I have been full of fears my whole life. As a youngster I was afraid of the dark and when going to bed I would ask my sister if I could put my hand on her bed, or if she would turn and look my way so I could fall asleep. I carried on this way until in Jr. High, when God gave me the grace to recognize that He would take care of me and I need not be afraid but only to entrust my fear of the dark to Him.
As I grew older my fear switched to people. I fear offending others – like not telling my relatives and friends that their lives would be so much easier if they returned to practicing their Catholic faith. I fear conflict with others – like not suggesting to the coaches through the years that Sundays should be a day of rest for our daughter athletes. I fear opposition with others – so I refrain from speaking up for the unborn against abortion. The worse products of these fears are that they lead me to silently deny my God, my Savior and my faith.
The following quote is from the book, God Alone Suffices, which speaks to this subject, and tells how in reality the only fear I should have is the fear of God. For me it answered my anxieties with common sense truths:
After all, everything depends on our God. Our respect and praise belong only to Him – this is what we call a fear of God. When this fear of God is missing in us, we give an exaggerated value and our praise and respect to less important things – the situations and circumstances that should always be secondary when confronted with the action of God. We are afraid of people and their rules, which in our thinking govern the world, instead of fearing only God, whose will is necessary for all things to happen.
Because of human regard, we become stagnant and discouraged when we are faced with difficulties, circumstances that we consider as unfriendly winds preventing us from achieving our goal. We forget that there are only two scenarios: either God wants these difficulties, for reasons that we do not have to know, or at least He allows them to happen.
Perhaps He allows these difficulties to show us how much we lack faith? Our connections toward people and the different ‘rules of the game’ invented by them is a form of idolatry because we are either too afraid of them, or we adore them without any reservations. In this way we disregard our Almighty God. If our hearts properly feared God, if we sought reliance on our Lord and Creator in every situation, then a certain distance would be generated in us toward the illusory calculations of our minds, which are not enlightened by faith.
S. C. Biela, God Alone Suffices, 3rd ed. (Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2011), 132. Used with permission.
I seek rescue from my fears through God’s grace and entrustment to the Blessed Mother. When feeling intimidated I remember She holds me in Her arms - and remind myself what She once asked St. Juan Diego:
I believe I will always have a fear of people, for this weakness helps me entrust myself to the Blessed Mother – reminding me that ONLY with Her will I have the proper fear of God; and ONLY with Her can I be a confident believer - who gives less attention to human regard – for She knows that God is in charge and that He is the only One who first and foremost deserves my interest, praise, and respect.