My Addiction to Fear

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I’m learning that I can’t be the mom who saves my kids. From a lot of things. 

I have operated out of fear, in the name of protection, for too long. And it has taken from me. My sanity, my ability to trust, my peace.

More importantly, my fear has taken from my kids. Their love of new things, their desire for adventure, their confidence in their decisions. Yeah, I did that. (Or rather, I allowed my fear to do that!)

I couldn’t see it before because I was happily living in a padded room of my own making. Quite like the rooms you see on t.v. in the haunted mental institutions. This was my brain on fear. I was safe but isolated, left to deal with my tormenting thoughts all on my own.

What sobered me up was my gut-wrenching decision to put my kids in public school this year after only homeschooling them for the past 6 years. Just making the choice to do it felt like death hovering over me as I shook from fear withdrawals.

I felt sick at the thought of letting them go when all I (and they) had ever known was our home, our rules, our ways. But then, after the waves of nausea started to decrease, I felt something new and, honestly, it scared me.

Freedom.

Not in the sense that freedom is only delegated to the school-going families. No, freedom in the sense that I could actually walk away from something that was no longer working for our family. It was keeping me bound in despair as I wrestled every day with watching my kids cling more and more to me and less to their own amazing personalities.

You know when you just get to that point when enough is enough? You are afraid of the new thing staring you in the face but you know that the old thing has just been done way too long? That’s where I was when my husband came to me and introduced the idea of putting them in school. I had a choice to make, albeit painful.

I decided that I was not going to be a fear-addict any longer.

So, we did it. And it’s been great! It’s also been hard some days. But better all around. They are standing on their own two feet and learning to take responsibility for their choices without me there to prompt them. They are embarking on new friendships and engaging in activities that they would have not had the chance to do otherwise. Most importantly, my fear of them not needing me anymore was proven totally unfathomable. They get to take care of themselves when not at home but the evenings are my time with them. Time for snuggles and homework help and bedtime prayers.

They say fear is an illusion. I say fear is also a drug. It incapacitates you and leaves you wanting more and more of it until it’s all you can think about. Thank God I have a husband who listens to God’s voice and calls me higher when I’m living beneath the level of freedom God has for me.

Thank God, the taste of freedom is way more satisfying then the taste of fear.

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Childhood Fears as an Adult

The physical darkness in front of me doesn’t negate the heavenly Light I carry within me.

I am a grown woman with a childhood fear that just won’t let go. I am the mom who makes her kids have nightlights in their rooms because I’m scared that they might get scared in the middle of the night.

Am I a fearful person? Not really. I am very into confronting your fears and living on the edge. After all, the Bible even says in 2 Timothy 1:7, (and I quote this verse often to my tribe),
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear,

but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

But when the room is pitch black, all of the blood rushes to my head and I instantly blurt out whatever expletive or shrieking sound I can muster to get someone, ANYONE, to turn the light back on.

I thought that maybe this was a major problem and I needed some counseling or something. I even considered forcing myself to sleep in my bedroom without the bathroom light shining in from down the hall to somehow face my fear head on.

Then it occurred to me recently as I was struggling with letting my youngest sleep (per her request) without a night light- The physical darkness in front of me doesn’t negate the heavenly Light I carry within me. Aren’t I called to be the Light? To be a flickering flame shining HOPE in the night hours? A glimmering speck of FREEDOM that guides the captives out of their gloomy cells?

My three year old knows this truth better than I do it seems. She sings songs like “This Little Light of Mine” and “Jesus Loves Me” to herself in her bed at night. What a picture of faith. She is worshipping the Light Giver even though her eyes only see darkness. That image preaches itself.

If I force her to have that night light, I would be enabling her to be afraid of the dark just like I have been for too long. I would, in essence, be passing my fear onto her.  Notice, I didn’t say that I want her to constantly live in bright, well-lit places and never encounter darkness at all. I think, many times, this is where we miss it. (I know I did!) But the cool thing is, my fear of the dark has actually introduced my heart to the safety of the Light. However, always living comfortably in the warmth of the sun by no means instills a longing for more light. In fact, it leaves you hot and a little presumptuous that life will always be full of sunshine.

No, the nighttime seasons make us long for the morning rays. I want my kids to experience the dark because it is in those moments when they will come to realize that the Light never left them. Isn’t that what hope is, after all? A knowing that the darkness will not fully overtake us because we have a Savior who lives inside of us and to Him, “the night shines as bright as day.” (Psalm 139:12)

 

You Can’t Control But You Can Trust

She just needed to apply some truth salve to her beaten down soul.

I wrote a piece for Her View From Home yesterday and would love for you to check it out! It’s about being unable to control our lives and how that doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, I think it’s a fearless way to live when we choose to trust God to take care of us instead of try to do everything on our own.

Here’s a teaser for ya:

Anxiety doesn’t care if you think you have it all together. It comes at you hard and is determined to knock you out. Then it sits on top of you as you’re sprawled out on the mat and holds you there while raising brutish fists in victory. Anxiety is a beast.

While navigating my new, chaotic frame of mind, I started to realize that I was letting this brute control me. My decisions were becoming too safe and comfortable and the longing in me to be fearless and free was screaming for my attention.

But, how can we be fearless in the face of so much uncertainty?

If you want to know how I found freedom, click here to check out the rest of the article!

Also, my other Her View From Home pieces are here and here. This website has been such a wonderful platform for me to write about things that are really important to me. Go browse around….I promise you’ll be blessed! Thanks so much!

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You Can’t Control But You Can Trust

The Carefree Life

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What are you carrying around today? What burden is weighing you down? This morning as I was praying, God reminded me of this familiar verse:

1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 

He.Cares.For.You.

You can trust Him with your stuff. So comforting, isn’t it? God’s not up in heaven with His arms crossed thinking, “Hmph…I guess I’ll take that load off of your shoulders…if I REALLY have to.” 

No! His arms are wide open and He is saying, “Give that worry to me. I want to help you. Won’t you let me? ” 

I love how the Message Translation words 1 Peter 5:7-

“Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.”

 This is not an “if you do this first, then God will do this next” kinda situation. It’s exactly the opposite. We GET to live carefree because God LOVES taking care of us.

Webster’s dictionary defines “carefree” as having no worries or problems : free from care. We literally have the opportunity to turn our problems into prayers and our worries into worship. We are free from stress. We are free from anxiety. We are free from pressure.

God’s hands are big enough to hold the whole wide world as well as your small little piece of it. So go ahead. He’s on the edge of His seat just waiting for you to ask for His help.

Let Him show you just how much He cares for you. You see, it’s not just that He can handle it for you, it’s that He wants to!

photo credit: Benjamin Franklin Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight via photopin (license)

3 Day Quote Challenge

Been a busy few days so I forgot to post yesterday’s quote. 🙂 Here ya go:

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How true this is! #quotechallenge

The rules

One quote a day for three days. They can be your quotes, or quotes from other people. Post one a day for three days and nominate three bloggers per post. Also, thank the person that nominated you.

My nominees

TashBrewsker Poetry Road