On Fear

The Young Girl and Death, Marriane Stokes

As mothers, arriving with our first child, come new and troubling fears. With great love comes great fear. Fear that what we have been given, we may lose. Fear that who we love, may suffer. Fear that we are not worthy of this freely-given love. Yet, we must be aware of these new fears, and the dark roads they may take us – and the worthy roads they may keep us from traveling.

We need not be ashamed of our fear, much of it is beyond our control – but also not allow it to rule our better nature. We must recognize it for what it is, when it inevitably descends on us. Our natural maternal instincts drives us to protect and encourage our precious children. We should. Our feminine spiritual nature desires unity and comfort, building a home of love and sacrifice. A most worthy endeavor. Fear can keep us from reaching these feminine potentials. Rather than encouraging our children to face an often disappointing world, we may let our fear of suffering stifle us – making our children “safe” rather than capable. Fear can twist our desire for comfort into a controlling quest for perfection. Fear, unchecked, infects our beautiful nature and distorts it. The quotes below can help us look at our fear and help us refuse Fear as our Master.

“There is no harm in being afraid. The only harm is in doing what Fear tells you. Fear is not your master! Laugh in his face and he will run away.”

George MacDonald, Lilith

“Gratitude looks to the Past and love to the Present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.”

C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“Don’t be overwise; fling yourself straight into life, without deliberation; don’t be afraid – the flood will bear you to the bank and set you safe on your feet again.”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.”

Rudyard Kipling

“To fear death is nothing other than to think oneself wise when one is not; for it is to think one knows what one does not know. No man knows whether death may not even turn out to be the greatest blessing for a human being; and yet people fear it as if they knew for certain that is is the greatest of evil.”

Socrates, Plato’s The Apology

“Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil.”

Aristotle

“Let fear once get possession of the soul, and it does not readily yield its place to another sentiment.”

Leo Tolstoy, Sebastopol Sketches

“Fear is Faithlessness.”

George MacDonald

“The unhappy person is never present to themselves because they always live in the past or the future.”

Soren Kierkegaard,  Either/Or

“I fear you will never arrive at an understanding of God so long as you cannot bring yourself to see the good that often comes as a result of pain.”

George MacDonald

“Don’t be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin!”

Henry David Thoreau

“Face the demands of life voluntarily. Respond to a challenge, instead of bracing for catastrophe.”

Jordan Peterson

“I do so dearly believe that no half-heartedness and no worldly fear must turn us aside from following the light unflinchingly.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter to Edith

“A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Children of Hurin

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