Thursday, May 2, 2013

Facing Fear

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it."
                                             --Nelson Mandela

Honesty time.  (I'll bet you're scared NOW, aren't you?  You're wondering, "OMG, NOW she's going to be honest?  What has she been up to THIS point? What ridiculous nonsense is she about to spew?" 

 I am sometimes afraid of stuff.

I know.  It's hard to believe.  I live courageously and, some would say, recklessly.  I throw caution to the wind and live with abandon in much of my life.  But I'm afraid sometimes.  I don't let it stop me.  But I do let it scare me.

I decided to make a list of things that scare me to see if they can be overcome.
Thing 2 is afraid of shopping with me.  For very good reason.

  1. I'm afraid of not being liked.  It's true.  I want everyone to like me.  I don't always BEHAVE like I want everyone to like me because I want them (you) to like me...warts and all.  I want it to NOT MATTER how I behave.  I want you to like me anyway.  Even if I don't like YOU all that much, I STILL want YOU to like ME.
  2. I'm afraid of being alone.  That's a big giant statement.  I'm afraid that, when I die, there will be no one there to hold my hand.
  3. I'm afraid of being insignificant.  You know how people tend to look at the homeless?  As if they're not there?  I'm afraid of being someone that people look through/past/beyond.
  4. I'm afraid of the dark.  Often, at night, my imagination gets the best of me and shadows become the essence of my fear.  I'm jumpy in the dark.
  5. I'm afraid of myself.  I know that I'm my own worst critic and enemy (as most of us are).  I worry that I'm far too harsh with myself.
  6. I'm afraid I'm going to screw up my kids so badly they will never be self-sufficient people. This is also known as the Greatest Fear of All.  You've heard of the Greatest LOVE of All, right?  Well, this tops it.   
I look at the above list and I realize that my fears are not unlike the fears of most people.  And I realize something else:  most people are afraid to breathe these fears out loud!  Why IS that?  I wonder if we could all communicate openly then these fears might go away for ALL of us?  If we could just look fear in the face and say, "You know what?  I'm scared.  I don't WANT to be alone and I want you to like LOVE spite of all the oogie stuff that's in my corners."

But here's the thing:  fear is just...fear.  It's not real.  It doesn't have to determine our actions.  It's OK to look fear in the face and say "I'm not going to let your presence determine my actions.  It's OK that I'm scared.  And all of these things that I'm afraid of MAY come true.  But I'm going to live the best way I know how and keep on plugging.  I will not allow fear to stop me." 

In the spirit of embracing truth, this what I say to my fears:
  • Everyone is NOT going to like me.  No matter what I say or do, I'm just going to piss some people off.  I am not everyone's cup of tea.  And that's OK.
  • I may end up alone.  I have to realize that it's a huge possibility that I really am going to end up alone.  I may end up a hermit, eating cat food and cackling aloud at strange jokes I tell myself.  And that's OK.  
  • Most of the time, I'm going to be insignificant.  Everyone plays out their own story and the ONLY story in which I play a starring role is my OWN STORY.  I am an insignificant bit player in the stories of friends and family.  And that's OK.  It doesn't have to be all about me.
  • The dark will not swallow me.  It doesn't matter how many imaginary (and sometimes real) monsters populate the dark.  It's OK to be scared of it.  
  • I am going to be mean to myself sometimes.  I am going to rant and rail about choices I make.  I'm never going to be able to rein in ALL that negative self-talk.  But I can work every day to make better choices and be kinder to myself.  
  • My kids are OK.  I cannot be a perfect parent.  And regardless, in the end, even if I make every mistake in the book, their choices are their own.  I am ultimately NOT RESPONSIBLE for the choices my kids make after I have done the best I could as a parent. 
 Today, I stand facing my fears.  And I realize that there is one thing I can depend on to get me through every single tough thing I face and that will help me rise about every single fear threatening to crush me:
Philippians 4:13 
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
And that, my friends, is how you crush fear.  

If you like my blog, share it.  Or Like my FB page to get updates.  Or subscribe to the e-mail list.  Or make a comment below.  If you don't like it, well...just try not to hurt my feelings.  I'm sensitive. 


No comments:

Post a Comment