Shoot man, technology is confusing!

Hey all, this was supposed to be posted here yesterday, but instead, I posted to my other blog. And I am without computer, so, "Oops, sorry, redirect...."


- Posted by mobile; forgive my grammatical shortcomings. -

I have imported all posts from the Seeking the Hollows blog over here. I will keep that one up for posts related just to that project, and for the meantime, will cross-post to both if it seems appropriate.


"Fear" or "Reference for future plotting against Jenn"

While doing research for the much anticipated (at least by me) redesign of my site, jromaniszak.com, I can across the most complete listing of fears I have ever seen. As I scrolled through, I started to assess whether or not I had a particular fear, and if so, to what degree. What's that syndrome first year med and psych students get where they think they are afflicted with everything they read about? Yeah, it was a slight case of that. I realized there are quite a few things that make me shake in my boots, and a few others that I would pointedly work to develop a fear of, just so I could use the word that it is called. Here is my in-exhaustive list.

Bolshephobia- Fear of Bolsheviks.
Cancerophobia or Carcinophobia- Fear of cancer.
Chrometophobia or Chrematophobia- Fear of money.
Dutchphobia- Fear of the Dutch.
Eremophobia- Fear of being oneself or of lonliness.
Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia- Fear of the number 666.
Kainolophobia or Kainophobia- Fear of anything new, novelty.
Leukophobia- Fear of the color white.
Lockiophobia- Fear of childbirth.
Mechanophobia- Fear of machines.
Pteronophobia- Fear of being tickled by feathers.
Scriptophobia- Fear of writing in public.
Teratophobia- Fear of bearing a deformed child.
Xerophobia- Fear of dryness.

The ill-advised exercise got me thinking about fear, and that old phrase "The only thing to fear, is fear itself."


I'm afraid of a lot of things. Not nessicarily bugs or zombies, but plenty of things scare the beegeeses out of me (Hey, my grandfather had to flee the Bolsheviks!). And then there's the guilt about the fear, because Christ's most often repeated command is the "do no fear" type. And don't forget then the inevitable fear that the guilt will never go away, and the fear that Jesus will be mad at me that I feared at all in the first place..

For me, fear could be synonymous with worry. I worry about money; I worry about being alone on a Friday night. Sometimes I even catch myself worrying that I will worry about something later. There are so many things that could go wrong in the world, that to worry about them all, to fear every little thing, could become all-encompassing, soul swallowing, and change who you are at the core of your being. It's more than a full time job, AND FEAR IS EXHAUSTING! But even with this logical assessment, I still fear. Even though Christ commands me not too, I still worry. I think He knows this, and that's why Christ takes every chance in the Gospel's to remind us not to fear. We are more than sparrows and lilies and see how they are cared for?

Why are we given such a difficult and abstract command? Sometimes it's even involuntary! Creepy dude runs at me with a butcher knife; shoot, there I go sinning again when I cringe and run away. I think that this command is like a hand full of other key imperatives given by Christ that serve a particular purpose. The rules we struggle with the most are usually the gateway for understanding mercy, and especially grace. Christ also says to give everything away (Rich Young Ruler). He says, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:38) There is no way for me to make myself perfect just like God, and that's the point.

Lemme break it down fo' ya.

Me: (worry, worry, worry)
Me: (worry, worry) "...oh shit."
God: "See, that's why you need me."
Me: "Oops... sorry ...again."

The opposite of fear and worry is not bravery. It is trust. We MUST trust that when we are told we are made perfect in Christ, he wasn't lying. There's no way for us to double check.

That's not to say, that you just throw a switch and, WHAM!, now I trust. Even when Paul writes to the Colossians about being perfect, he clearly states there is a process involved. "We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." The labor allows us to be prefect, but the only way into and through the labor is with "all His energy". It is our labor, our work, our change, but it is His means.

Let me break this into clauses; it makes it easier for me to understand if I say it part by part.

When we overcome our fears,
by being transformed
to trust in the Lord,
we are freed
from the self-centeredness
of a life steered by worry.

When will I eat? What will I wear? We are clearly promised these things if we will only believe in them. (Matthew 6:25-34).

OKAY, now here's the important part:
Being freed from fear opens our lives up to obeying the second most repeated commandment: "Lord God and others." And though it's only second in frequency, Christ does identify this as THE MOST important commandment. " 'Love the Lord your God..., and Love your neighbor as yourself...There is no commandment greater than these.' "

I have a pattern. When I worry, I start worrying more. A metaphor: With each little thorn in my paw, I start looking closer and seeing more and more little thorns that I hadn't seen before. Then I pull out the magnifying glass and when I am just about ready to start bawling, thinking my had is made more of slivers and thorns than muscle, some one will tap me on the shoulder and say, "Sorry, I can see you're busy, but I need some help. As you can see, I just got hit by a falling tree and am bleeding from my eye sockets. Do you have time to point me in the direction of the hospital?"

Fear makes me self-centered, and reinforces selfishness. Trusting requires me to be Christ-centered, and practice selflessness.

So, maybe "The only thing to fear, is fear itself" is not very helpful, but another commonality about fear might be. I forget who says it, but the idea that once you name your fears they are easier to deal with, that gives me comfort. As I learn more and more to recognize the signs that I am acting out of fear for myself and not love for God and others, it gets a little easier.

Bit by bit,
over time,
just like all disciplines.