Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Mastering Our Fears

I don't even know where to start. If I were to list out things I fear, events or objects or people who I fear, I simply have no clue on the numbers. I have lost count. But I, along with other cell members, were asked this question by our cell leader yesterday during my church's cell group meeting. I kept quiet the whole time, didn't know what to say because I have too many fears. But I have been thinking.

Fears can be categorised into a four main types: controllable and uncontrollable external, controllable and uncontrollable internal. But even fears that were controllable would seem uncontrollable in times of encountering it. For instance, I feared of lizard and I would have only one thought in mind: RUN! Some people are afraid of cockroaches, especially ladies. I used to be scared of cockroaches but after a few times of killing roaches operations with smashing skill acquired from playing badminton, I've learned to overcome it. These are the examples of controllable external fears

Controllable internal fear is the one fear currently engulfing me. I am fearful of my own tendency to fall into the trap of complacency, which will lead to me living a life of mediocrity. I do not want to live a mediocrity life, and the only way not to live a mediocrity life is consistently stretch out beyond my comfort zone. At the moment I have settled in pretty well in my workplace. I have finally been assigned to a team. The job may not sound very exciting and it is more than ideal to pull me into the state of complacency, I know it is entirely up to me if I want to be complacent. I can settle for this, or I can take this opportunity to learn even more things, not necessarily from work but personal development such as external skills. 

Uncontrollable external fears comprises much wider areas of our life simply because we have no control over so many things. Every time we come out from our safe haven at home, we risk getting into accidents. Every time we board on a flight, we risk losing our dear lives due to plane crash. When we cross the roads or even walking by the side of the roads, we risk being knocked down by a reckless rules-breaking car driver. We are afraid of the harmful effects from the haze that has been engulfing our Malaysian air at this time of writing. Most of us get worried over things we have no control on. 

It may not be fear of our own safety, but other people's. We may be worried of our family members and loved ones' safety. Or maybe our parents who are getting older and older by days, who will depart from the world any time soon. Maybe the fear of finance is currently engulfing you. Maybe you are living paycheck to paycheck, not having anything left for savings. Maybe you are fearful of your own deteriorating health. The risk of getting diagnosed with cancer seems to increase over time, and there is no minimum age of getting diagnosed with cancer. In short, uncontrollable external fear is the fear of uncertainty

I don't think I am the only one facing these fears daily, everyone does. Not even insurance policies can cover you from the risk of death. What about our career in future? Nobody can guarantee our jobs to be retained in the next 10-20 years because retrenchments seem rife these days. Think you are shielded from retrenchment as you climb up the corperation ladder? Think again. You are being paid fat bonuses and high salary. In times of crisis, you may be the first one to be retrenched as your company struggles to cut cost; unless you are a specialist and the company's business operation relies heavily on your expertise. 

But what can we do with the fear of uncertainty? The truth is this: everything is uncertain. I only listed a few examples and there are plenteous more. Only one thing is constant in our lives: GOD. God has been here, from the beginning until now, and will always be here until the end of the days. Only God has seen through everything that is happening and about to happen, He knows our future because He is the Creator, the Planner and the Provider. He calls each one of us by names and He knew our destinies. He has gone through that and we are currently going through what He has planned in advance. 

Luke 12:22-34 encourages us not to be fearful and anxious because God is in control of everything. Seek God's Kingdom first and everything shall be added unto you. Ever wondering why there are people who are so successful yet they are not believers? Not all good things are God's things. They can get very successful but they find it difficult to live a happy life and they are dissatisfied. They can have billions in their bank accounts, but still miserly enough to argue over RM1 accidentally charged extra by a food hawker. 
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  
This particular verse (Luke 12:34) triggered my alarm. Where is my treasure? Where I build my treasures depends on my decisions on places to put my time and efforts in. Are my decisions being influenced by fears or faith? I am ashamed. I knew for all this while, many of my decisions were made out of fear. If you were fearful of failure, you are seeking success. 

Fear of not having enough money for retirement. Fear of not having enough money to impress people I don't even care about. Fear of being homeless. Fear of taking up responsibility. Fear of growing up. Fear of losing. Fear of death. Fear of not being approved by my community. Fear of being rejected. Fear of trusting people. Fear of being judged. Fear of being backstabbed by unsuspicious "friends". Fear of what other people have been talking behind my back. Fear of insecurity. Fear of being alone going into my 30s, 40s, 50s and old age. So much fears and to a certain extent each of these has led me astray from living God's true purpose and calling in my life. 

This is not to be construed with not having fear at all. Having a healthy dose of fear is good because it helps us to prepare with our best knowledge and capability. Because of all these fears listed above, I did what I did, saving for the rainy days and focus on growing my wealth through investments. But optimum balance must be striked so that we would not focus all our energy on preparing for the uncontrollable fears, leaving no space for God to wave His magic wand. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. 

1 John 4:18 says perfect love casts out fear. Really, by focusing on adding values into people's lives and caring for people around you (even strangers) can be thousand times more satisfying than material possessions. I am a simple man, and a simple smile from someone I care for can make my day. 

Which brings me to the last category of fear: uncontrollable internal fear. And it is the hardest fear to be comprehended. Uncontrollable internal fear speaks about fear capable enough to draw me away from God's calling in my life. Fear I have no control over but only incessant prayer and intimate relationship with God can help to overcome. Fear that my sinful nature would prevail if not because of the good work of the Holy Spirit in my life, giving me self control and wisdom. 

There is always an inner voice that speaks to us, whether we realise it or not, that will determine our thoughts, actions and behaviours. Without God, this inner voice would be either my soul or Devil. My soul is sinful by nature, I was sly and selfish. Devil is evil. He is here only to steal, kill and destroy. If God has not worked in my life, my life would have been engulfed entirely by Devil or my own soul.

I thank God for His wisdom and guidance over my life. 

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