Is a man passive? This is a favorite topic for discussion over lunch with girlfriends throughout America. I know, I know, men talk about sports. But, we all know women talk about men.
If anyone at your house seems passive, maybe they are just frozen with fear. It doesn’t have to be your hubby, it can be your wife, your kids, your parent, your friend. When we understand how fear affects us all, we are cultivating relationship super-powers. Plus, we can give the people we love the credit they deserves.
Experts tell us all people respond to fear in three ways: freeze, flee, or Fight.
All our relationships will be better off, if we study up on fear. That’s great news for those of us wanting fellowship all the way around. How do we beat the heck out of fear? By recognizing what our responses to fear really mean.
For instance, if your spouse tends to freeze at the first sign of conflict, this actually is a good thing. They may be a natural at the first step in beating fear, pausing. For some of us, pausing is not a natural step at all. Pausing for a moment can be excruciating to for folks, say like me, whose natural response to fear is to fight to make things better. Taking a moment to pause and access the situation is a very healthy response to danger. By doing so, people who pause naturally are in a much better position to protect relationships and family.
It turns out that the best strategy for beating the heck out of fear has three steps: 1) to Pause, 2) to Pray, 3) then, to Proceed judiciously.
Often, people who freeze simply don’t want to make things worse. The fact that they feel afraid is actually proof that they value the relationship. The person who pauses naturally is a gift to your family. You can help by encouraging that loved one to move to the next step: praying through for some judicious action points.
Even more than sharing my own discoveries, I’d love to hear from you. What have you learned about fear? When has freezing affected your family? What advice do you have for the rest of us?
Since fear is such a personal topic, may I pray for you? Dear God, You don’t give us a spirit of fear. Instead You provide sound ways of thinking and loving our family. Please comfort us with Your own dear presence. Thank you for this dear one who spent a few minutes thinking about how fear affects the family. Teach us to pause in Your presence for the wisdom we seek, rather than being frozen with fear. We praise You because You are mighty and full of comfort. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Cathy Primer Krafve, aka Checklist Charlie, lives and writes with a Texas twang. Sign up for her blog at cathykrafve.com.