This article, from relationship guru Elia Gourgouris, appears in today’s edition of the Mormon Times.
By Elia Gourgouris
All human emotions find their genesis in one of these two camps: either the faith camp or the fear camp. This might sound like a bold statement, but let’s break it down and see if it’s true.
First off, what feelings, emotions, thoughts or even actions are found in the fear camp? Do you feel stressed, anxious, depressed, pessimistic, addicted, inadequate, uncertain, discouraged, angry, lost, alone or mistrustful? Actually who doesn’t relate to at least a few of these emotions lately? A recent national survey found that 75 percent of Americans are stressed, anxious and angry — and given many of the current national and worldwide situations, who can blame them?
I dare say that every one of us has “visited” this camp at least periodically in our lifetime. The point is not that we shouldn’t be fearful or we shouldn’t set foot in the fear camp. It is part of the human experience and is entirely normal. The point is that we don’t have to remain there permanently. In fact this really should be one of our goals in life: to make shorter visits to the fear camp.
So if I used to stay stressed for a few months at a time, maybe I can reduce it to a few weeks. If feelings of inadequacy ruled my life for weeks at a time, maybe I can reduce them to a few days. If I have days of feeling discouraged, maybe I can try wallowing in the muck for just a day. If I’m feeling uncertain about the future today, maybe I remain in that state for just a few hours.
So what is the cure? Unlike the popular show, “The Fear Factor,” I believe the answer is “The Faith Factor.” I would love to create a coin, but instead of heads or tails we find the word “faith” on one side and “fear” on the other. One of the wonderful things about being human and having the gift of agency is that in life we don’t have to flip the coin to see what comes up.
Our lives are not left up to chance. We have a choice to make and choosing faith will have the greatest impact in how we live our lives. Even though it’s difficult, choosing faith immediately eliminates the fear. If we want to go from just surviving to thriving, faith is the only way!
Some of the attributes found in the faith camp include hope, optimism, light, security, cheerfulness, confidence, trust, happiness and peace. When visiting the “faith camp” we are in tune with the Spirit. We are comforted in the knowledge that all is well. I know that some may argue the point of “all is well.” Haven’t I been watching the news? Am I in denial of how bad things are? The prognosticators are spelling g-l-o-o-m and d-o-o-m everywhere!
Faith is remaining at peace, even while in the middle of the storm! I’ve often proclaimed that I am the most faithful person on the planet — when everything is going right! When things are working out, my gratitude abounds, but that’s the easy part.
The question is, can I be faithful when everything seems to go wrong? When my dreams, aspirations, expectations or plans go awry, then what do I do? Will I just flip the coin and see what comes up, or will I consciously choose to activate the faith side?
How often is the word faith mentioned in the scriptures, and why does God want us to be more faithful? Most likely because God loves us and cares for our well being, and faith is the critical link between our experience here on the earth and His unseen hands working for our welfare on the other side. So let us choose faith over fear more often and enjoy the wonderful life-long benefits!
Dr. Elia Gourgouris is a nationally known speaker, relationship coach, and the president of LDSCoaching.com. You may enjoy taking a look at his blog, Ask Dr. Elia.