Afraid

31 Days of Writing, day 2
Writing prompt: afraid

I grew up in the prime of action movies–Terminator, Rambo, John McClane. The thematic blueprint worked. A lone gun, unflappable, saving the world from overwhelming circumstances. A cruel dictator and his unquestioning mercenary army versus one man, hardened and invincible. The message was clear: true masculinity meant dialing up the fearlessness and turning down the emotion. Most men, regardless of age, routinely heard that emotions–except anger–are unwelcome partners in the fight against injustice.

How could I measure up? I wanted to be brave, but I was afraid. A lot. Afraid of being chased down by a group of older boys (again), fear of being seen as worthless, fear of losing my family. Despite any desire I had and even owning a survival knife, it was clear I would never be John Rambo. I had too many emotions and too many attachments.

Maybe the truth is that taking on an army single-handedly is a piece of cake compared to owning our emotions and our brokenness.

For Reflection: 

What were the the messages you received about yourself growing up? What were you afraid of? 

Why are we so afraid?

Why do we so commonly teach people to be afraid?

Afraid of bridges. Afraid of spiders. Afraid of the dark.

Afraid of red meat. Afraid of processed foods. Afraid of water from the tap.

Afraid of guns. Afraid of immigrants. Afraid of culture. Afraid of public schools. Afraid of democrats. Afraid of republicans. Afraid of Muslims. Afraid of our neighbors. Afraid of strangers.

Afraid of cancer. Afraid of ebola. Afraid of death. Afraid of life, at least one fully lived.

Afraid of conflict. Afraid of vulnerability. Afraid of truth. Afraid of exposure. Afraid of friendships. Afraid of disappointing people.

Afraid of being unknown. Afraid of being known.

Afraid of being a disappointment to God.

We set up cultures of fear. We lead people to believe that the Christian life is lived upon a tightrope. Blindfolded. One wrong step and…disaster. But that’s not what Jesus said. He said to his best friends, “why are you so afraid?” He invited them, and us, to live lives of love. St. John wrote that we cannot embody love and remain afraid.

Our mission is not fear, but love. We were not called to live life upon a tightrope weaved by the Old Covenant standards and laws of our own making, but to dance in a wide green pasture. We were not called to live with blinders on, but with our eyes wide open to the beauty and wonder of God.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