this reality, good and evil are both possible; but what God knows is the only reality, and God is only good. Even a little understanding of this fact begins to free us from the burdens and fears associated with the past, the present, and the future. The thoughts that God has given us are ours now, always have been ours, and always will be ours.
We don’t have to wait until all of our fears are conquered before we claim our freedom. The Bible says that God prepares a table for us “in the presence of (our) enemies.”(4) We are safe in our discovery of God as our fearless Mind. We are in the care of God. We are coming home to His love.
After that night in Texas, I still had some moments of fear but the intensity lessened and eventually the sudden fear disappeared entirely. Now I love a starlit night even when there are clouds, because I know that the stars are still there and in perfect order-just like the thoughts I get from God.
1 l John 4:18.
2 Science and Health,
3 Ret., p. 22.
4 PS. 23:5.
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