Don't Give in to Fear

There are times in our lives, both individually and organizationally, when we let fear take over. It may not make sense but fear is not rational nor logical; it’s an emotional response to not knowing.   

The truth is, we never really know what will come next.

Today, as we recall the events of September 11, 2001, many of us remember the feeling of disbelief, shock, and yes, fear, when we first heard about the planes crashing into the Twin Towers, to the Pentagon, on that field in Pennsylvania.

What would happen to our nation, we wondered? Our freedoms? Our families?

We remember the fear of that day. And yet, September 11th has become a day to give thanks for all we cherish and hold dear. It’s a good day to thank God for seeing us through trials and challenges, for helping us continue to contribute to society and to gratefully accept the contributions of others.

While fear is necessary for survival, how we respond to fear is a choice.

Fear can lead to poor decisions if we are not strategic and disciplined in our decision making. No matter what fearful issues we face – be they political, fiscal, emotional or otherwise – we can endure if we are strategic, thoughtful and guided by a higher power.  With our ability to be adaptive and pivot, we can emerge as a stronger for what we face together. 

The political climate around refugees is a perfect example. As the fourth largest resettlement organization in the nation, we could have been immobilized by fear of political changes regarding refugees and the impact on our ability to do our work. Instead, we have met this challenge head on and partnered with other like-minded organizations to support our refugees who have already arrived in Michigan. The support of the community has been greater because they too have not given into the fear; but been thoughtful and strategic about how they partner and support refugees. 

We resettle refugees because we know it IS a good idea, mutually beneficial for all. Fear of potential changes helps us to be a stronger refugee resettlement organization and become better advocates.

Oftentimes, fear grows from the unknown. People who are fearful of refugee resettlement may not realize the mutual benefits. They may not have met a refugee or witnessed the positive impact that comes to communities when refugees resettle there. Maybe they do not realize that the introduction of refugees will not cause them to lose employment, but that statistically, a foreign born person is more likely to create jobs through opening a business.  

At Samaritas, our mission is to serve others as an expression of the love of Christ. We recognize that we are not in control; He is in control.  

He gives us wonderful staff and community partners who are informed, strategic, and can turn fear into action.  

If everyone comes from a place of strength, fear can never take hold.

Vickie Thompson-Sandy is President of Samaritas.

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