• Mark

Fear NOT!

Guard Your Heart ...

Have you ever been in a situation that made you anxious? You couldn’t place where the fear was coming from or what it was you should be concerned about? The knot in your stomach was growing and the butterflies were turning into a swarm of bees. What causes that? How do you know something is wrong? Would it surprise you to know it was biological and it is as simple as how you are made?

My first time walking through the streets of Manhattan by myself were horrific. It felt as if there was a cement block on each shoulder and my feet were sticking to the sidewalk like a muddy road after an Iowa thunderstorm. Petrified is the only word that may come close to describing my feelings. Thinking it through, there was no logical reason to be afraid. It was still daytime, and the streets were packed with people. Like my mom always told me, “There’s safety in numbers.”

So why the fear?

It wasn’t the big city. After all, we had lived in some big cities like Dallas, Washington D.C. and our current home, Philadelphia. What could be causing so much angst?

It was my brain!

Growing up in Iowa, we would hear all the stories of crime and violence in New York City. Every night there was one crime story after another about how the New York Police Department had foiled the plans of diabolical criminals or caught a serial killer. Movies like Taxi Driver and the latest gangster movies filled the theaters. All this knowledge of “The City” was packed deep inside my brain. Even though thoughts of crimes and criminals were not on my conscious mind, my sub-conscious was working overtime trying to keep me safe. All that pent-up knowledge was creating a “fight or flight” response in my internal warning system. My cortisol levels must have been off the charts, ready to flood my body with adrenaline at a moment’s notice. Even though there was no logical reason to be afraid, my body had prepared itself for the worst. It took me years of traveling to New York City, even living there for a while before the feelings of fear subsided.

Getting rid of my fear was not a conscious act. In fact, it was the opposite, it was my subconscious that eradicated the fear. Over time, working in Manhattan and getting to know New Yorkers as some of the most kind and loyal people on the planet whittled away at my deep-seated fears. No longer was every New Yorker out to get me. Their kindness and “got your back” loyalty had replaced my fears with trust. A deep trust that told me if there was ever a problem, most anyone on the streets of New York would bend over backwards to help. To this day, it is that trust in who New Yorkers are that makes my heart jump with joy when someone tells me they are from “the City.”

So often it is what we are thinking, consciously or subconsciously, that gets in the way of what is truly happening around us. Scripture tells us to guard our hearts, for all things flow from our hearts. It doesn’t say guard your brain.

When we Love God and Love People; focusing our attention outward instead on ourselves, we stop listening to our brain and listen with our heart. Trusting in God is the fastest way to untie the knot in your stomach and get the butterflies to fly in formation.

Love God First!

& Love People ALL Ways!

Love People Compassionatly by:

“Loving First, Giving First, Serving First and Trusting First!"

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