What is Your Core Fear?

God has really been teaching me about fear and the impact living in fear can have on our lives physically, mentally, & spiritually. I’ve written about fear in my recent blog posts. Learning to discern if the messages we are hearing are meant to cause fear or if they make us feel love is a necessary to know if those messages are from God. If they cause us to fear then they are not of God because God is love.  We also need to learn to shut out the noise that can cause us to fear.

When we bring awareness to fear, whatever our fear may be of, we bring that fear into light and it starts to lose its power. I was listening to the BEMA podcast (highly recommend this podcast) and Marty Solomon, one of the hosts who is a Hebrew scholar and messianic Jew, was breaking down the scripture with the story of Cain & Able and he talked about how fear came into it and he said “Fear is the antithesis to trust.”

Isn’t that it exactly? When we are living in fear we are not trusting that God has us. Instead of trusting God is with us, we live as if we are separate from God.

So at our very deepest core, what is it we fear? This is an aspect of fear we need to consider. Each of us has a core fear that motivates us, often without us even knowing, and is the underlying cause for some of our behaviors. These behaviors often cause us frustration with ourselves. If you’ve ever had an experience or interaction and afterwards been frustrated with yourself wondering why you said or did what you did, you were most likely acting out of your core fear.

I have had this happen so many times and would beat myself up afterwards wondering why I did or said what I did. I’m thankful I discovered the Enneagram. It has opened my eyes to why I do what I do. It wasn’t just another personality typing system that told me my behavior characteristics. It showed me why I do what I do. It has been such a helpful tool in identifying and understanding how living out of my core fear affects my spirit and actions. It has made me aware of WHY I do what I do and has shown me I can live out of trust in who God created me and not the fear that wants to control me.

The Enneagram teaches us to look at our core fears as well as our other underlying core motivations and brings an awareness to how we live out of those fears & motivations. To truly experience the transformation Christ can bring, we have to be brutally honest with ourselves about these core fears and motivations that we may have been blind to for our entire life.

While we may identify with the core fear and motivations of a few types, the core fear and motivations of one type will be more dominant in the majority of our situations and experiences.

Type 1s fear not being good, being defective or evil,  or not good enough. Their core desire is to be good.

Type 2s fear being unwanted, being unloved, and unneeded. Their core desire is to be loved.

Type 3s fear being worthless, of being unsuccessful, and without value apart from their achievements. Their core desire is to feel worthy and accepted.

Type 4s fear being insignificant, of being common, and not unique. Their core desire is to be unique and significant.

Type 5s fear being helpless, of being incapable, and overwhelmed. Their core desire is to be capable and competent.

Type 6s fear being being unable to survive on their own, of having no support and guidance. Their core desire is for security and support.

Type 7s fear being deprived, of being trapped in pain. Their core desire is to be happy, satisfied, and fulfilled.

Type 8s fear being controlled by others, being harmed, or being violated. Their core desire is to protect themselves and to determine their own way.

Type 9s fear being separated, unstable, and without peace. Their core desire is to maintain their inner and outer peace and stability.

As we reflect on each of these, it’s vitally important to remember that there is no wrong or right answer, and we should always carry grace upon grace into our introspection as we endeavor to uncover our underlying fear and motivations.

I’ll share more about each type in future posts, but I’ve come to believe that knowing our core fear and bringing awareness to it, can make all the difference in our lives. When coaching people I encourage them to narrow down two or three of these core fears and motivations that they identify with and as they go about their days over the next week or so view their thoughts and experiences through the lens of those core fears and desires and see which one is most dominant and resonates the most.

It isn’t always comfortable, but we need to be brutally honest with ourself in order to shed light on our core fears and motivations. It may not be the most pleasant task. It is, however, worth the effort to understand ourselves and see where our core fear is keeping us from living from our true purpose and from a place of peace.

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