Question: I realize that love and humility are Christian virtues, but what about when you see injustice? I sometimes get so upset when I read about some of the terrible things going on in the world. Is it always wrong to be angry?
Answer: “Don’t be quick to fly off the handle” is one interpretation of the scriptural advice about anger,1 but it doesn’t mean that we should never be stirred up about anything.
One sunny afternoon roughly seventy years ago, a young girl and her friends were watching through the mesh of a barbed wire fence as a group of men played football [soccer], enjoying the excitement of the game and the skill of the players. Suddenly, a kick sent the ball in an arc over the fence, and it landed near the children.
“It’d be great to have a ball to play with,” one of the boys remarked. “Let’s keep it.”
My eye is on the sparrow as she flutters about in search of food and a place to nest. She trusts Me, and I guide her to a resting place. She doesn’t worry about what she doesn’t have. She just goes about her day and trusts that I will provide her needs. How small and numerous are the sparrows, and yet I know and watch over them all. I remember and care for each one.
You, My child, are far more precious to Me than all the sparrows combined, and if I show such concern for these small and seemingly insignificant creatures, will I not also care for you?
Being afraid is like being trapped in a small, dark room. The darkness can be so thick it feels suffocating. You reach out, but you can’t find the exit. But find the light switch, turn on a light, and everything changes. Even a small light helps you get your bearings and shows you the way out.
One thing that doesn’t help when you’re afraid or worried is pretending that the fear will go away if you ignore it. Fear must be dispelled. You need to find the way out.
Question: Sometimes I feel like I’m being overcome with worries. What can I do to stop worrying so much?
Answer: Who doesn’t worry sometimes? We worry about what’s going to happen in the world. We worry about failing in school or in our work. We worry that we won’t be able to make ends meet financially. We worry about how we’re going to make up for mistakes we’ve made or opportunities we missed. We worry about our future. We worry about losing the ones we love. We worry about so many things!
You need to give a toast at your best friend’s wedding, or make an acceptance speech for an award you’ve won, or sell a group at work on a new project—and you’re dying inside because this is one speaking engagement you can’t say no to.
You aren’t alone. Also known as glossophobia, the fear of public speaking is one of the very most common fears. As with any fear, the best way to overcome glossophobia is to deal with it at its roots.
Once upon a time there was a little girl who spent her days sitting beside a pond, watching a frog on a lily pad. The little girl knew that the frog was probably a prince, and the frog—who was indeed a prince—knew that the little girl could kiss his nose and break the magic spell that a wicked witch had cast on him. But the little girl on the bank of the pond was too shy to begin a conversation with the frog, and the frog simply could not bring himself to tell her how badly he wanted her to kiss him. So the little girl went on sitting there, watching the frog. And that is the end of the story.
God is our best defense against fear—and against the things we fear.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.—Psalm 46:1–2
Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.—Psalm 91:14–15
It is widely believed that we are born with only three fears: fear of loud noises, fear of falling, and fear of abandonment. These, according to some psychologists, are hardwired into our nature; all others are acquired. Fear of spiders, fear of the dark, fear of dentists, and the rest are programmed into our psyche through either firsthand experience or information we take in.
Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.
—André Gide (French writer, humanist, and moralist; 1869–1951)
Great deeds are usually wrought at great risks.
—Herodotus (Greek historian; 490–430 bc)