When I looked up the exact definition for the word “cull“, I was surprised that my use of the word was not the primary definition. I would use the word in this fashion:

“I was able to cull my fear and cross the bridge.”

Maybe my use of the word is colloquial.

In the last week, I have been thinking about fear. I have been thinking about how people manage fear and specifically how differently men and women approach their fears.

I am a mother of two small boys. I think about how I am  raising them. I think about the lessons and skills I want them to have when they are of age to leave this refuge of our home and enter the world independently. I want them educated. I want them curious. I want them strong-willed but humble. I also must accept that I want them to be familiar with their fears. It got me thinking.

Fear is universal. Fear cannot be avoided. Christ repeatedly reassures the disciples and all his followers not to be afraid. More than he commands us to love, he commands us to NOT BE AFRAID. Jesus knew human nature. Fear may be  the remnant of Satan that dwells inside us. It is what knocks us down, holds us back, diminishes us. Fear cannot be cleansed until the Final day. But, fear can be culled, herded, managed. The first step is to acknowledge fear. In the movie, The Passion of the Christ, the devil is depicted pacing and hoovering on the fringes of the crowds around Jesus, he prowls and tempts our Lord in His darkest hours. He meets him in Gesthemane. Jesus does no cower. He acknowledges the devil. He faces Fear. He does not run. He did not hide. Was He faced with the bitter bile that churns in all of our bellies when fear prowls around us?

Women face fear differently then men. Could it be through pregnancy and childbirth? Is motherhood the ultimate testing ground for culling fear? I think so. To carry a life. To feel it grow. To know it is within your grasp to fail or succeed this new life. It forces fear into your mind. There is no escape. Each day, I send my sons into the world and I feel the wicked fear nip at my heels. I make provisions. I make adjustments. I cordone off choices and redirect my children, hoping to protect them. There will be time enough for them to face Fear. But not today.

But they are boys and will soon be men. Fear for men is a wholly different beast. Fear gnaws at the modern man. His proving grounds have shrunk. He does not hunt. He does not gather. He may not be the sole provider. He may not be faced with battle or war. There is no famine or plague. He is not needed as a protector. So, Fear has a large roaming ground. Fear can dig in. What is a man to do? How does he channel his feelings of failure. How does he redirect his fear into something constructive? Where is the outlet for his rage. Testosterone will not be denied. For the most part, modern man runs…..literally or figuratively. But running starts to feel like you are being stalked. Man becomes prey to the Beast. He started running to get away from Fear, but Fear likes a hunt.

Men must learn their own way to cull fear. Sports? Extreme leisure activity? Motorcycles? Bungee Jumping? Second wives? Career changes? All may force a man against his fears, but are they helpful?

I don’t know. I only know I have been thinking about fear alot this week.

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