Spiders, having fallen face first into a orb spider web,
Abandonment, every time I heard my parents argue I thought that they would get a divorce.
Gym class, since I sucked at every sport.
Using the bathroom at school. Anyone who knows anything about being bullied knows you do not want to be in the bathroom when the “cool” kids came in. This led to me not using the bathroom at school for many years and waiting until I got home.
Peers in general, since they were able to ridicule me at any point in time with no intervention for school authorities.
Answering questions in class, my peers taught me that I was stupid, and who wants to look more stupid by getting a question wrong.
My father, his anger could be epic and I usually was fearful to be around him even when he was in a good mood (a caveat here, he was not a physically abusive person)
Failure, this I think has been the thing that has caused the most trouble in my life. The fear of failing, of looking bad, had paralyzed any growth in my childhood and teen years.
And speaking of teen years, here is a short list of those fears.
Peers again, for the same reason listed above, new school, same torment.
Fear that what my peers were saying about me was true.
Being alone my whole life.
New things, and original thoughts, I never tried anything new and I never came up with an original thought since it had been drilled into me that I was stupid and worthless. It was in my teen years that I really embraced my worthlessness, and lack of self esteem. I truly did hate myself. Imagine for a moment waking up every day dreading what lies ahead, and being filled with fear and anxiety and self loathing.
I carried many of these things into adulthood and for many, many years lived in constant fear of failure. Over the years things had gotten better as I began to understand the unconditional love and grace of God as the only constant in my life. But even my early Christian experience taught me, erroneously, that God was expecting perfection and since I was far from that two thirds of my Christian journey was lived in terror of God getting me.
With all this background you now have a fairly good idea of how I allowed fear to manipulate me. But some habits die slowly and hard. For the past few years I have come to place where I have begun to embrace fully who I am, because God embraces me just as He created me to be, Yet, I now come to a place in my life where I must make some hard choices. And my default emotion is fear, fear of the unknown future. And my mind quickly jumps into catastrophic thinking and all I can see is the worst case scenario. And in seeing those thoughts play out in my mind, fear once again paralyzes me from making any forward movement.
Fear has ruled my life, it has become a habit of the heart, my heart, and I want so desperately to be free of it. Yet like a leech it continues to suck life out of me. There are no easy answers and I know that for me to really live my life the way God intends me to live it, I need to take the next steps.
Perhaps by exposing fear to the light, as I am here, it will somehow loss its grip over me.