Today was Nancy’s Birthday.
It was a busy day. There were issues at work, she helped my mom and dad as they settled on their new home, and she took care of me. Her days are often filled with caring for many different people. I am often amazed she has any energy left at the end of a day. I am very thankful for the way she helps and cares for me. Her support is making this journey of mine possible.
While I will not tell you how old she is I will share that we have spent the last 26 years learning how to live and walk this journey together. A few weeks ago she shared another one of her writings with me. Anytime Nancy writes is a sacred time…she has a unique ability to capture truth and share from her heart.
I share with you her latest written thoughts:
Can Fear Be My Friend?
While fear had always been an acquaintance of mine, lately it seems to be my shadow. In the past many of my fears (or phobias as my family called them) were not probable but more the product of an overactive imagination: what if the roller coaster crashes while I am on the top; what if the last person who read this library book had a contagious disease; what if an escaped prisoner breaks into my house the one night of the year Dan is out of town? Not fears that have come true.
Today, my fears are more realistic. What if Dan catches an illness during Chemotherapy and can’t recover? What if the tumors start growing again? Can I pay the mortgage if we go down to one income? Am I giving our children enough attention or will they grow to resent me? Like fears of the past, these may also not come to fruition, but there is a thin line between ignoring fears and planning to overcome possible problems.
There are days that I wake up and greet the day as a new opportunity. Other days I seem to make a constant mental list of all the new fears in my life. Thinking on fears leads me to wonder if I am worrying, which shows a lack of faith which makes me afraid I am even letting God down in my weakness. On the other hand, ignoring these issues could be reckless because then I won’t be ready to face them if they do become real.
Getting Friendly with our Fears
As I was driving one day, I felt as if my list of fears was harassing me and making me miserable. I thought of another time in life when there were people in my life that seemed to be harassing me and making me miserable. After giving in to them didn’t work and ignoring them was useless, I tried becoming friendly with them and seeing if good could come from the relationship. Sometimes it worked and years later I realize that having that difficult period of life made me who I am today.
Can fear be my friend and make me a better person? The more I considered the idea, I found it held promise.
Facing my fears can lead me to develop relationships. Fears related to Dan’s sickness and our future have led to many conversations. We have discussed everything from disability insurance to life insurance to planning a trip to Roatan when Dan is healthy enough. We have begun to problem solve how to meet our challenges while also sharing dreams and private thoughts. I have also talked to others about my fears where I would not have shared with them or understood their viewpoint if I had not been afraid.
My fears have led me to get to know myself better. I have had to reach into depths that have not been tapped before. I have helped in areas that in the past would have been Dan’s domain. I have learned to plug along even when tired. While self-reliance has never been a goal, I am learning that it is not out of reach.
A Step Away from Worry
Fear has brought me closer to God. My current relationship with God ranges from quiet moments to moments of despair and tears. There are times when I am content with God’s direction of my life and times that I am not on God’s side. Fear has not pushed me away from God but instead keeps pushing me to God because I know I can’t make it on my own. Going to God with my fear holds me a step away from worry and is allowing me to understand “Come unto me all who are weary and I will give you rest,” in a whole new light.
Fear is putting life in focus. Realizing I don’t have to falter and fail under fear, but instead I can go to God, others and even myself in order to face the fear, I find that there are less surprises. I am beginning to see the pitfalls around me and keep going. There are days I want to allow fear to cripple me, but I am learning instead to make it my friend.
Overwhelming Fears…But God
When I was in Roatan this summer a dog walked up and licked my leg. I had heard a story once about the child of a missionary being licked by a dog and dying from rabies. I immediately began to panic because my family needs me and I don’t like shots. (Fears sometimes come in doubles.) The first friend I told about the lick told me to wipe my leg off and gave me the “Are you crazy?” look. The second (a doctor) told me I had bigger worries in my life than begin licked by a dog. When I returned home rabies free, I realized I had reached out to others and spent time in prayer. It may have been a crazy fear but in the end all was good.
Life can be overwhelming. Fears can be real. But God is good all the time. If fear becomes my friend, even my fears can remind me that all the time, God is good.