By Katie Penfield

Throughout my life, I’ve struggled with how to deal with fear. As the world grapples with the belief of a deadly viral disease, fear seems to be dominating many people’s thoughts. 

It’s easy to let this overwhelming sense of fear come in when we aren’t in control of our thoughts. One thing I continually remind myself is that God is the true creator of our spiritual identity, and this identity can’t be impacted by human circumstances. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I cling to these words written by Mary Baker Eddy in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “We should master fear, instead of cultivating it” (197:16).  

When we master fear, we come to an understanding that it cannot manipulate our thoughts or actions. We are reminded of the perfect peace and understanding that has always existed. An example of how I handled a sense of fear in my own life came during my college abroad to Malta. While on the abroad, some fellow classmates and I attended a music festival which drew crowds of several thousand people. As I was standing there waiting for the performances to begin, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that my safety was at risk. Unable to stop myself, I blurted out: “What if there was a shooting right now?” One of the students heard me and turned to me with concern. Immediately they asked me, “Katie, why would you say something like that? We are perfectly safe here.”

That immediate contradiction to my fearful thought reminded me of the reality that I was actually safe in God’s encircling arms. I didn’t need to worry about my safety because I knew I was in God’s kingdom, and this safety wasn’t dependent on my physical environment. As I reflect on that experience, I am so grateful for my classmate for promptly rebuking my fearful statement; I was instantly calmed and felt a completely renewed sense of freedom from my mortal being. 

There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, and we may feel fearful, but we must cling to the ideas of goodness, peace, and love.

We each have the divine right to be free, now and forever. Regardless of who we are with or where we are in the world, God’s Love never wavers from its firm stand against error of any kind. We are the masters of our bodies, and we are free from material shackles that tell us otherwise.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “cultivate” means “to foster the growth of.” To me, when Mrs. Eddy tells us not to cultivate fear, she means that we don’t have to let it grow in our thought. Once we realize this, we have the capacity to be free and joyful in any situation. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, and we may feel fearful, but we must cling to the ideas of goodness, peace, and love. We can foster the understanding that Divine Mind elevates our thought above any material uncertainty. This understanding can bring us clarity, and fear will no longer manipulate our thoughts and actions. We each can go forward knowing our true identity is never inhibited.

As the semester ends, we can go forward with a powerful reminder: “Love is the liberator” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 225:21). We are Principia, and we are free. 

Featured photo courtesy of Antoine Julien on Unsplash.