Fear can take up a huge amount of space in our hearts. When we are afraid, truly afraid, it seems like nothing can pull us up out of our hiding spots. Sometimes, fear can completely and totally overwhelm and overcome our hearts and our minds.
So why have that feeling at all? Because our lizard brains.
Twice last month I heard the term “lizard brain” when referring to the most basic, primal parts of our brain, located around the brain stem. Psychology Today describes it as “the part of the brain that is phylogenetic ally very primitive. Many people call it ‘The Lizard Brain’ because the limbic system is about all a lizard has for brain function. It is in charge of fight, flight, feeding, fear, freezing-up, and fornication.”
I love a good alliteration.
When we feel threatened, our body immediately starts pumping blood to our extremities, preparing our limbs for either a fight or to run away. The problem is that all the blood going to our limbs means that some of the blood for our brains gets relocated and therefore our brains don’t work as well as the usually do. Our logical reasoning tends to go right out the window and our basic, primal, lizard brain takes over to protect us.
One of my favorite cheesy bible-ism is that the words “do not be afraid” appear 365 times in the Bible. One for every day of the year.
While that’s not exactly true, and is really kind of silly, I think it’s interesting that we are told to not fear. For our lizard brains, that means don’t run away or fight.
In essence, God is telling us over and over to ignore those basic instincts, and instead, rely on God to keep us whole and safe.
So much easier said than done.
I’m afraid all the time. Right now I’m afraid of taking this teaching test tomorrow. I’m afraid of the fertility treatment I’m about to start. I’m afraid of next year and job security. I’m afraid I’m messing it all up.
That fear has the ability to completely paralyze me.
But when I am paralyzed, it’s impossible for me to see the good things happening through my fears.
I am being made stronger. I am relying on God and on peace and hope when I feel like I can’t make a move. I have to trust. I have to be able to find joy in other ways.
Fear can control us, or we can control the way fear manifests itself in our lives. We can freeze or run away or fight it off, or we can experience fear as part of a greater plan that is bringing us goodness everyday of our lives.
Do not be afraid. Lean on God. Find joy in the peace that God brings.
Guys. My dad wrote a blog post. I’m putting it up tomorrow morning and I’m so excited to share it with you!!
Ps… that image was part of the opening credits to the 90s TV show “Are You Afraid Of The Dark?” A show I shouldn’t have ever watched.