I noticed recently that two thrillers were playing at the movies, both with the word fear in the titles.
The promotional material for these films reminded me that there was a time when I was often afraid. I couldn't walk the streets at night without feeling apprehensive about becoming a victim of crime. There was also the threat of terrorism in my city, and an active political group was frequently planting bombs. One of these bombs went off in a mailbox moments after my dad had driven right by it.
In the years since then, I've learned better how to deal with fear. How? By becoming conscious of God's love and power. By learning how understanding God brings signs of safety into one's experience. Now, instead of identifying myself as fearful - full of fear, I try to be prayerful - full of prayer. I pray to God about everything, including serious concerns such as crime and terrorism. Because I've seen that practical proofs of healing have resulted from my efforts to understand God more and more, I've become convinced prayer can heal anything. This brings inner peace. Anyone can find the same lessening of fear.
No, this change for the better in me didn't come in a moment. And yet there were specific moments of progress in gaining freedom from fear. Many of these moments came through pondering the Scriptures and a companion book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Church that publishes this newspaper.
For instance, I vividly remember reading a passage in the Bible that helped me. The Revelator prophesied, "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it" (2:17). In the Bible, manna was the name given to the substance that fed the Israelites daily while they wandered in the desert without other food. As I thought about this promise, it seemed to be saying that as we "overcome" materialistic thinking - thoughts that don't come from God - we are fed with the "hidden manna" of God's inspired thoughts. We consciously say "no" to thoughts of fear and evil. They are untrue and powerless because God isn't their source. Then we listen to God's ideas, flowing to us constantly. Ideas like the ever-presence, control, and total power of God over all creation. This manna is hidden to the physical senses, but we've all been given spiritual sense to discern it.
As a result of this spiritual insight from God, a "white stone" - which I think of as a clean mental slate - is gained. A God-given, purified state of thought and a spiritually renewed life come to light, unique to each one of us.
That night I began to think about the "new name," or true nature, that is promised to all in this biblical prophecy. For instance, that our true identity is spiritual; we're created by God in His image and likeness. This identity, which Christ Jesus showed through his healing works, reflects God. In daily life, we see it when we see people expressing spiritual, Godlike qualities such as tenderness, wisdom, unselfish love, and spiritual power.
One "name" that really stood out to me that night was fearless. The real nature of each of us, as God's child, is absolutely without anxiety or terror. What a contrast to the image of myself I had been holding until then. This really felt like a very new, very precious name.
I have since taken this new name to heart. I have increasingly felt empowered to refuse to be fearful, particularly in accepting responsibilities that I would otherwise have found daunting. I have also suffered a lot less from poor health than before. This makes sense; rising free of fear, through an understanding of the divine Mind, or God, heals sickness and prevents future ill health. Science and Health says: "Fear is the fountain of sickness, and you master fear and sin through divine Mind; hence it is through divine Mind that you overcome disease.... Fear, which is an element of all disease, must be cast out to readjust the balance for God" (Pgs. 391-392).
Confidence is natural to you and me because we are the children of God's creating. Your true nature is fearless now!