Anguish in the face of anything that threatens life
The progress of science and technology, far from lessening our anxieties, has made them worse. There is fear of the difficulties and sufferings of the world, of the demands of professional, family or married life; the fear of not being up to the task, and that of setbacks and hard knocks; fear of the forces of nature, thunderstorms and even earthquakes; hijackings and hostage-taking, crimes and assassinations; the fear of a long and incurable illness, because we fear not being able to endure the sufferings that we imagine terrible.
The only effective remedy is found in faith in the living God. Jesus affirms it: “You will have tribulations in the world…” (Jn. 16:33). As he knew that his disciples would not escape it, he ends this sentence with "but take heart, I have conquered the world." Sometimes he lets us go through all kinds of perilous situations to make us understand that we have to depend entirely on him. This is how he frees us from fear and we can say with the psalmist: "The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I be afraid of?" (Ps. 27, 1).
The fear of attacks on our "me"
Every human being exhibits egocentric tendencies and feels distressed whenever his reputation is at stake. He hates making a fool of himself. It can manifest as fear of the exam, stage fright, or fear of doing something wrong. We can also be very attached to comfort, money or social position. The mere thought of having to give it up one day can engender terrible anguish.
It is about learning to recognize this tendency in all its manifestations, whether apparent or secret. Consider the example of Jesus. He did not seek his own glory, but that of his heavenly Father (Jn. 7:18). Let's stop always wanting to show off in front of others. The important thing is not who we are in the eyes of men, but what God thinks of us. Faced with his holiness, our self becomes tiny. Let us entrust our life to Almighty God. He is the master of our body.
Some people, from childhood, are anxious without really knowing the origin of these feelings. They lack self-confidence and suffer from an inferiority complex. They are assailed by the fear of not having done their job well or of having hurt someone by an inappropriate word.
When faced with a lack of confidence and fear of others, it is important to remember a fundamental truth: even the well-regarded man in the world is only a sinner before God. He, like each of us, needs to be redeemed. If we depend entirely on God, we will be independent of the opinion of those around us. Our faith, when properly placed, allows us to face others completely and freely. If we strive to do what pleases God, we will not have to wonder if we are pleasing to others or if we are doing the right thing. We can trust God to inspire us, at the right time, with the right understanding of things and the right decision.
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