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Life Uncategorized Wellness

The Beauty of Breaking Free From the Prison of Fear


On the other side of the years of strife, and tears, and uncertainty, and just general darkness is a chance for something better. Not just a little better, amazingly, unbelievably better. Everybody stands here at some point. But even as the rains abate and the clouds start to part, one last enemy rears its seemingly benign head.

A couple of years ago, I stood at this confluence, not even realizing that it was one. I wondered aloud to my mother if I could start to trust life again. If I could start to live without looking over my shoulder, waiting for it to fall apart again, as it had so many times. I can’t remember her exact words but they were completely clear. These two streams cannot flow together. A life “lived” in fear or lived in freedom. It’s one or the other, and every time you make a decision in fear, you go further down the path of just existing. A bitterness starts to develop.

The idea of fear has come up in my life several times over the last couple of months, so I figured I’d better start listening. One of the places this has come up was kind of funny, or nerdy. I watched the whole Star Wars series in three days. Yoda goes on about how he can see fear in Anakin, and “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Believe me I would never have thought in a million years that I would end up quoting Yoda and perhaps its testament to the fact that writing doesn’t come as easy as it used to for me. But there is truth in it. Fear is often thought of as one of the less dangerous emotions, because of its protective nature. But if you have ever lived in fear,
you realize what a prison it is. Living in this prison makes you begin to hate yourself for succumbing to it, envy those that don’t and who are actually living, and become a bitter person. And it only gets worse with time as you look down years of wasted ambition, emotion, and enthusiasm.

Try as I may, I cannot make this topic any more exciting. Fear is a drab thing, a dull thing. It’s not often a jarring emotion like pain, it just kind of sneaks in, one decision at a time, but soon enough snuggles in and makes itself comfortable in you. That’s exactly its power. Often it masquerades as something else, like humility or modesty, or even wisdom. It is a kind of darkness, that isn’t quite darkness, but a constant grey. It’s Grima Worm Tongue whispering in Theoden’s ear all the things that could go wrong if he stands against Saruman. Whittling away at his spirit over the years, making his bones feel old and tired and worn. Distancing him from those that carry the light of hope and faith.

The best things in life, the things that make life worth living are unnecessary. That is one of the reasons a purely evolutionary view of things doesn’t work for me. Love, music, smells, colour, warm ocean breezes, the leaves in fall etc. We live for the unnecessary, not just for the sake of being alive. Sorry, but I’m gonna get a bit biblical here. After everything that God creates, He says “It is Good”. None of his creation was out of necessity. And if you’re gonna stand here and tell me that you’re only going to do the bare minimum, live to have enough, and so never really LIVE, then I can tell you where your story ends. That Christmas two years ago, when I had that chat with my mom, I bought her an album of Andrea Bocelli’s best music called “Vivere”. I did not know then that this word was to become such a theme. It’s Italian and it means LIVE. Life and Canaan are waiting for you, but they won’t wait forever. LIVE!!

This article was originally written as a Facebook note — it is one in a series of notes that has been compiled into a book called Fields of Grace. It is available as an eBook at Amazon

More from David Duncan:

The Positive Side of Feeling Like You’re Weird

REMINDER: Your Christian Faith is a Relationship Not a Religion

Is Your Faith About Self-Help or New Life?