This might be the most difficult post yet. Fear is everywhere – there is no way of getting around it. It can be trying to kill a spider or facing what you have been avoiding for days, weeks, months or years.
As I was listening to a podcast by Joyce Meyer, she gave some great quotes that created a bit of insight into my process of recovery. I always marked fear as paralyzing and too difficult to handle. I always felt the presence of fear was some sort of weakness and that feeling fearful in a situation made me somehow weaker than most. The truth is, fear is a natural feeling. Sometimes fear is a good thing! There are times when we feel an odd feeling in our gut telling us something isn’t right and it doesn’t feel right to go down that street, or in those woods, and that is a good thing. Fear can protect us, but it can also cripple us if we don’t understand it and the role it plays in our lives.
We can feel fear, but we don’t have to let fear control us. This sounds so hard to understand – because it is! Joyce Meyer said that about 10 times before I could make a little bit of something out of it. Fear is there, and natural. We will fear it, there is no getting around that. It’s okay to feel the fear of something, but fear becomes crippling when we let it control us. It’s natural to feel, but unnatural when it comes to controlling us. There is a difference between feeling afraid and being afraid. I couldn’t see the difference until I started applying what was said into my life.
A great acronym for fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. That is exactly what fear is! Fear is the “maybe” and the “could” in our life. Fear isn’t always what will happen. Fear is saying, “I can’t go on that interview because I could bomb it and not get the job.” Well, not going on the interview will surely guarantee that you don’t get the job. Fear controls your decision and it comes out as planned. Fear is saying, “I can’t eat this meal in front of me because I will gain X pounds.” Fear leads that decision and makes recovery last THAT much longer and remain THAT much harder.
I have found through this process that I am constantly saying, “I can’t do this anymore. This is too hard. I want this to be finished. I can’t stick to the meal plan, this is too hard.” Fear is what drives every one of those thoughts. Fear tells me I am too weak and weary to go on, and fear decides that I’m wanting to throw in the towel. Fear is what makes this long process last so long.
We often fear what will give us trials. We fear everything in our life that will be hard, and uncomfortable. There is no need to fear them because they will come. We can’t fear something that is sure to happen because if we fear it, it will make the pain of it all that worse. Joyce mentioned, “Why fear what is going to happen?” and that is the truth. I can’t fear the meal plan because it’s going to happen. I can’t fear the possibility of gaining some weight because it may happen. The fearing of something makes it worse. We are going to have to go through it anyway. I am going to have to muscle through the meal plan now or later…. I would rather choose sooner than later! The fear of something tormenting us is by far worse than letting the thing we fear take place. The build up is ALWAYS worse than the actual event. Fearing the meal plan doesn’t make it go away. Fearing the difficulties doesn’t make them go away. Fearing recovery doesn’t make it go away – unless I want to stay sick. Sadly, there are some people who are so afraid of moving forward that they do stay sick, but I am not one of those people. Fear stops forward progress.
Freedom from fear doesn’t’ mean we don’t feel fear… it means it doesn’t control us. Fear will always be there. The more we confront it, while feeling it, the weaker it will get in our lives. That is the only way we can make it through tough times and through recovery. You can’t speak peace if you don’t have peace. Getting upset during an upsetting situation only compounds things. That is how we let the enemy in. If we can remain with some type of peace in us, while in the midst of fear, we can find a way out of it and ultimately overcome the fear. I say that like finding peace is easy, but I can damn-well tell you it is not easy! That shit is hard! Let’s just be real! It sucks! But, trying to find it and learning to find something that works is better than fear controlling you.
My way of trying to overcome fear hasn’t been working, so I am learning that I have to put my trust in God, and He will lead me down the path I can go. A great quote was given to me that helps tremendously: “I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” This is true – as long as we can fight to keep a sound mind, we can over come fear, or just manage through until the storm settles. I am learning to ask for help – that I can’t do this on my own. I can do this through Christ who strengthens me. We are all equipped to deal with whatever comes our way. We can handle hard situations and fear as long as we believe we are strong enough to do that.
We can do hard things with help (whatever your help might be), not avoid everything hard. Nothing is going to deal with the fear we have, we have to do it ourselves. We can’t wish it away, or just walk away from it because the only way fear loses strength in our lives is by confronting it head-on and standing strong. Sure, we very well may fall on our ass the first few times we deal, but that is because we are like babies learning to walk. We don’t look at toddlers and count them out for falling down when they attempt it – we encourage them and see each little step as progress. Are those toddlers scared to walk, YES – but they still get up and start making trips from couches to tables to chairs and before you know it they are sprinting down the hallway and away from anything because they have learned how to perfect the battle. Do they still trip and fall over things, yes, but they get back up and do it over again. Fear is exactly the same thing.
So, I am going to take steps to eliminating fear in my life. Fear doesn’t have to control me, and the only way to take control away from fear is to confront it head on. So, I will probably need many reminders until I get good at it, but I will be making choices to face fear and take back control.