Fear and Inventories

Resentment is not the only emotion we need to inventory. We also need to address our fears. I learned that many of my fears came from either feeling inadequate or under-resourced. What is the source of your fears?

In fact, this fear is so prevalent when I listen to others share their Fourth Step (Fifth Step work) that I think of it as the “Law of Scarcity”. For as long as I can remember I have been afraid that there was not enough to go around and I wasn’t going to get what I needed. Evidently, I am not alone.

Enough food. Enough money for rent. Enough attention. Enough safety. Enough love. Enough. I grew up with the belief, this anxious feeling, that the world was a barren place and I would need to scrap and scrape to make my way in the world. I feared I would not succeed. Although I have found my own compulsivity baffling, even I can understand that self-starving was intimately tied to this feeling of “never enough”. Every time I thought I was losing out on something others had, my fear ramped up and I felt more justified in my commitment to the “Law of Scarcity” and all my strategies to survive. My inventory revealed this as I examined my resentments, fears and sexual history.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

~ Psalm 46:1-3 NIV

If Psalm 46 sounds like crazy talk to you - you are not alone! When I come across verses that sound so counterintuitive to my own experience, I pause to consider my options. Am I wrong? Is the psalmist a nut job? What might I be missing? I also use my imagination to find common ground. Many Psalms speak of fear and trembling and anger and resentment. I have two ways of relating to Psalm 46 - one is to acknowledge that the psalmist has every right to write about his good days - and this is one of them. But my FAVORITE way to read is to use my imagination. Is the psalmist crying out his psalm as he runs for his life? He believes these things to be true, but in his current situation he is tempted by unbelief. Imagine with me the psalmist running from his enemies ,heart pounding, feet barely touching the ground as his arms pump to gain more speed and distance from a situation that has triggered all his unbelief. He is trash talking his doubts, poetically demonstrating the same impulses that a guy in the New Testament also expressed, “I believe! Help me in my unbelief!”

There is much more I would like to say about this fear and how working a spiritual program taught me that the world is an abundant place, but that might distract us from our work!