Fear Itself

Photo by Tim Trad on Unsplash

Fear is useful when it guides us — but it becomes dangerous when it governs us.
~Empire’s End, Chuck Wendig

It’s time to admit my nerd status. And I don’t even care. I have been reading the new canon of Star Wars books and have really enjoyed them. In the Aftermath series by Chuck Wendig, we get a glimpse of the last gasp of the Empire and the early struggles of the New Republic.

This particular line comes from an exchange between Gallius Rax and a young Armitage Hux. That second name may sound familiar if you are familiar with the Star Wars movies. Hux eventually becomes General Hux of the First Order. He was the son of a high ranking Imperial, and eventually is the one who starts training for a new generation of storm troopers past the Outer Rim.

Of course, the ironic thing about this line is that it is said by somebody who is looking to reestablish the power of the Empire, which primarily governed by fear. As you can image by the name of the book, Rax is ultimately unsuccessful in his attempt.

But this line, for whatever reason, stuck out to me as I was reading the story. It made me think about what we allow to govern us in our lives. People who act out of fear have a wide variety of ways to act out.

Some turn to conspiracy groups and theories that allow them to think they have more power and knowledge than they really do. Some lash out like a cornered animal, desperately trying to get out of whatever situation they find themselves in. Still others run and hide, trying to disappear into the shadows, hoping that whatever scares them will simply pass by.

But the truth is none of these are ways to build a life. None of these are principles that we want to govern us.

My son is going through a phase right now where he says he is scared to do things. Things like… brush his teeth, walk down the hallway to go to the bathroom, get dressed for the day. I don’t think he is really scared, I think he just doesn’t want to do those things. But what I tell him is that we can’t be brave if we aren’t afraid.

Bravery, courage — those are attributes we lift up in our society, and for good reason. But neither of them come without some trepidation. Neither of them come without facing our fears.

So, how will you interact with your fear this week? Will you allow it to guide or govern? It’s your choice.

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