My grandpa recently said something thought-provoking that stayed with me. He said, the reason why we are always in a rush is fear. Are you in a rush while reading this right now? If we take the time to dissect this aspect of our lifestyle, we can arrive at deep insights about our culture and personalities, and begin the process of slowing down and enjoying life in the moment.
The Psychology Of Fear
To be in a hurry is to live in the future. We skim over the present moment because the present moment does not satisfy us. Our fulfillment, we tell ourselves, lies somewhere in the future. Somewhere out there in the distance–certainly not here where we are in the present. Being in a hurry is a psychological coping mechanism to avoid some present discomfort. People who are in prison, being tortured, in excruciating physical pain, or otherwise somewhere they don’t want to be live life in a hurry.
Fear, and its twin sister insecurity, are what make the present moment so intolerable, not only for those who are in physical pain or danger, but for those who live more or less ordinary lives. Some of us are in a hurry at work or at school or on the weekend or 24/7, because we are unhappy with what we’re doing and uncomfortable in our own bodies.
I remember I studied my rear end off in high school. I was always trying to learn the next thing, master the next language, achieve the next objective. And I achieved most of my goals, but at great cost to my mental and physical health. As I reflect on those days, fear was a big driving force. Fear of failing and not being good enough. Fear of shame. Fear of regret. Insecurity in who I was short of external accomplishments to validate me. This fear-based mentality, in fact, is prevalent in achievement-based cultures that measure peoples’ value strictly by their ability to perform at school or on the job.
Fear makes us miserable and angry on the inside, because we subconsciously resent being afraid and the things that make us afraid. Fear is toxic. It can lead to various physical ailments and chronic pains. Fear is fuel for the fire of lust. It’s not the way God designed us to live, and the proof is the damage it does to our organisms.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.2 Timothy 1:7
God-consciousness is an antidote to fear. Psalm 46:10 says, Be still and know that I am God. Fear is the inability to be still. When we are afraid, our fight or flight instinct gets activated. We are chronically on the move, either forward or backward. Or, yet worse, we freeze up on the inside, like a deer in headlights, which is the opposite idea of being still.
Part of being human is accepting our limitations. Part of being human is accepting that we can’t achieve all of our goals in the moment, and that setbacks and delays are a natural part of life. Only God gets whatever he wants whenever he wants it, and the arrogance of placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves can only lead to frustration and disappointment.
“Be still, and know that I am God.Psalm 46:10-11
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Jesus Calms The Storm
My favorite story in the entire Bible is Jesus calming the storm. All of the disciplines are going crazy on the boat, thinking their lives are about to end; meanwhile, Christ is taking a nap. You can visualize their frustration with him. Do you know what Jesus said after he calmed the storm? He said, Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”Matthew 4:35-41
The question for you and me today is why are we so afraid? Have we still no faith?
Faith is the opposite of fear. It’s time for some of us to slow down and smell the roses. It’s time for some of us to live life in the moment. That doesn’t mean we don’t work hard. What that means is we recognize that even our hardest work has limitations. And no amount of striving can cure a broken identity and resolve the inner insecurities that we carry.
Let’s exercise our faith today and strive to interpret every moment as a gift from God.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest,Psalm 127:2
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
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