I Am A Child of Fear

In many ways, I am a child of fear.

My natural impulse is to say I hate conflict. I hate upsetting or hurting people. I hate being wrong. I hate causing damage.

But when I dig deeper I discover that my hate is an aggressive expression of my fear.

I fear conflict. I fear unsetting or hurting people. I fear being wrong. I fear causing damage.

As someone who operates from a core belief that my value and worth is based on my performance – I have quickly learnt to fear anything that suggests my performance is unacceptable, it’s not up to scratch and it’s not approved of.

I grew up in church – I’ve spent 31 of my 34 years in church.

Churches are like families, some are good, some are bad, some are abusive, some are wonderful – all are flawed, all have faults, there’s room for improvement in every single one.

I’ve personally have a wide range of experiences from wonderful through to abusive.

I’m also sorry to say that in my experience, performance based value and worth is something that was encouraged and celebrated in church and faith communities – like most teams, organisations, groups, workplaces, doing the right things and at the right times, saying the right things and being seen to be the right fit was highly valued. I was accepted and invited to belong based on the merit of my performance, in a million tiny and unspoken ways, I understood that I was there because I fit, if I dared change my shape I would no longer be welcome.

As Brene Brown says, the human heart is wired for love and belonging.

“We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as were meant to be. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache … The absence of love and belonging will always lead to suffering.”
Brene Brown

In my experience, it’s been the church that has been my biggest obstacle to loving people wholeheartedly. The birthplace of love, grace, hope and forgiveness has often been hijacked, guarded by a desire to maintain control with fear at the centre of every motivation.

I can literally close my eyes and lose count of the conversations where my choices have been manipulated, emails that clearly set an expectation and hint and the consequences if lines are crossed, all the times my personal boundaries were unapologetically crossed and how my attempts to reinstall them were dismissed. Meetings where my motives have been called into question. I’ve watched so many people, more people than I can honestly number, be uninvited, non included, pushed aside because they didn’t play the game or fit the mould.

It’s a universal issue. It’s bigger than a church issue.
It’s a human issue.
I love power too. I don’t want to lose my power so I have to control myself and the people around me to maintain it….but that’s hard, so I adopt fear as my weapon. I use fear to keep the wheels turning which maintains my control and therefore ensures my power.

If I’m honest, I do this all the time, in small ways, in subtle ways.
I’m a child of fear – fear is a very lucrative social currency and I’ve been a heavy investor for many many years.

And that’s why this journey of mine has been bad for business. Because, for the first time, I’m learning that in any situation or scenario where I am censoring myself, my voice, my truth, my thoughts, my feelings, my heart because I know if I express myself I will be disciplined, spoken to, handled, uninvited, ostracised, cut out, dealt with, marginalised, found unworthy or just treated as if I don’t belong – then I am not standing in a place that is practicing love, grace, home and forgiveness and that’s just simply not ok with me anymore.

I fear conflict. I fear unsetting or hurting people. I fear being wrong. I fear causing damage.
But I am also learning that my fear itself can hurt people, it can cause me to be wrong…fear is damaging.

I’m arriving at a place where I’d rather be wrong and found in love that right and found in hate…found in fear.

I’d rather be the one holding the hands of the refugee, the outcast, the marginalised than be found pushing humanity away because my black and white mind isn’t not comfortable with my heart living in the grey.

I am a child of fear, but it’s time to grow up, out of fear and into love.

[Art by Lali Pantone]

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Ashleigh Anne says:

    Love love love xxx


    1. Thank you Ash. ❤️🥰😍


  2. Our Lord identified with the outcasts and thank God for that.


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