Southern style: fear itself

tsj column writers - southern styleBy Randall Franks

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself” were some words that the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt shared with the nation at a time when the people were in need of comfort.

Do you ever find yourself afraid?

It manifests itself differently sometimes depending on the circumstances.

In some folks their insides curl up and squirm; the heart beats faster; there is an increased sensitivity to everything in their environment, while others feel trapped within themselves sinking into crying or freezing from dread.

I have felt fear several times in my life. There is what we may consider good fears – those spurred from watching a scary film or TV show or going through a haunted house. I did that quite a bit as a youth but find myself steering away from that now.  There are also fears that tell us when we are steering from the path we should be on whether physically or spiritually.

I know that I have felt this in both cases, it is sort of a sixth sense that you need to be cautious and aware.

Do we always listen to the fear? No at times we don’t and sometimes that is to our detriment and other times it is to our benefit.

I am sure that many people who serve and protect us experience a sense of fear as they do their various jobs as police, fire fighters and military but they must overcome them to help others.

As individuals we can sometimes allow our fears to become so pervasive that they dominate our lives. From a fear of germs we are constantly using antibacterial lotion; from a fear of making a mistake, we check a job over again and again.

From childhood I have fought to overcome fears – fears of being bullied by others, fears of failure, fears of not being good enough. I have awakened in the night in a cold sweat, heart beating fast, stomach in knots, simply afraid. I fear the consequences of something I have said; some perceived error in judgment, failure in character, shortcoming that makes me feel inadequate in the goals I have set for myself or in the expectations of others.

These have not all brought on the extreme fear reaction mentioned above but they are all concerns that I think each of us face in our own way at some point in our lives.

Fear can be an all-consuming force that will destroy our lives if allowed but if recognized for the barometer it is meant to be, fear is there to help protect us.

For me, when I find myself with a spirit of fear invading my well being when it is especially unwarranted, I stop and pray for God to ease the fear and forgive me for whatever known or unknown action may have brought it about.

While this does not eliminate the ultimate possibility that whatever was feared may come to pass, it does help center my mind, body and spirit back to where it needs to be – on God.

We all make mistakes that can throw our lives into unanticipated turmoil and bring on that sense of fear for the consequences, the measure of each of us, is how we face those fears.

Randall Franks is an award-winning musician, singer and actor. He is best known for his role as “Officer Randy Goode” on TV’s “In the Heat of the Night” now on WGN America. His latest CD release, “Mississippi Moon,” is by Crimson Records. He is a member of the Independent Country Music Hall of Fame. His latest book is “Encouragers I : Finding the Light.” He is a syndicated columnist for http://randallfranks.com/ and can be reached at rfrankscatoosa@gmail.com.


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