In my lifetime I’ve discovered that fear is one of few “things” that doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care if you are black or white, rich or poor, short or tall, loud or quiet. It’s truly a deception to perceive people with gregarious personalities; those who are outgoing, personable, and seemingly confident, as being fearless. It is equally deceptive to view those who are quiet, less talkative, and reflective as being fearful.
It is not the outward appearance or external expression of personality that indicates the degree that fear exists in a person’s life. I don’t know how many people are shocked to learn that I wrestle with fear daily. They judge my emotional capacity in any given moment by my intellectual capacity or their interpretation of my “wins” and whew…that’s a huge mistake. In fact, it’s often revealed that the ones who are the loudest, the ones seemingly more daring in action, end up being exposed as walking insecurities ready to explode in an avalanche of fear-based responses when triggered. Conversely, it’s entirely possible that those we might view as meek are actually individuals who exhibits the most internal fortitude and fearlessness. Is this always the case? Of course not. That’s why we cannot ever look AT a person and determine the level of fear in which they’re operating solely based on our perception of their actions. A more telling indication of fear in a person’s life requires looking INto a person.
What does it mean to see into someone?
I think it means using your spiritual eyes.
Using your spiritual eyes requires empathy, I think. The ability to sit with and stand in the shoes of someone. Contrary to what some believe, empathy is not some crystal ball, demonic, mind-reading trick. In most cases, seeing into someone simply means setting aside any self-centered agendas and opening ourselves up to the Holy Spirit in order to be fully present with another person. To stand with, to hold space, to love deeply. This kind of presence gives way to discernment.
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.” Romans 8:26-27 NLT
There is a level of discernment that comes with trusting and embracing Spirit. Even when we are unsure of what it is that we are actually seeing in a person, or can’t pinpoint whether it is fear or not that is causing emotional upheaval, or are unsure of how to pray for the person, the Holy Spirit can reveal the source of the issue. This is the gift of both intimacy and empathy. This is the gift that truly heals.