Jul 25, 2006

The fear

I came to a sudden realization the other day.

OK, this may sound kind of weird, stay with me for a sec...

I have this pathological fear of evil spirits, particularly possession by evil spirits.

Like, my worst nightmare is exactly that. And there are enough stories in scripture about it happening that I can't just dismiss it as a fairy tale that doesn't really happen. And in modern times (like, at the time of the restoration, etc) we have examples of it happening.

A couple of years ago, my bishop recommended counseling because I was getting over a messy divorce (so messy that it took about 2 years to get over) and trying to date again. So I went to this counselor (he was very very good, btw) and he handed me this intake assessment. With T/F questions. Being a psychology student and Psych tech, I recognized it immediately as a homemade tool for the diagnosis of possible mental illnesses that would probably be followed by further testing if there were any area of concern indicated by my responses.

I took a deep breath and told myself I was going to answer the items honestly... With no intention of watering down anything... I would put "T" if any of the things were even sometimes true... That way I would get my money's worth in counseling.

Well, one of the items was, "are you afraid of evil spirits." Another was, "are you afraid of possession by evil spirits." I had to put true for both of them, and for a lot of the other fear items.

I didn't ultimately turn it in... And he didn't mention it, so I didn't either...
it just sounds like such a wired, pathological fear.

I was reading through this month's Ensign the other day, when for no particular reason I thought of this again.

And I suddenly realized that I am already possessed by an evil spirit of sorts-- the spirit of fear. I fear everything, from what others think of me to imagining all sorts of horrible things happening to those I love, to the future, to ruminations about the past...

I am crippled by fear.

I went to my scriptures and read a passage that I suddenly thought of, when Christ was talking to Martha after she asked Him to rebuke her sister Mary because Mary wasn't helping her enough, and she felt overwhelmed by playing hostess alone.

Christ's response:
"Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

In the footnote "careful" is translated as "worried."

Another scripture calls worry a "snare" (psalms.) Another said that the fearful have their place in the fiery pit (I think proverbs, or perhaps Isaiah... I didn't save these because I was just zipping around trying to find what I needed.)

I need to give up fear. I have to, there is no choice anymore. I won't be able to enjoy my children or my husband, or anything good that comes into my life, if I fear losing it so much all the time. True, I have had losses... But it's time to enjoy life again.

Anybody else out there crippled by something like fear, or worry, or maybe depression or stress? I'd love to hear about how you overcame it.

I have decided that the first and best step is to recognize when I'm going into fear mode, and make efforts to not entertain those thoughts... Similar to what President Kimball said about not entertaining evil thoughts. Because fear, as we see in scripture, is evil in a way... Because it indicates a lack of trust in God. And a fear of man more than God.

well, that's it for today.


NoSurfGirl said...

this was by Noelle Feather. I deleted the post she commented on, so I redid it with this one.

Great thoughts on fear. I too struggle with fear--quite often.

I have some things that I do to try to work myself THROUGH the fear, but the main thing that I have heard is:

Where there is FEAR there is ABSENCE of faith.

I repeat that over and over when I get into fear mode.

Publish this comment.

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Posted by noelle feather to a fear of flying at 7/25/2006 06:57:42 PM


Maren said...

I also believe that there is such a thing as "the spirit of fear". That it is a real evil spirit.

I read once that fear is essentially faith in what Satan says. That made a lot of sense to me. Who am I going to trust, God? or the father of lies? It really puts it into perspective, I think.

We are told in the scriptures over and over again, to fear not, but be believing. And Perfect Love casteth out fear. Fear is crippling and I have felt many of the effects of that. I also believe in facing our fears and having them dissolve as we do so. There is an excellent book on fear called "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway" by Susan Jeffers. It really rang true for me.

NoSurfGirl said...

I should probably read that one... we made all our inpatients read it, and so we had several copies of it lying around, but unfortunately I never got around to it. Now I'll have to take the trouble of checking it out of the library. Silly me.

Thanks for your comments.

Fred said...

I've never really been afraid of much. Lately, though, I find myself browsing through the obits. I guess, as I get older, the fear of death is creeping in.

mamamormon said...

Excellent topic again!

Fear, IMO, is one of Satan's best tools. I usually think its best form is as a fear of not being forgiven - so one gives up and berates him/herself for eternity.

I wish I had something wise to say about fear - sadly, it's just something I no longer struggle with. The closest I came was that fear of never being forgiven for misdeeds I'd done. Over a period of time praying and being sure I was okey dokey with my Father in heaven, that fear just seemed to dissipate. (shoot - dissapate? How DO you spell that word?)

The spirit of fear is NOT of our Heavenly Father - but that's not to say you are suddenly possessed of Satan when you feel fear.

Not that I'm old and wise or anything - but I do really feel that we often grow out of our fears thru life trials and experiences and blessings. I was much more fearful of the wrath of God, Satan's powers, etc. when I was younger. Not, having seen so much of God's hands in my life, I know that He is certainly more in control of it than Satan is.

Shoot - that was rambly. If none of that worked/helped/made sense - take this!! (((surf)))

NoSurfGirl said...

thanks for your comments, all of you.

it's reassuring to think that, maybe as I get older and have more experience, maybe the fear won't be such a crippling thing. But I also know it can stick around... I think that sometimes, my mom thrives on fear. :( Maren, thanks for what you said about faith, too... makes a lot of sense.

And I think, Fred, that the fear of death is only supposed to be #2 to public speaking, isn't it? Although, (lol) none of us seem to have that fear. On an internet forum, at least.

Margaret said...

I am SO with you on this! I was trying to make a big decision earlier this summer, and was afraid of making the wrong decision, or so I thought, but as I worked through some of my fears, I realized that I was, in some twisted way :) , afraid of FEAR. I was so afraid of being guided by fear instead of by the Spirit of God that I was willing to let fear make my decision - as in "such-and-such scares me, so to prove that I am not being guided by my fears, I will do that." Uh, that doesn't really work. That is still letting fear guide you!!

So to me that's where faith in the Lord is the opposite of fear. If I am afraid of something, but it is the right thing to do, then I can trust in the Lord and do it. But I have to trust also, that JUST because something scares me doesn't mean the Lord is going to make me do it. Sometimes, we DO get to avoid scary things. :)