Today, we are in Talk 2 of the series, Feels, Why our Emotions Matter.

The topic for today is Fear.

How many of you know it is like to feel fear? What is your greatest fear?

May I share with you what my two greatest fears are?

My first greatest fear are cockroaches. The greatest nightmare for anyone who is afraid of cockroaches is not when you see them, it’s when they disappear in front of you. I don’t know about you but I am the type who will turn my house upside down just looking for that one cockroach. I don’t care if I lose sleep or late for work the next day. I’m going to look for that one cockroach to send it to cockroach heaven. Especially, I’m going to do it quickly– before it realizes it has ability to fly.

Which, by the way, that’s my second greatest nightmare: cockroaches that fly. Don’t you just hate it when cockroaches think they can fly? For some reason, when they fly, they always seem to fly to you. You’re their landing strip– like they’re magnetized by you.

We have different fears. Fears come in different faces. What might scare you might not scare me and vice-versa.

But here’s the truth: Our fear is always real. It happens first in our mind. That’s where it begins. But when you let fear marinate in your mind, I’m telling you, you’ll go from bad, to worse, to worst.

From Chaos to Creation

I remember my friend, BG. One time, he started developing cough. It was so persistent that in the evening, he was still coughing.

He started to consult Dr Google — everybody’s doctor. Before the night ended, that cough had already turned into cancer– in his mind. Why? Because he was truly afraid. It was a mild sickness, but it grew in his mind.

Does fear come from God? No. The Bible says in the beginning of Creation, there was nothing except for chaotic waters, which was darkness, was a representation of fear.

So, God replaced chaos with Creation. You can say that God did not create fear. Timothy says: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear. Instead he has given us power, and of love, and self-discipline.” — 2 Timothy 1:7

Romans itself says that God can still use your fear– and He can use every emotion that you have for the good. That’s how good God is.

Let us read the Word of God. Everybody, let’s sing:

Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path.

No Fear

We open our Bible and talk about fear. I think that this is the best place we can park our hearts for a moment. The Word comes from 1 John 4:16 NLT:

Put your hands over your chest, and say this with me:

Lord, speak to me. I’m listening.

You know what I’m going through. Right now, I need Your wisdom.

Be here with me, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Let’s thank the Lord, and sing once more in His honor:

Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path.

Last Sunday, the first Talk was about shame.

We learned that there are no bad emotions– just bad ways of dealing with them. The reason they’re not bad is they have a special gift.

What is the special gift of fear? It’s a signal that there is a danger.

The main objective of fear is to keep you alive.

When you feel intense fear, it will drive you to be in three kinds of survival mode:

Fight, Flight, and Freeze.

For example, if I see a cockroach crawling on our floor at home, my mind and my body will automatically go into “fight” mode. I would grab my slippers and hit the cockroach until it goes down.

Another example: If you see a group of armed men in a hoody and a mask climbing over your backyard in the middle of the night, you’re not going to invite them for coffee… No. Either you fight — if you’re an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) expert… or you take flight — you run away.

One last example: “If you see an 8-foot snake slithering towards you, you’re not going to say, “Oh, you’re so cute. May I take a selfie with you?”

Instead, either you take flight… or you freeze and pray every Novena that you’ve ever learned since you were a child.

Fear Is Good

Fear is good. But there’s also a bad side to fear.

Sometimes, when you feel intense fear, you are reduced to an animal.

Aside from the physical attributes, what is the biggest difference between us and animals?

It’s our rationality– our ability to process logically. But sometimes, when you feel fear, you lose your rational thinking, and all logic goes out the door.

I remember a story my cousin told me– one day when nobody was at their home except their house help who received a call.

On the other side of the call, the house help heard a male in panic.

He said, “Shirley, the kids and I met an accident. Gather all our jewelry and go out into the village gate. A guy named Bong wearing a blue cap will meet you there. Give the jewelry to him. We need them to pay the hospital bill.”

Shirley thought it was her boss who called. At that moment, she froze. All logic just disappeared. Shirley did what she was told.

That day, Shirley gave P500,000 worth of jewelry to a random stranger named Bong outside the village.

That’s what fear does. It cripples your mind and you’re not able to think properly.

What’s funny about fear is that it makes you afraid of things that aren’t dangerous.

My six-year-old son, Ethan, is not afraid of heights or swimming in an open ocean.

He is afraid of Big Bird and of Elmo of Sesame Street. He cannot stand these two.

Let’s go to Genesis:

Imagine this: One day you see me walking on EDSA, completely naked. That’s scary, right? You’d be scared– not for me but for you. That’s traumatize you forever.

But in the Garden of Eden, walking around without clothes was completely safe.

What happened? When Adam and Eve started sinning and disobeying God, that was when fear came into the picture.

This is the first time we read about fear in the Bible. So, from this perspective, you can say that fear is a by-product of sin.

Some of the things we fear are not even dangerous. Some of us are afraid of being vulnerable– so, we settle for shallow relationships and meaningless encounters. We don’t make commitments because we are afraid of rejection.

Some of us are afraid of uncertainty. We’re okay with sticking in an abusive or sticking with that horrible job– as long as it’s predictable, as long as it’s certain: “It’s okay because I’m afraid of new things.”

Some of us are afraid of losing our loved ones– which is a fact of life.

Because of this, we tend to over-parent, we tend to smother our children. We don’t entrust our loved ones to our Lord because we’re so afraid.

