Fear

I’ve lived a lot of my life in fear.  The more I feared things, the more those things came true, which kept me in this cycle believing all those fears because some of them had come true.

Last night my son had a bad thought, which made him fearful he’d have nightmares.  Oh bless him, I couldn’t hug him tight enough.  I encouraged him to say his fear out loud, breaking it’s power, praying with him, and checking on him as he fell back to sleep.

It felt right.  I could tell he was calm.  My heart swelled with love for him.  I didn’t think less of him because he had a bad thought.  I didn’t tell him to quit it and get it together.  It didn’t make sense to say those things.

But how often do we say those things to ourselves?  Just stop worrying, get it together, no one else thinks this way.  And in our silence we’ve given power to those thoughts.

Negative thoughts are normal, it is what we do with them that gives them power or dissolves them.  

It also hit me after Caleb went to lay down, just because you think something doesn’t make it true.  Our brains need this reminder.  We are hardwired for protection.  Our brains know how to do this well.  And if we’ve had any sort of trauma we are hardwired for more protection.

A thought is a thought and we get to choose what to do with it.

  1. Speak it out loud.  So our brains have a chance to look at it differently.
  2. Share it with someone else. Maybe a friend or a counselor.
  3. Pray.
  4. Let others check on you.  People who love you and encourage you.  Reminding you that you are not alone, no shame.  Just joy shared in this journey.

 

Hopefully this encourages you, by reminding you, you are not alone.  How we speak to our kids is how we should speak to ourselves.  Or speak to ourselves the way we want to speak to our kids.  Parenting continues to teach me more and more about myself.  Grateful. img_0228

Letting fear lead

Most of my life, fear has lead.

Even after becoming a Christian in the seventh grade, I have journals of asking God to make me brave, to relieve my fears.

To no avail.

It was a way of life before I was a Christian and continued.  I wasn’t sure I was “saved” because this struggle seemed so deep. And a lot of my prayers and faith depended upon God answering these desperate pleas for freedom from fear.  I was asking God to take something away, but it was something that needed tended.

Maybe some of you are like me, I want all of the “how to-s” to do it the same way as so and so and be free of fear.  Because what I’ve always wanted most was that exact thing, freedom from fear, the end result, perfection, Heaven really.

With the help of my counselor, I can sit with my fears a little longer.  I can let them settle so I can see clearer.  Fear was a defense, a way of protection.  That is a correct connection.

There were areas of my life that needed defending.  Needed a voice.  A person to stand up and say I got this!

And His name is Jesus Christ.  When I listen to my greatest fears and hurts, I treat myself with kindness.  And then that kindness can flow out to others.  But the truth is if I sit just a second longer, Jesus, the Holy Spirit is able to come up and the whirlwind clears.

God is a whisperer, not a screamer.  If something within you is screaming by all means give notice, but you don’t have to respond immediately, unless your arm is falling off or something.  If there’s no blood, you got a few minutes to breath and see something different.

I read an article recently, and thought oh crap this is me right?, I have to fix this right now.  I can’t live this way.  (An old response.)  But once I sat a few minutes longer, I realized there was something for me to learn.  A piece for me to take away.

I can sit back and think.  Things are changing, slowly.  Progress is happening.

Fear might always be my knee jerk response, but my guess is it will become less and less my immediate response.  As long as I give it enough attention to listen, let it speak, and choose wisely.

Fear is a means of protection.  We shouldn’t go running into a fire, the fear of it hurting should be enough to stop us.  Fear is purposeful.  But sometimes it has grown so loud, it has drowned out all the other voices, like God’s.

This isn’t easy.  I still fail in this.  But in the failing is where I grow the deepest.  The “oh-yeah I forgot this doesn’t work anymore.”

So don’t let fear lead, not by ignoring it, but by giving it a seat at the table so it no longer has to yell like a toddler in your ear until you listen.

Let a trusted mentor/counselor walk through some of those fears.  Pray that God would show you something knew as you sit just a little while longer until the calm comes.