Barbara Brown Taylor writes in The Preaching Life:
Fear is a small cell with no air in it and no light. It is suffocating inside, and dark. There is no room to turn around inside it. You can only face in one direction, but it hardly matters since you cannot see anyhow. There is no future in the dark. Everything is over. Everything is past. When you are locked up like that, tomorrow is as far as away as the moon.
People can stop by and tap on your walls. They can even bang on the door to show you where it is, but when you are afraid you cannot open up. They might not be who they say they are. They might just make things worse. It is safer to stay where you are, where you know what is what, even if you cannot breathe, even if you cannot move. That is how fear feels.
-- She hits it right on the head. My fears aren't so much automatic fears, responsive fears about the moment I'm in, as they are future fears. And my uber-active, introverted brain delves into them waaaaaaaay too much and too far. About big things, about little things. About things that could happen, things that have a .01% chance of happening. Things that I make up and overblow that will never happen. "It is safer to stay where you are, where you know what is what"-- yes, it is, except I don't know what is what. I just think what I think and I can't stop thinking because then the something bad will sneak up on me.
Belief is something else altogether, although it is not what some would have us believe. It is not a well-fluffed nest, or a well-defended castle high on a hill. It is more like a rope bridge over a scenic gorge, sturdy but swinging back and forth, with plenty of light and plenty of air but precious little to hang onto except stories you have heard: that it is the best and only way across, that it is possible, that it will bear your weight.
All you have to do is believe in the bridge more than you believe in the gorge, but fortunately you do not have to believe in it all by yourself. There are others to believe it with you, and even some to believe it for you if your own belief wears thin. They have crossed the bridge ahead of you and are waiting on the other side. You can talk to them if you like, as you step into the air, putting one foot ahead of the other, just that: just one step at a time.