There are people out there whom fear can kill.
A rare condition known as Long QT Syndrome afflicts a small part of the population. This condition can cause fatal arrhythmias or seizures that can come from being startled. This could be from anything. A loud car horn, a shout, Perhaps even test anxiety could bring on an episode. Anyone familiar with the musical Beetlejuice (which I am not) or the Season 9 episode 18 of the TV show Bones (formally named The Carrot in the Kudzu) would at least be aware of this condition’s existence, even if not in name.
I am not one of these people. And you are probably aren’t either. But fear has an uncanny way to kill us in a different way.
Fear is something I’ve struggled with for most of my life. It’s not something I like to talk about. It’s been described to me as long black tendrils of thorns wrapped around my heart and squeezing out its life. It’s not a pretty picture, but it is very true. Fear is not one of those things to take lightly. But somehow, it’s extremely enticing.
It’s one of those things that promises perfection. It never will call you outside of your comfort zone; in fact, it keeps you inside of it. Which is something a lot of people crave. Our comfort zones, as small or big as they are, is where we want to live our lives. Fear promises that we’ll never have to leave those little bubbles of safety. It promises nothing could ever hurt us, and that we will be safe forever. That’s how it starts.
It’s harmless, right? It’s just looking out for me, it can never hurt me. It promises everything will go well. No one could ever be mad at me again. It’s the perfect plan. It’s the perfect friend.
So you live with it. Yes, it has its downsides. So what, things you like now begin to look foreign? And things you can’t wait to share with someone just seem like reasons to keep your distance. Things you love become things that separate you from everything and everyone else. “Because you’re a freak!” it cries. “No one will ever understand! You’re too weird. Being passionate is not okay.”
Fear will do anything in its power to take away anything you need except for it.
It kills you slowly, not suddenly as in the case of Long QT Syndrome. It weaves its thorny tendrils around everything and everyone you care about. It sticks its painful, poison-tipped needles into your heart and never lets go. Before you barely take a breath you’ve been poisoned. All of a sudden your valued friend is now is deadly enemy. No longer does fear protect you. No longer does it keep you safe. It’s just a parasite, sucking out your life, making your heart look sickly and small. Keeping you back from friends, hobbies, love, things and people, and even your life itself.
I put my life in the hands of fear for a long time. For a long time it was my prized possession.
It’s no longer something I’m proud of.
But now I stand on a cusp; between dropping everything that I’ve been called to, and that I love with everything inside me, and something that quivers and constricts within my chest every time I want to share something I love with someone that may think it’s cool. Where I’m going there is not room for the war fighting itself inside my own heart. There is no time for both love, devotion, and joy for what God has placed inside me and inside others, and for the poisonous black tendrils killing my love slowly.
The Bible says “Perfect love casts out fear,” and isn’t that the war going on within me? The war between God-given love and the fear that holds me hostage?
I stand at a crossroads, between fear killing me or me killing fear. It comes down to what I love more. Do I love hearts more? Something God-given, that has spawned so many wonderful, soft, happy strong things within me? The thing that’s shown me the best side of me? Given life to all of the things I thought I was missing. Or do I choose fear? My friend-turned-assassin? Something good, and even healthy, taken so far I panic over a two minute song? Something I’ve even put before my health?
The choice seems clear.
I just hope you find the strength to kill the fear that’s been killing you.
~Of Stardust Veins