In preparation for November’s book club, I just finished reading And Life Goes On by one of my favorite bloggers, Tricia Lott Williford and one of the chapter intros included a quote from Wild by Cheryl Strayed (another book club book – FTW).
Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn’t long before I actually wasn’t afraid.
I supposed that and the quote above all go in line with the power of positive thinking and mind over matter. But it is true – though dangerous situations are all around us and unpleasant “things” can occur at any time – fear stems from our minds. The unhealthy fear that keeps us from moving forward or trying new things, that fear is not real – it is truly a product of our own doing.
I have been thinking lately of what I am afraid of; what (in my head) is holding me back from things I want to pursue? In general, I don’t worry a ton about the big “what ifs” in life. What if someone I love gets cancer? What if someone I love dies unexpectedly? What if that car in front of me blows a tire and causes an accident? These are all possibilities and they would not be what I would choose for my life, but if they happen, I would/could/will deal with it. It would not be impossible. It might not be pleasant and it might feel near impossible, but it would not end me.
I don’t believe in the idea that we invite trouble into our lives by talking about it. I believe that things happen, regardless of what we do. I jokingly talk of karma when it comes to a rude person at the grocery store but I don’t really believe that we get anything we do or don’t deserve. Well, I do believe we get plenty we don’t deserve – we are blessed with so much goodness simply because of where we lucked out with being born. And if you believe in salvation and grace like I do, we get heaven simply because we say yes to Jesus. Talk about getting what we don’t deserve.
But I still have fears. Fears related to money. Fears related to parenting. Fears related to the other relationships in my life. Fear stinks and should have no place in our hearts and our heads. I think we should change out those fears and instead be proactive, addressing them and then moving past them, flipping them on their head and acknowledging that, yes, they come out of a true place we should look at but they should not stop us in our tracks. If we have a fear related to something, then do the work to turn it from a fear into a concern – something you are intentional about addressing. If you are afraid of losing a job or running out savings – meet with a financial planner, create a 10-year plan, go back to school and reinforce your achievements. If you are afraid you are failing your kids in your parenting – talk with someone, gain some perspective, work on your attitude and coping skills. If you are afraid that you are failing in your relationships, give them more of your time and your love. Fear needs only to be the signal to ourselves that we need to give something a little more attention so we can either fix a real problem or soothe our own concerns and diffuse the internal atomic bomb that is waiting inside of us to go off and wreck us. Dangers and problems are real, yes, but we don’t need to be afraid. We have it in us to handle things. And where we fail, well, then there’s God and His army of helpers who are at the ready to surround us and lift us up.
Do not be afraid. Easier said than done, amiright? I’m working on it, but God already has it all under control. Repeat after me, “Fear is not real.”