Earthquakes and fear!


First official day of holidays and we get an earthquake! Well, nothing like a bit of drama to keep the heart rate up. Earthquakes Canada just confirmed that the quake was magnitude 5.1 here near Ottawa. So why do earthquakes freak people out so much?  Well, you can’t see it coming, there is a beautiful blue sky and sunshine out here. Unlike tornadoes or hurricanes, earthquakes can test the limits of fear simply because its dramatic entrance is unannounced. The phobia name associated with this common fear is seismophobia. I don’t think I have seismophobia but my reaction wasn’t one of exhilaration, I can tell you. I think I was scared or maybe  bewildered even!  It took me a minute or so to realise what was going on and that it wasn’t my blood pressure acting up and that the building was actually moving!

Fear can do funny things to us. Sometimes it can be unmasked in much the same way an onion is peeled. Layers upon layers need to systematically be removed to help us get to the heart of those things we fear most. Surveys show that the things that people are most afraid of are insects, natural disasters, terrorism, job loss, death, failure, public ridicule and rejection. That’s quite a spectrum. Often phobias can actually be symptomatic of a root fear. Dealing with a single fear may not always remove anxiety from your life but locating the originating fear is the most helpful in determining a cause. We live in a world fixated on extremes. What may have been considered small issues in decades past rise up to cause us incredible anxiety in the 21st century. We may find that the fears we have are fuelled by news and weather coverage or even by way of fiction stories made for television or the movies.

Each one of deals with fears in a different way. When we don’t acknowledge our fears, we become afraid of everything. Fear writes its signature all over the body, but we are all so used to it we've become desensitized to the loud and clear message of our body language. Our sleep patterns suffer, our appetite can increase or decrease dramatically. And this pervasive fear simply compounds itself; it paralyzes our life energy, seizes up our feelings. We're so afraid of what we are going to lose, so painfully attached to what we have, that we numb ourselves into a living death to shield us from the pain of real living. Fear can cripple us so much that we don’t realise that the beauty of life is just breezing by. By clinging to fear filled life as we have it, we deny ourselves a vibrant present and future.

We sometimes hear parents telling children as they are growing up, "Don't be afraid," when in reality, they have every right to be afraid at times. Rather than teach them to manage and take advantage of their fears, we teach them to be afraid of fear. In the Scriptures Jesus tells us over and over again, “do not be afraid”. However, he also gives us the reason not to be afraid, He is with us.I am thinking that Psalm 46 will be my heart prayer for today: “God is for us a refuge and strength, an ever present refuge in times of distress, so we shall not fear though the earth should rock, though the mountains quakes to the heart of the sea, even though its waters foam and rage, even though the mountains be shaken by its tumult. The Lord of Hosts is with us!

Have a good day people!

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