Fear also makes us afraid of people who are not dangerous. What we do not understand, we fear. And what we fear, we tend to destroy.

No wonder, the Jews crucified Jesus. They could not understand Him, so they destroyed Him.

Some people in your life are out to get you not because they are afraid of you but because they don’t understand you.

Whenever you’re at fault, you like blaming others. You start pointing fingers at everybody except yourself.

That’s what Adam and Eve did. When they bit the forbidden fruit.

And when God pointed out their sin, Adam pointed to Eve as the culprit. In turn, Eve pointed to the serpent as the culprit. What did the serpent do? Nothing– because the serpent doesn’t have hands. And the serpent was not Filipino– because we Filipinos have a natural gift. We do not need fingers.

When asked, “Brother, where are you going?” the Pinoy points to the direction with his lipsJ.

We have accountability issues. You blame others whenever you’re at fault because you’re scared to be punished.

A few months ago, I caught my son lying to us for the first time. He was playing with his friends. I guess he was frustrated with what they were doing, so he grabbed the toy and smashed it onto the ground. I didn’t know about it until the father of Ethan’s friend told me. When I talked to my son, he gave me a different version.

He said, “My friend did not like his toy anymore, so he threw it to the ground to destroy it.”

In my mind, I wanted to tell him, “Ethan, I was not born yesterday. This was the same strategy I had with my parents. I know what it sounds like when you’re lying…”

I kept on prodding him until he confessed. I asked him why he lied. He said, “I was scared that you would get mad.”

That’s what fear does. It teaches us to lie because we are afraid of the truth.

At the very heart of fear is the inability to trust in God. You try to control things. You try to set yourself apart from God. That’s what Adam and Eve did because they did not trust that

God would follow through.

That’s exactly what you do sometimes. You are short of money, but you don’t believe that God provides– so, you resort to stealing instead.

Manage Your Fear

Let me give you six steps to manage and lead your fear.

When we’re afraid, sometimes, we’re not able to think. We just react.

But once fear has mellowed, remove yourself from that equation and check why you responded in a certain way: “Why did I cry?” “Why did I become violent?” A safe place can be a physical place like a church. It can be

The Feast, the Blessed Sacrament, a room in your house, or a place in your office. For some of you, a safe place might be a perspective in your mind. You dream of being in a safe place.

To others, can be a person like a spouse, children, or a friend. A safe place can be God.

Is there a recurring pattern? Is there a pattern that I see on why I respond to a specific stimulus?

Talk to God. Talk to your mentors or spiritual counselors as well. If you have a hard time processing your fear, talk to people who love you.

By now, you know the pattern and process of how you deal with fear. What do you do when you fear? Do you setyourself apart? Do you gift yourself the gift of gap? Create practices that stick with you throughout y our life.

Perfect Love Expels All Fear

I’m going back to the Scripture we read:

It’s a profound verse. The reason I couldn’t understand it was I couldn’t grasp the concept of perfect love. I’ve never experienced perfect love. My parents, my wife, my children don’t perfectly love me.

We’re imperfect people– that’s why we’ve all fallen short of the grace of God. My love will always have conditions and boundaries. I never knew perfect love until I discovered the perfect love of God. His love knows no limits. It recognizes no time and space.

I hope you can receive it the way I received it this week. For many of us, the reason we don’t trust God is we fear. We fear for the future, so we do things our way. We fear for our life– so we shortcut the process and sometimes, even the progress. We fear so we want to be in control.

Adam and Eve didn’t trust the Lord. They were lied to, so they did the one thing that God told them not to do. They took matters into their own hands.

They defined good and evil according to their terms simply because they didn’t trust God enough.

I want to speak this to somebody today: The only safe place in this world– and in Heaven– is with the Lord. The moment you remove yourself from that safe place, you end up in a place of danger. Sometimes, we think we’re better on our own because we can control.

Only He can love you perfectly. I can’t do that. Bro. Bo can’t do that. Your spouse can’t do that. Even your parents can’t do that. God spoke loud and clear to me when I was studying His Word this week.

Two days ago, our three-year-old daughter, Ellie, she was rocking her stroller, she fell, and her head hit the ground. She started crying and we didn’t know if we should bring her to the hospital or not.

At that moment, I just prayed, “Lord, I know you’re in control.”

God spoke to me and He said, “My love for your daughter is more than your love for her.”

We love the people around us so much that we are afraid to let go of them and entrust them to the Lord. God loves them more than you ever could and ever will. God’s love is perfect.

My point is that He will take care of them. He’s going to heal them, lead them, and embrace them. What we need to do is trust in His love. We declare that God’s love is our safe place and there’s no place we’d rather be.

Jesus, Thank You that you love us more than we can ever love ourselves. Some of us hurt ourselves because we think we’re unlovable and rotten inside. We think we’re unworthy of being loved. So, we carry the shame and fear with us. But today, these all changes. Today, we get to open our hearts to receiving the love of God.

You don’t need to overact. You don’t need to shout to the heavens. You just simply have to be in the Presence of God and speak to Him. X#x##x#c#

“Lord, I’m open. Walk into my heart right now and change me from within. Lord, I need you. I’ve been so afraid simply because I don’t trust you enough. I want to trust You. I want to do it today. I trust that You are in control. I don’t need to do anything more except to surrender my life, my family, my work, my children, my ministry, into your big, loving, and capable hands. I declare that because You are for me, that nothing can be against me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

This story was first published in the Feast Family Online News Magazine

Published by THE FEAST (May 19, 2024)


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