There are at least two thousand known phobias. From Novercaphobia (fear of your step-mother) to Pogonophobia (fear of beards) to Syngenesophobia ( fear of relatives,) there’s a named fear for nearly everything in our lives.
But for babies, there are really only two measured fears – fear of falling and a fear of loud noises. Everything after that point is learned.
After a stint in my crawl space and another in the attic, I found my fear. Stenophobia, a fear of narrow places. Or perhaps it’s Claustrophobia – a fear of confined spaces. I don’t know where I got those fears, but they are real. I remember being locked in the trunk of my mom’s 69 Oldsmobile once, courtesy of a little brother who dared me to jump in. That might have had something to do with it.
Fear of Failure
I have a few other fears that pop up every once in awhile, but the fear of failure is a biggie. And this is a terrible thing for a writer to have. “Will anyone read this. Will they like it? Will it make sense? Am I using the right voice? Am I using too many question marks?” Failure dogs every step of the writer’s life.
Our learned fears come from letting someone down at some point, of not living up to lofty expectations of a coach, a parent, or a teacher. It comes at the hand of an imperfect man or woman living in a narrowly defined world of rules and regulations. It comes from letting myself down.
I could name off a half-dozen events in my life that seem to be markers in my mind – failures. The fence fell, thetrain came off the track, the cork blew, or whatever expression you want to use – I let others down. I disappointed God. I failed myself.
But I am not defined by my mistake. That’s not who I am in God’s eyes. The rush to failures is less about reality and more about perception.
This is isn’t some feel good philosophy. It’s the truth. Satan loves to dig in and whisper in my ear, repeating the same tape in my brain of failures, disappointments, and bombs that I’ve lobbed into my life.
That’s why, every day, I have chance to start again. I have a chance to “be transformed by the renewing of my mind.”
Now, I won’t be a success at everything. I can’t slam dunk a basketball. I can’t start a fire quicker than Bear Gryliss. I can’t grow a Duck Dynasty Beard. But just because I can’t do something well – – or at all – doesn’t make me a failure.
What are you afraid of?