Nov 13, 2016 filed under Commandments, Justice.

virtue vs godzilla

Fear is the enemy of virtue. Some fear is useful — keeping ahead of a grizzly bear or a tsunami helps us survive. But being haunted by bad events from long ago, like being scared by a 60-story Godzilla lumbering across the big screen, is not so helpful.

Virtue is a balancing act. To choose the best action, we draw from our strengths, experiences, knowledge, and lots of other factors, including our fears. The “fear factor” can be a clue to what is keeping us from spiritual growth.

At a talk last night, the speaker asked us to write down what we are afraid of. A fear inventory? Not fun. If I admit what I’m afraid of, it brings my weaknesses to light. Don’t want to do that. But spiritual growth means being free of old ghosts, and I do want that, so here goes.

I’m afraid of being ignored, as if it would extinguish my existence. I’m afraid of being yelled at, because the distance it puts between me and the one who’s mad is too painful – as if they’ll never love me again, ever, and I’ll disappear into outer darkness.

Looking at the two fears, I see they have a lot in common — I’m putting too much weight on what others think, even giving them power over my existence! That’s a kind of idolatry because my existence is between God and me, not between me and other people. And I wouldn’t have seen that if I had not written down those fears. I can use this new insight to search out the root of the fear, bring it to light, and wave goodbye to Godzilla.

I invite you to grab your flashlight and do the same. Write down the top two things you’re afraid of. Ask God to give you insight into those fears. Ask Him to shine his healing mercy into those dark places.

Then, write down three things you’re grateful for. Thank God for them. No matter how bad the fearful things seemed, gratitude puts them in their place. Godzilla becomes the two-dimensional man-made monster he really is.

Or as St. Paul put it: For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature (including Godzilla) will be able to separate us from the love of Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8: 38-39).

Love always,


7 Responses to “God vs. Godzilla”

  1. Bridget

    Just beautiful Rose, as always!
    I was taught FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real…thank you for all you do!

  2. Tom Roberts

    Bridget’s observation that fear is False Evidence Appearing Real has historical significance. General Walter Short, fearing sabotage by local Japanese-Americans had all the aircraft parked wingtip to wingtip surrounded by guards; an easy bombing target for the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In all, 188 American planes were lost. By February 1942, out of fear and racism, nearly 120,000 Japanese Americamns on the west coast were rounded up and put into internment camps. Their sons volunteered for military service and became the most decorated soldiers of WWII. Hearing of the death of Franklin Roosevelt, Japanese soldiers in Europe led a charge “For the old man” in honor of the president who had signed executive order 9066, the order for their incarceration. Their loyalty had overcome fear AND resentment.

    • Rose Folsom

      Thanks for sharing that striking real-life of example of personal integrity overcoming fear and resentment. So inspiring!

  3. Rose Folsom

    This arrived via email from a religious Brother:
    Rose, Thank you for this. I like to think there is a difference between fear – that feeling of angst over something we are clearly aware, such as an on-coming hurricane, and anxiety which is fear over things unknown, which can quickly become “global.” In this case fear can be good, but anxiety is really never any good. However, I think your prescription is good. I also read your article on standing up for what you believe without going ballistic. Wish I had read this long before today. Yes, Gratitude is not only a heavier good on the scales, it is also never a waste of time – which anger and heat and emotionality can often be, so often fraught as it is with – anxiety(ies). Thank you for these great insights. I believe you could create a collection of these suitable for publication. People would surely find useful a small pocket-sized volume of this counsel very handy.

  4. Gretchen Elson

    I have just joined Virtue Connection and pleased with this first exposure. I view fear as a repudiation of my faith in God; lack of fear shows I know whatever happens is His will and everything eventually will be okay. About the only thing I truly fear is the loss of those I love. My father died of a heart attack very unexpectedly at age 56. Thereafter, I was terrified to see my husband leave for work or my kids to go off to school. What if they died and I never saw them again! And then it was through calligraphy, working on a project for a class, that I came upon the quote we have all heard so many times: If you regret yesterday and fear tomorrow, you miss the most important day of all–today. Thereafter, I just have made sure to say I love you often and give loved ones a good hug before we part. Why be frightened and worry about something that may never happen? If bad things do happen, there will be plenty of time to worry then and pray for God’s help.