The Voice Of Fear



I just want to feel safe.

Is that different then being safe?

We all want to be safe. Sure, there are common sense things we can do like wear our seat belts when driving, avoid smoking and eat right. Of course some people will still die with their seat belts on and some skinny non-smokers will die early because of poor genes. I am sure there are even examples of people who were so fearful of the outside world that they became shut ins and then a plane landed on their house.


The truth is that we can't control our safety completely. But by the same token, being in denial and thinking that bad things can't happen isn't smart either. The rules about safety are very different if they are based in fear or based in the heart.


I have had female friends that jog while wearing headphones down by a bike trail that runs along a nearby river. I have cautioned them that this isn't very smart and that they should run up on the levee with something with which to defend themselves if either an animal or mugger should appear. Their responses were all the same:


“I won't let fear control me or prevent what I want to do.”


The irony of this statement is that their fear is controlling them. Their fear of being restricted has them casting aside their common sense.


I asked them to think like a criminal. Who are you going to attack:


A lone woman with headphones on, running by you as you hide behind a bush?




Two or more women up on the levee, alert and carrying something for defense?  


There are no guarantees of safety, but you have a choice to live either in honor or in fear.


When someone loves you, whether it be a family member or friend, you have a responsibility to honor the effect that having something happening to you would have on them. If you have done all that you can do and something still happens, then there is no dishonor. But if you have failed to use common sense to keep yourself safe, then you have dishonored your loved ones. I told each of these friends that they were not honoring those that loved them.


This changed their perspective. They moved from their own fear which had created their behavior, to their hearts and a desire to honor those who loved them. I learned this lesson at a young age when attending a friend's birthday party.



Birthday Party From Hell


I was invited to a friend's birthday party when I was in the fifth grade. This friend had really weird parents who would not let him back into his room between when he woke up and when he went to sleep. To say they were anal retentive would be putting it mildly.


So when the invitation to come to his birthday party arrived it came as a bit of a surprise. I could not imagine a group of noisy fifth graders in the house I was never allowed to enter.


But I was excited because it was a big, beautiful house with a pool. I looked on the invitation and the party was to start at 6:30 p.m. This, too, was a little strange since that only gave us an hour or so before it got dark. I figured that this was the parents' idea to limit our time in the pool. The invitation also said that the birthday boy's older brother would pick me up.


On the big day a station wagon rolled into the driveway with four of my other friends and the birthday boy. I grabbed my gift along with my bathing suit and towel. I tossed my stuff in the back with everyone else’s and we were off.


I noticed that we were not going back to my friend’s house. One of my other friends asked where we were going and the birthday boy's brother said “the movies.” I was a little disappointed we were not going back to swim, but a movie would be fun too. Soon we pulled into a drive-in movie and the late hour made sense.


We all got out and headed with the brother to buy candy and popcorn. Everyone was very excited and the movie was going to be a real science-fiction thriller. After the movie ended I thought we might go back for some birthday cake and maybe a late night swim, but that was not the plan. The brother informed us the movie was a triple feature and his parents did not want them back before 1:00 a.m. Everyone in the car was so excited about staying up late and getting to see two more movies … except for me. The parents had given the brother enough money so that we could eat all we wanted. 


No one noticed me slumped in the seat with a panicked look on my face. I was having an anxiety attack because I knew that as it got later my parents would become worried. Who goes to a birthday party in the fifth grade and comes home at 1 a.m.?


I also knew there was no guarantee that my parents would be able to get a hold of the birthday boy's parents if they got worried. This was long before cell phones and those people were just weird. Who knows what they were doing or why they didn’t want their kids home until 1 a.m.


I thought I would voice my concern to the group by mentioning that our parents didn’t know we would be out that late and might get worried. The whole car went silent and everyone looked at me like I was from a different planet. Then they all broke out laughing because they figured I must be joking. I wasn’t. I couldn’t understand why they felt no empathy for their parents.


Time slowed down to a crawl, as all I could think about was my parents worried at home. I knew that I would not get into trouble and could not be blamed for the late hour, but this did little to comfort me. Finally the movies ended.


Everyone was falling asleep except for me and the brother. He looked in the mirror at me and said, “You look a little stressed. Are you worried your parents will be mad at you for getting home so late?”




“Then what’s bothering you?”


“I am stressed about how worried they must be.”


“You are stressed about them?”


 “Yes. They will think I am dead or something if they have not been able to reach your parents.”


“So you weren’t kidding earlier?”




He then looked forward and was silent for a moment and then said, “Wow I wish I felt that way about my parents.”


Shortly after that he dropped me off and I was greeted at the door by two very worried parents. 


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