What are you afraid of? Oh, let me count a few. Fear. Failure. Embarrassment. Humiliation. A strap showing. A runner in my hose. (More explicitly, people knowing there's a runner.) Falling on my face in the middle of the street. Again. Calling somebody the wrong name. Making a fool of myself. Forgetting something important, like the time I was the scheduled speaker and forgot to show up. That's been ten, fifteen years ago, but the fear and humiliation and shame remain. We fear fear and the familiar paralysis it spawns.
Step 4 directs us to list our fears, and a fearful task that is! The Big Book says of fear:
This short word somehow touches about every aspect of our lives. It is an evil and corroding thread; the fabric of our existence was shot through with it. It set in motion trains of circumstances which brought us misfortune we felt we didn't deserve. But did not we, ourselves, set the ball rolling? Sometimes we think fear ought to be classed with stealing. It seems to cause more trouble. (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 67-68)Stealing? Maybe. I haven't dealt with that one like I have with fear. It's not as crushingly familiar. Why should fear and stealing have anything in common? That one doesn't compute. At the same time, though, deep in the recesses of my mind, I know there's truth in the statement. So why? What have I done to deserve this fear? Stealing is wrong! Is fearing a crime? A sin?
Perhaps there is a better way--we think so. For we are now on a different basis; the basis of trusting and relying upon God. We trust Infinite God rather than our finite selves.... Just to the extent that we do as we think He would have us, and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity. (page 68)