Fear is one of the dominating oppositions is our lives. Because perfect love casts out fear, it can also be said that perfect fear casts out love. So, our fear comes to us in the form of an unfocused anxiety. Anxiety, as the Lutheran philosopher Soren Kierkegaard reminds us is “the dizziness of freedom.” And so, many times we are not able to search through the dizziness because this anxiety is so disappointing that we try to resist it. Anyone who struggles with anxiety knows that Carl Jung is right when he says, “If you resist, it persists.”
But what if we began to see fear and anxiety not as the hand of the enemy, but as the hand of love trying to reach into us and bring us into greater awareness and freedom? What if our anxiety and fear are God’s way of saying, “Do not be afraid. I will lead you into the depths of your being and love you where you cannot love yourself.” What if our fear and anxiety of others is God’s way of communicating to us, “I want to show you the beauty in this person. I want to open your eyes to what you do not see.”
I don’t find it ironic that the most common phrase in the Bible is “Do not be afraid.” I think that God has to tell us this because we’re too afraid to accept the good things that he is about to bring us. But, the Good News has a way of taking us through our shadows, revealing our wounds to us, and bringing us to surrender. The journey into love requires great courage because it asks us to enter with new eyes and let go of how we see the world, so we can see love in the dark places of ourselves and society. Just as we have to be taught fear, so we must be taught out of it. The journey of love is the only cure for the dizziness of life, and it is the only thing that will bring us into true freedom.
To be human is to long for love and to long to be loved. And, to be a Christian is to have your identity rooted in the love of Christ. Fear is the thing that prevents human beings from being human, and the Church from being the Church.