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My friend is going through a rough patch. Ann (not her real name) is out of work and has been for a period of months. She doesn’t have a place of her own. Friends have opened their home for her to stay with them, and she is thankful for their generosity, but there’s no denying that this circumstance has been hard on her. She is worried about the future. And who can blame her? How long before she gets gainful employment, a place of her own, and some independence and stability in her life? A woman of faith, Ann was struggling. Where was God? Did he hear her prayers? She started feeling like her joy was gone and fear had taken its place. You can’t blame her for being discouraged. You and I would have felt the same way, had we been in her shoes.
Ann decided to take a page from a child’s imagination. She was going to play “make believe.” She was going to act like she was living in the Land of No Fear–a fictitious place where nothing was wrong. She determined to live like this for a weekend. She pretended that all was well and that there was nothing to worry about. She sang in the shower. She greeted those around her with effusive embraces and was able to listen attentively to their stories. She felt loving and confident…and happy, the happiest she had felt in months.
After a weekend of living in the Land of No Fear, Ann braced herself for a return to reality when Monday rolled around. But it struck her that maybe she wasn’t pretending, after all. The Bible says that “Perfect love casts out fear.” Maybe her true reality was that God’s love was sufficient to sustain her, through the worries and doubts. The Bible also says in II Timothy 1:7 that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love and a sound mind.” Ann trusted in these truths, leaning on them, throughout that weekend. And I know that she has now decided to keep doing so.
There was wisdom in Ann’s experiment. At a nutrition conference I attended recently, I heard someone say: “Gratitude and fear are both located in the same region of the brain. It’s impossible to experience these emotions simultaneously.” As we approach thanksgiving, I want each of us to step into the Land of No Fear. We move in when we release our doubts, anxieties, and concerns, and trust that God’s love is sufficient to sustain us. The Land of No Fear is not a fairy tale; it is a reality we can live in, every single day.
Hilda Labrada Gore is the DC metro Regional Director and Director of Communications for Body & Soul Fitness and teaches classes in Washington, DC. She is also the host of the Wise Traditions podcast. For more encouragement from Hilda, go to holistichilda.com.