Superstition, Fear, and Anxiety

Superstition is a funny thing. I believe that most people when confronted with the question, “Are you superstitious?” would unquestionably answer no, they are not superstitious. Until I started reading about superstition, I would have argued that I am not superstitious at all. What I found while learning about the topic is that the majority of people buy into superstition at some level. On the surface, people will deny it or refuse to acknowledge their superstition. Upon examination of their habits, they will discover the large role that superstition is playing in their lives today. While superstition on its own is interesting to talk about, my focus today will be on the role superstition plays with our fear and anxiety.

I have spent a lot of time writing about the role of faith in the pursuit of freedom from anxiety and fear. And while I completely believe in the role that faith in Jesus Christ plays in finding healing and freedom from the trap of anxiety, I also believe there are very practical things humans can do to improve their day.

Finding Freedom From Fear And Superstition

One of the most practical things we can do to eliminate the fear that holds us captive is to look for superstitions we are believing every day which support those fears. How can we look at superstitions, if we do not believe we are superstitious? Be open to looking at your routine habits. These are the actions we take without even thinking about them. This could be anywhere from the way we get dressed, to the way we cook, to our driving habits. Look at how we spend money. Examine why we do certain things or why we don’t do certain things. The truth is that we all have created our own superstitions without even realizing it. Superstitions begin by taking action on incomplete or inaccurate data.

Superstition and Educated Guesses

I am not sure about you, but I often rely on incomplete data. As humans, we have to take steps without having all of the answers. A lot of times we may refer to this decision as an educated guess. After all, if we wait to take action until we have all of the answers, then we will never act. In the business world, strategic decisions are made every day without having all of the data. In politics, votes are cast before all of the reports come in. In science, we utilize incomplete data to form a hypothesis. In obeying God, I must act before I have all of the data. God has never called me to obedience where I had all of the facts. So with all of these educated guesses floating around, where do superstitions come into play?

Where Educated Guesses Go Wrong

When we combine fear and incomplete data we often have a recipe for disaster. Think about what happens in the human brain when we are bathing in fear and we are faced with a problem. Adrenaline is often pumping, you are typically focused on all of the bad things which could happen. This includes all of the far-fetched crazy ones. The ones, when presented to you by a friend, cause you to question their sanity.

So in this mindset, you are probably not thinking of all of the other ways you could go about solving your problem. The scenarios which play out in your brain do not include the boring ones or the positive ones. Remember, our brain is doing its best to protect us, but it often leads us astray. We often start a particular habit by trying something to see if it works. It’s a test, an experiment at best.

So What’s The Problem?

If nothing bad happens then we might try this approach again. We falsely become convinced that this routine is what has kept us safe or ensured our success. The problem is we never go back to examine the validity of our assumption. We repeat the process until it is a habit.

This newly minted habit is based on fear and false assumptions.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

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Craig Booker

I'm the founder of Overflow. Through its newsletter, podcast, community group, and YouTube channel, Overflow helps you improve your well-being.


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