Easter and Passover are two major religious festivals that happen around the same time each year. They both have many lessons to teach us today, but perhaps the most important is the lesson of fear. The Hebrew people walked to freedom out of slavery in Egypt, across a wilderness of wandering, and into a Promised Land. Jesus walked the path of betrayal, suffering and death that led to resurrection. Both experiences must have held a great deal of fear. The new life lay through the fear and beyond it.
When we are able to own our fear and then hold it with our faith, fear can begin to lose its hold on us. To own our fear means to acknowledge it, articulate it, and let it become real and tangible to us. To hold it with faith means to step decisively in the direction of what we trust and value most in life. It means affirming who we are and where we are going. When we move along the pathway of discovering and living that sense of call—toward engagement that arouses our passion and brings us joy—such action can reveal how shallow our fears actually are.
Fear can be problematic in our lives by taking us out of our deepest selves, but fear is not ultimately the problem. In fact, fear can be helpful by alerting us to real danger. So, rather than trying to talk yourself out of feeling afraid, which seldom works anyway, let fear move you toward your deeper self. Let it motivate you to let go of the false self you may be borrowing or be more honest with the people in your life you are just trying to please. Fear can be a narrow gate onto a winding road that is the journey of life. Faith is the only way through that gate and along that road. It can be a lonely road, but we don’t walk it alone.
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