Season 1, Episode 2: Fearful Questions and Deep Longings

What if we are asking the wrong questions that are based on worry and fear?  We feel threatened, powerless, or in some form of danger.  Our imagination is seeking questions to make sense of what is happening.  Some questions are helpful to name what is happening.  Others are intrusive, beguiling, or depressing.

Fearful Questions and Deep Longings

“Which questions guide our lives?”

For some, much of what may drive their lives are “what if” questions.  Not deliberately thinking about the questions.  Just letting the questions guide them.

“What if my coworkers don’t like me”
“What if I’m not good enough”
“What if something happens to my kids”
“What if I don’t make my numbers this month”

“What if I don’t save enough money for retirement”
“What if I’m not raising my kids well”
“What if my spouse cheats on me”
“What if my boss fires me”

What if we are asking the wrong questions that are based on worry and fear?  We feel threatened, powerless, or in some form of danger.  Our imagination is seeking questions to make sense of what is happening.  Some questions are helpful to name what is happening.  Others are intrusive, beguiling, or depressing.

Fear is an optic of danger, threat, or a loss of power.  Moved by fear, we become survivalists and sometimes do things we really didn’t want to do.

Are these questions raising important issues?  Of course.  They make up the material of our lives.  But are they really helping us to live well and good?

Which questions guide our lives into courage and enduring power?

And when we have questions, how does God respond?  “Do not be afraid…I’m with you”

There is a question that Jesus asks in the Gospels.  “What do you want me to do for you?”  Another variation is “What do you want?”

When I move past the worry/fear questions (I picture these questions as the stuff on top of a river, floating there) and “go deep”, the question of want and desire are the ones I’m really seeking.

“How can I be a good coworker?”
“I want to be a good person in this world.  How do I go about doing that?”
“I want to be a loving parent.  How will I do that today?”
“I want to be a faithful partner and create a loving relationship.  What must I do?”

Flip the script on the worry/fear questions and think about your deepest longings which God is inviting you into.

Naming Your Fears

“What is named, is transformed”
“But what is not transformed, gets transmitted”

Insights worth thinking about and practicing.

It’s time to name the fears.  The night shadows, monsters underneath the bed, the high school crush you had but were afraid to ask to the dance….time for the fears to be confronted.

Fear literally means danger.  It’s something that you feel threatened by.  Psychologists keep telling us that many respond through fight, flight, fright (freeze).  Whatever the fear, it has caused you and I to either get combative, abandon the post, or become paralyzed.

Fear of not being good enough
Fear of not having what it takes
Fear of having the heart broken (so don’t try…this is the fear of success)
Fear of the pain a decision will cause (not feeling like you can endure it)
Fear of being a fraud
Fear of not being accepted or liked

What are your current fears?  Can you name them?  Can you befriend them so that, like the movie Monsters Inc, you can realize that the fears are not the end of the world.

In my faith tradition, the great hope when it comes to fear is God’s presence (God is with us), be strong and courageous, and my favorite one “belovedness baffles fear” (my interpretation).

When I meditate on God’s love for me, how God is for me, there is an inner voice of love that calls out:  “I’ve loved you before you screwed up, during your mess ups, and after your successes.  I will always keep choosing you, even when you reject me, doubt me, or run away from me.”

I’m all too familiar with the voice of fear.  Just scroll up and read the lines of fear.  I’m learning that in order to overcome fear, we need to become present to God and allow Him to wash over our fears with His deep acceptance and blessing over us.

In the beginning, when humanity was created, he looked at us and said, “you are good, GOOD”.  Most translations say very good.  But I learned that in semitic language and culture, if you wanted to stress something, you’d say it twice.  That’s why in the Old Testatment, God is said to be holy, Holy, HOLY (three times).  Creation–animals, plants, the ocean–are said to be good.  But HUMANITY is said to be Good, GOOD!

I can’t be fully me living in shame and fear.  So I turn back to God in prayer and ask, “who I am”.  And he says, “you’re mine.  you belong to me.  I love you.  I bless you.”

Name the fear so that you can be properly named as the beloved!  In belovedness, be ye transformed.