When Fear is Knocking…

“When fear knocks, hope goes to answer and faith is at the door.”

I work with adults trying to earn their GED/HSE (many of whom struggle with some sort of disability) or adults learning English as a second language. One student in particular has gone through a lifetime of trauma that has left her struggling to get back on her feet but has also left her with a lot of wisdom. While we were finishing up a poetry lesson, she began talking about her journey and sharing things she does to stay grounded and get through each day and this quote was one thing she brought up, after hearing it recently at a Bible study:

When Fear knocks, Hope goes to answer and Faith is at the door.”

Ever since then, it has completely consumed my mind.

When Fear knocks, Hope goes to answer and Faith is at the door.”

We all feel fear – that’s undeniable. But the level of fear we each go through is different and particular to every person and every situation. Sometimes fear is simply knocking on your door, giving you the opportunity to answer and send it away. But other times it’s whispering through the walls, making its presence known but refusing to be found. Or, maybe it’s stomping on the ceilings, causing the pounding in your head to match the pounding on the roof while always staying just out of reach. Regardless of where the fear is or what it’s doing, it’s there. So, what can you do?

Do you fight it?

Do you send your dog to the door to scare it away?

Do you drill nails in the wall to shut it up?

Do you hit the ceiling with a broom to knock it off?

How do you get rid of fear?

Easy – you use Hope.

There are a lot of things I’m afraid of. I’m afraid about relationships falling through. I’m afraid of jobs not working out. I’m even afraid of completely ridiculous things that have literally no explanation, like hyenas. Regardless of what I’m afraid of, the fear is there. And I’d be willing to bet that you have your own fears, too (some more rational than others). Sometimes the fear can be overwhelming – I know the fear is irrational but for some reason I can’t seem to shake it. But then I remember my trusty friend: Hope.

Hope doesn’t care about rationality because Hope itself isn’t always rational.

Twice a week I work with one student in teaching him English. When I first met him, he was incredibly shy and lacked confidence in his knowledge. Most of the time I asked him a question, he answered, “I don’t know,” and waited for me to give him the answer because he was afraid of being wrong. But lately, I will ask him a question and he’ll say, “I don’t know, but okay,” and tries because he hopes he is right. And ladies and gentlemen, that is the answer to defeating fear.

You don’t have to know. You don’t have to understand. You just have to fight one unknowing and irrational thing (fear) with another, better unknowing and irrational thing (hope).

Faith itself is scary, but don’t let it disguise itself as something that it’s not. Send Hope to the door and watch as what you thought was Fear transforms itself into something positive – something scary but for all the right reasons: Faith.

Light

Around ten o’clock every morning the sun shines through my room perfectly, allowing it’s warmth to soak my skin despite the freezing cold just beyond the walls. If I don’t have class or work or any other responsibilities, I’ll lay in bed and allow the warmth to fill me up. And, just like plants in the same way sun gives them life, I feel life flowing into me as well. I’ve learned this year about the importance of soaking up life. About letting light in every form it may come, be it the company of a friend or serenity of solitude, pour into you and fill the parts of you that so desperately needed it. Because sometimes you don’t know. You don’t know that that impromptu conversation with a stranger is going to turn into a sharing of stories that will leave you feeling giddy and nostalgic. You don’t know how that random drive will lead you to a beautiful place, filling you with a serendipitous memory you can call your own. You don’t know about the things that seem like a burden at the time, either. You don’t know how that person leaving your life was really making room for someone better, even if it was just yourself. You don’t know how that horrible moment was paving the way for a beautiful mind.

But even among all this unknowing, it’s hard to deny that life isn’t always working for you. We’re always going to outgrow a part of ourselves. And if you remember being younger and struggling to sleep as your legs kicked back and forth along the bed and the growing pains kept you up then you know that growth is not comfortable. In the same way that your body changed so will your life as a whole. You’re going to outgrow the person that you were; you’re going to outgrow the person that you are. In the midst of all that, you’re going to outgrow other things too: dreams, people, circumstances. The only reason it’s uncomfortable – the only reason it hurts – is because you don’t know what’s next. But if you can trust your body to grow into exactly who it’s meant to be, you can trust life to allow you to grow into who you’re meant to be.

You don’t have to know what’s going to happen to know it’ll be okay. Life is always working for you, not against you. It’s just a matter of sitting in the sun every chance you can get even if you know there’s nothing but cold around you.