Recently I had a profound experience that rattled my foundations as it was revealed to me. I was asked to do something, which was very intimidating for me to do. It was extremely out of my comfort zone and I felt totally incapable, but it seemed there was no other alternative.
The deed had a time limit and in 2 hours I had to do it. With that realization, I was suddenly gripped with panic; completely paralyzed. I could hardly breathe, and in my mind I vigorously protested, “There is no way that I can possibly do this!”
A voice that changed my life
At this intense moment in time, I heard the words in my mind, “ANNE, WHO WOULD YOU BE WITHOUT FEAR?” All of a sudden it was as if the world stopped and everything became clear. Who would I be without fear? Well, (I thought about the situation at hand), without fear, I felt no anxiety, no negativity, and had the confidence and peace that I could do this. I had a “knowing” that no matter what happened, I would be ok. I even felt a sense of adventure, to attempt this new and untried experience. I marveled at the difference between how I NOW felt, in this moment of clarity and the way I felt just seconds earlier.
Fear vs. No Fear
My mind then did a fascinating and unpredictable thing. It was as if it put all the emotion of the fear in one box, and me transcending that fear, in another box. I was able to toggle between them. So, I went back to the paralysis of fear. There it was again, the gut-wrenching panic, dread and anxiety. I began to sweat again as I felt the impossibility of doing.
At this moment of alarm, I gratefully switched back to the peace where I felt only positive feelings. This process was so fascinating to me. I continued to feel the contrast, as I toggled back and forth to experience this difference.
Two hours to wait
I had 2 hours before I had to accomplish this thing, and because of this enlightening experience, I knew that I could either be panicked or peaceful, and I could choose. I chose peace. The two hours came and went. It could have been a living hell or a peaceful time. I didn’t know how the actual experience would turn out, but at least I didn’t need to waste those two hours in negative energy. Turns out, when the time came to “perform,” I could easily do what I thought I couldn’t do. I was sustained to do it, and it was no big deal. I was amazed!
Without fear, we are open to receive divine help. We become powerful beings. “inasmuch as you strip yourselves fromfears and humble yourselves before me, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am.” (D&C 67:10) Fear cripples us emotionally and strangles the lifeline of the Spirit. It is difficult to think clearly through the lens of fear, because it plunges us into darkness and we can’t see our way out. The amount of fear we feel is directly proportional to our level of faith. In other words, the more fear we have, the less faith we have at that moment.
Who would YOU be without fear?
Try this exercise. Next time you feel a fear begin to grip you, ask yourself, “Who would I be without fear?” Imagine what it would feel like to have no fear in your situation. Put all that fear in a “box,” and place the “you” without the fear in another “box.” If you like, you can go back and forth from the fearful position to the fearless position to experience the difference. Then, with God’s help, you will make the superior choice.
Some fear is necessary for survival – to help us run faster when pursued, or to avoid engaging in risky behavior, but generally fear is just the act of tying into negative energy and it hinders our progress. The Lord has said, “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D & C 6:36). He knows the vice grip that fear can have on us. He wants us to call on Him in Faith (positive thought and mental exertion). By doing this, we are confronting Satan in our mental battlefield, and using tools to defeat him.
When we focus on and are open to light, while letting go of any negative emotion, we elevate ourselves upward and become higher than the problem. From this elevated place, we can more easily see the solution. Peter actually walked on water for those few seconds that he chose faith over fear.
Who could you be without fear? Who could you be without doubt or resentment? Once we become aware of the power and assurance that is available, we can choose to expand upward into light rather than darkness.