Friday, March 1, 2013

Roller coasters Scare Me

The older I get I notice a few things: I make funny noises when I bend over, I say things like "Kids theses days," and I worry more about things I didn't used to.

I don't mind the first two. They are both rights of passage, in a sense. But, I worry about the last one (talk about irony!)

When I first met my husband I told him I wanted to sky dive. I really did. It was an exciting notion: to fly!

But, now, I remind him constantly to wear his seat belt and slow down when he drives over the speed limit.

I don't find joy in roller coasters as I used to, either. For some reason, I have it stuck in the back of my mind that if there is a chance something bad could happen, that I would be the one it happens to.

Terrible, isn't it?!

It's actually quite sad, too.

This middle-aged fear hasn't kept me from doing a lot of things, but it has definitely kept me from enjoying a lot thing. Now, I'm not riddled with fear, and afraid to leave the house, but I do find that I allow the 'what-ifs' to ruin many things I used to enjoy.

I was thinking about that this morning, and I realized something really powerful. Something that I already knew, but didn't seem to fully understand.

I often say, "Faith is a choice." But, this morning, the words came to my mind, "Fear is choice."

And, so, this morning, I decided not to be afraid anymore.

Yes, I know it will be much harder to do that do say, but the point it, it is my choice to try to make that happen.

2 Timothy 1:7 states: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Fear is really the act of allowing the thoughts of what you do not want to have happen overtake the what is actually happening.

That's all it is.

When I am on a roller coaster, rather than enjoying the wind in my hair, the fun dips and turns, I have the image me flying off the rails because of a rare malfunction. I do not enjoy the ride. Not because it wasn't enjoyable, but because I am so focused on what I don't want to happen that I cannot enjoy what it actually happening.

It is the same with driving. I worry that others won't be as much attention as me and will cause an accident.

A person that allows themselves to be tainted by fear (yes, I said tainted) is also someone who values control. The more control we have, the less we think we have to fear.

This cycle of thinking is very damaging, especially when it comes to our own human relationships. We fear we will be dumped, so we dump them first. We fear we aren't worth being loved, so we don't allow people to love us. We fear our teenagers will make poor choices, so we force ourselves on them.

I see no good that comes from fear.

Yes, I hear you. You're saying, "But Michelle, isn't fear of snakes good? Doesn't fear keep you safe?"

God doesn't intent fear to keep us safe. That is why he gave us our minds: to think, to consider, to decide what is good for us. In verse 7 it says that God gave us a sound mind. He expects us to look at risks and consider them accordingly--and even to pass by certain things (and relationships) because it is clear the risk is too great. But He doesn't expect us to miss out in life because of fear.

The past few years I've really embraced doing things that scare me (playing church basketball), but I need to take it a step further. Beyond just doing things in spite of my fear, I need to enjoy them as well.

Last weekend I attended a Writer's Conference. While I was there, I met with and pitched two of my books to two publishers.

It was scary.

But I did it.

They both bit, and requested to see my work.  After a final push to ensure a quality submission, I put all the information together in two separate emails. . . then pushed 'SEND.'

I was so excited.

Then I got scared.

I then started wondering if I should have checked it just one more time. Then I started worrying I had forgotten something, or sent the wrong thing. Then I began to fret that they wouldn't like it.

This morning, as I checked my email to see if they'd responded yet (even though it takes weeks, even months, for them to reply) I realized what I was doing: I was letting fear ruin reality.

That's when I decided not to be afraid anymore.

Rather than be afraid that I'm not good enough, or that they won't like my work, I am choosing to have faith in myself and in God. I did my best, and if it doesn't work out, I'm sure God has another plan for me.

Faith feels much better than fear.

I am excited for this new freedom from fear. As I change my focus from the negative 'what-ifs' to the positive 'what-is' I know I will open myself up to more happiness and joy, and less stress and worrying.

It is not God's intention for us to live in fear. In fact, His Son, Jesus Christ, tells us to fear not, only believe.

If fear a thief of moments, joy, and possibility, then faith is the liberator.

This doesn't pertain only to things of a spiritual nature (religion, testimony, etc) but to all things in life--even roller coasters and relationships.

So, as of today, this very moment, I choose not to be afraid any more. And it feels good.

1 comment:

  1. I'm still trying to figure out what my love language is . . .

    But anyway--great food for thought. Thank you!