By: Maggie Leonard
Reflection—v. 48, ‘I have been searching for you in great anxiety’
At Mercy we talk about the healthy gift of fear, that it can help us to be wise and to be
protected. Many of us feel fear in our bellies—our guts don’t lie. When we feel that fear
creeping in, we know to get out. It is important to trust ourselves. However, there are times when our fear and anxiety don’t serve us, that they are the antithesis to joy. For me, I can feel the difference between my protective agent and my crazy agent because this second kind of fear lives in my head, not my gut. This type of fear is where we play out our worst fears in our heads, the kind of situation where everything is going well, yet we start to anticipate it all disappearing. Dr. Brene Brown, who researches fear, says that in these moments we stop allowing ourselves to feel joy. To fully feel joy requires vulnerability. We can turn ourselves back to joy. Dr. Brown says that research shows gratitude to be the antidote to this fear. Fear tells us what we are scared of losing, which also reveals what we value. We can practice turning from fear to gratitude and joy. When we fear that a relationship will fail, we can be grateful for how meaningful it is now. If we fear that our child will be hurt, we can be grateful for their boldness and spirit. Love is born in the world! Free of fear, may we turn toward vulnerability and joy by practicing gratitude.
Prayer: Joyful God, help us become more vulnerable and calm our fears.