Everyone faces fear.  Too often in my life and for those I love, fear acts as a destructive force, robbing us of trust in God, ourselves and each other.  Fear can block me from true life and from being who I am created to be– freely giving my love and gifts in the world.

I’m tired of being cheated by my fears.

So I’ve experimented with prayers around fear, and a little fun. I started making cartoon monsters out of them, giving them names and dragon scales and creepy tentacles. It’s festive, it’s cathartic, and it helps the fears seem less paralyzing. See the “Perfection Monster” drawing here– she’s ominous and haunting, the way she is in my self-judgment thoughts.

But I found a surprise: when I paid attention to the fears and made their portraits, I began to wonder if they were really “all-bad.” There they were, looking goofy like dragons and ghosts, and I started to wonder if they were hanging around for a reason; maybe to tell me something. (They did work awfully hard!)  I tried something different: being kind to the fears, and listening to them– even giving a little love and tenderness, like I might with a frightened child. “I’ll bet you’ve been hurt,” I imagined saying to my Perfection Monster. “Wanna tell me about it?”

Then something wonderful opened in me. With a little love, patience, and prayer, I began to see that this Perfection Fear Monster did indeed have a message for me: it said I wasn’t believing that my Self, my life, and my love were enough. It showed me that I didn’t trust myself to measure up to some elusive standard of “OK.” Of course it felt like a monster– this mistrust and judgment made me less than I truly am. But when I stopped, welcomed, and really heard her, the Perfection Monster was mysteriously transformed into the “Enough Angel.” My eyes were opened to see that she was a messenger from God or my wise Self, saying that I could learn to value myself and my life: I am enough. She brought me a chance to become more free!  (See Monster & Angel Series details.)  Now when the Perfection Monster shows up again, I try to remember that she’s there as an invitation to call on her healed/true nature, the Enough Angel.

I still wrestle with many monsters, for sure.  But now I know that a haunting fear can become a message to trust, if I listen with love. It takes practice to remember this, again and again, and again….  But try it yourself– finding more freedom from fear’s paralyzing power is worth the work.