The power of fear | Mark’s Remarks

You’ve heard the Franklin Delano Roosevelt quote over and over. 

“We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” We hear it and say “Yeah, yeah.  Heard it before.”  

But have we ever really listened to that quote and unpacked it? It’s very true.

Looking back on life, I can see time and time again how fear has driven me.  I can see how it has had an impact on family and friends. At times, fear  can be crippling.

Remember when we were kids? We learned about rejection early on, as it’s just the way of the jungle. Most likely, our first difficulties with relationships came with fear of rejection. Remember when someone told you for the first time that they didn’t want to play with you or that you couldn’t play? 

We feared or dealt with fear of rejection after that, didn’t we?

My buddies and I always liked hearing if a girl liked us first, even if it didn’t happen a lot. I mean heck, it was way easier to be bold and walk right up to a girl if you already knew she liked you.

Even now, many of us wait for someone else to make the first move. I wonder how many new friendships and relationships just don’t happen because everyone is afraid of the outcome.

Why are we so afraid?

“Hey, maybe we can all get together and have dinner or something soon.”  That’s pretty easy.  You call someone up and plan a get together. If people don’t repay the gesture or the relationship doesn’t continue, it’s not the end of the world.

We as Christians could certainly do a better job with fear. Faith ain’t easy.  But we could pray more earnestly about fighting fear.  

I can’t tell you the number of people (including myself) who will talk about their faith, yet are gripped with daily fears. Christians are racked with fear about their families. Christian parents are control freaks, helicopter parents and overbearing because they fear how their children will turn out or fear what “the church will say.” 


I see sullen and almost rude kids walking around the church, not knowing how to interact socially because their controlling, domineering Christian parents are pouncing on their every move. These kids are so controlled and so tied to their parents that they end up getting rebellious or never venture far from the side of their parents when they are adults.  

I’ve said this next thing a bunch of times, but I’ll say it again. Look at all the spoiled rotten kids in the world. My judgmental self has seen it a lot. Kids are raised to be the head of the household and always get their way. They rule the roost. Because they have no parents setting boundaries, and because little kids are not equipped with the skills to manage their lives completely (or the lives of their parents), kids grow up stressed out and anxious.  They end up needing therapy and medication. They are unable to fully interact with society because they are unable to control everyone else like they did their parents. Socially inept for the rest of their lives. A vicious cycle.  

More fear. Fear fostered and maintained by inept parenting.

There are people who fear happiness, I think.  There are people who fear everything going well, because they are always expecting “the other shoe to drop.” Someone asks you about your new job or your new home, yet at the end they manage to throw in a negative comment, just for good measure.  I mean, the whole story can’t be all 100 percent rosy. That creates fear.

Make sure you have some veiled criticism or negative at the end in order to guard yourself against things turning sour all of a sudden. Fearful people subscribe to “Murphy’s Law.”  You know, the whole “what can go wrong, will go wrong.”

I wonder how much better our lives would be if we could really, really trust God, throw caution to the wind, and not worry (as it is commanded in the Bible) about every little thing.  

What if we could step out of our comfort zone more often and initiate relationships, not fearing the response or the outcome?  

As parents, what would happen if we trusted God more with our children and didn’t hover and “domineer?”

Matthew 6:34. 

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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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