“Awaken me from my fears, O my Beloved, give me strength to face them as they rise up within me; Let your Love envelop me, and direct my thoughts to peaceful paths. Where I have erred in thought and spoken in anger, where I have acted without love, I ask forgiveness.
Rouse Yourself, come to my aid, heed my cry! For You are the Compassionate One, Comforter to all who ask. You come to those who seek You; O Mender of broken hearts, create a new heart within me. I long to sleep at night in peace, to awaken to a new dawn. Too long have my fears, my guilt, pursued me, whispering lies in my ears and evoking beguiling images of illusion…With steadfast love, You stand with me; You teach me to let go of my fears. Cast them not out, but help me face them; give me courage to let them go one by one, O Comforter, my Strength! Let me make amends and start anew; let me grow in wisdom and understanding. For the havoc that my fears wield within me, turns to chaos in my life, wounding others and leading to death.”
~ Psalm 59:1-10 paraphrased by Nan C. Merrill in Psalms for Praying
Fear signals to us where we need help before we attempt to take on a world that is so much bigger than we are. To be afraid of something is to have the wisdom to examine it closely, to study it well, to prepare for it carefully so that when we do move we equal to the task. Fear is what throws us back on God.
~ Joan Chittister
Fear appears in many forms. Some fear the dark or heights. Some fear a person or group of people. Some fear the power of nature. Some fear the unknow or things they cannot control. Fear can come as apprehension or anxiety without rational explanation. But it is real to those involved. Fear can be healthy because it makes us more attentive, calm and respectful of our surroundings. Fearfulness can come because of the lack of trust in self, in others or in God. If I do not trust myself to make a decision, I may not be willing to ask for help from others or from God. When we don’t trust God, we cannot and will not accept God’s promise of faithfulness. Our fear continues and may increase.
You mustn’t be frightened
if a sadness
rises in front of you,
larger than any you have seen;
if an anxiety,
like light and cloud-shadows,
moves over your hands and over
everything you do.
You must realize that something is
happening to you,
that life has not forgotten you,
that it holds you in its hand
and will not let you fall.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Fear is what takes over when we rely on our own resources. What specific fears have you allowed to enter your life? Remember: Fear is our doorway to the heart of God!
~ Joan Chittister
“Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid; I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.”
~ #529 UMH
Joyce D. Sohl, Laywoman-in-Residence
Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.