Last week, I wrote a post about Fear where I asked the following questions about a girl who is dating a nice, Catholic guy but is not sure she feels a spark towards him:
- Could her fears (and perfectionism) be keeping her from getting serious with this guy?
- Are your fears keeping you paralyzed and keeping you from trusting God?
- What should this girl do?
Wow, I received a lot of email and a good number of comments about that post. If anything, that should proved that fear about marriage is a very common experience. The difficulty with this topic is that fear can be paralyzing but it can also be good. Yes, fear can be a healthy emotion because it can protect us by giving us feelings of hesitation. This could be the Holy Spirit’s prompting us and saying ‘don’t go there.’
But how do you know which one is causing the fear? This post will discuss Paralyzing Fear and in Fear: Part 3 I will discuss Healthy Fear.
“Don’t be afraid, because I am with you. Don’t be intimidated; I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will support you with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Paralyzing fear keeps us from doing and trusting in God’s will. It can be caused by pride, shame, perfectionism, unconfessed sin and an unforgiving heart. The good news is that He wants to heal us of our fears. He is our God. He will “strengthen and support us with His right hand.”
Pride and Shame
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” Psalm 139:23-24
I was straight up with this dear reader. I asked her if maybe, just maybe, she felt this nice, Catholic guy was not impressive enough for her family and friends. Does she care too much about what others think?
Our insecurities and the shame we feel concerning our imperfections can lead us to want a guy who is impressive so that we will appear impressive. It is as if this impressive guy will prove to the world that we are worthy of being loved.
This can lead us to reject a guy who, although he is impressive in all the right ways, may not be impressive to the world. Unless we are healed of our pride and shame, we will continue to reject these God-given opportunities. And, over time, the opportunities may dwindle.
Perfectionism, Sin and Forgiveness
“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” Psalm 66:18
You may be wondering why I put these three topics (perfectionism, sin and forgiveness) together. The reason is because I think there is a connection. Sometimes our perfectionism is driven by not recognizing and accepting our human condition. We don’t recognize our need for God and His grace so we struggle with trying to control everything on our own. Then, when we fail, we blame ourselves.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:14
The Sacrament of Confession is the perfect medicine for healing us of our perfectionism. First, the humility and grace we receive from confessing our faults “to each other” (a priest, according to Jesus) is very healing. Letting go of unforgiveness of others is also freeing. Finally, forgiving ourselves is very healing.
Being healed of perfectionism, sin and unforgiveness of others and yourself is key to eliminating fear and trusting God.
I Am Already Doing That!
What is that you say? You are already going to confession and living a Sacramental Life in Christ? Wonderful! Then you are being healed and you just need to keep walking that path with the Lord. Which is what I had to do….
I wanted God to heal me of my faults but instead He healed me of my fears through a long process. This is a much better deal because, as you grow older, new fault lines appear in your armor. The virtue of Fortitude, gained from God’s grace from the Sacraments and right relationship with Him, however, will help you overcome future fears and thrive in your marriage and life of faith.
Yes, you will still feel fearful. But your fears will not be paralyzing. And, grace and fortitude will enable you to trust. Trust that God knows exactly what He is doing.
“I am the LORD who heals you” Exodus 15:26
God knows your faults. He knows your fears. He knows how to heal you. He wants to heal you so that you can “glorify Him by your life.”
Prayer For Healing
As a single girl, I prayed the Prayer for Peace of Mind found below.
These days, this is my prayer:
“Please give me Your peace that surpasses all understanding. Please heal me of my irrational fears and give me peace about my faults, my flaws, my failures, my mistakes, my past and my future.”
What Should She Do?
So back to my dear reader who is feeling uncertain about her guy? What if the fear she is feeling is a healthy fear? In Part 3, Healthy Fear, I will tell you exactly what I advised her to do!
As always, you are welcome to email me at email@example.com
God love and bless you!
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