on being afraid

I hate this feeling. The one that creeps up the trail of my spine and slow winds itself around my throat in slow strangulation.

Fear.

I've fought it my whole life. I tend to be a pessimist. It's not something I'm proud of, but I need to admit it. This ugly character trait causes me to be a control freak. I like to be prepared, I like to plan ahead, I want to know what's going to happen. But lately, I feel like I'm watching our life unravel and no amount of planning helps that. It's as if something somewhere snagged on a sharp edge and every safe knot we've woven is wildly untangling until I'm left holding thin, limp threads in my shaking hands.

My mom is having a tumor removed on Monday. We got a phone call the other day about an unexpected bill of $1200 ($1200?!). The huge bonus we were counting on from work vanished in thin air like some cruel prank---ha! gotcha! it's gone! Behr's growing molars have been giving him random fevers and my body aches from being needed by him every minute. This old house we live has an ant problem, a ladybug problem, and a mouse problem. On Friday night, Jonathan fixed a leaky pipe in our bathroom and, not even hours later, another one burst open in the kitchen. And if my mind lulls for even second I start thinking about another baby. (Should we try for another? When? Can we even get pregnant? How are we going to handle two children with the stress of Jonathan's job? What if I get pregnant at the wrong time? We can't afford another baby right now.) And what about those plans we had? The ones about building a simpler life for us and future babies somewhere quiet. The ones that put a spark in our chest. It was thrilling at first. Now it's all just burning the underside of my skin.

Where's the healing balm for wounds you can't even see?

Last week, we rented and watched 'The Good Dinosaur'. At first, I didn't get it. I'm usually pretty open minded when it comes to movies but the whole 'Dinosaur Homesteader Family' thing caught me off guard. I was skeptical but good ol' Pixar won me completely over in the end. I was wiping away tears and feeling like a mushy blob of emotions when the credits rolled.

Without giving away too much, because you need to go watch it for yourself (It's not "just a kid's movie". Stop thinking that this instant) the theme of the movie is fighting fear. The main character, Arlo, is fearful of....everything. Throughout the story he learns to accept fear--not do away with it, because you can't--but live his life bravely despite having a tendency towards being afraid.

I believe in God's timing and ability to work in the intimate details. He knew I needed to watch that movie. I needed the message about accepting fear and working through it. It really isn't that far of stretch for me to say that right? I mean, if God can speak through a donkey I think He can certainly say something to me through Pixar's latest installment. There's a particular quote that resonated with me in the movie. Arlo's dad says this near the beginning, "Sometimes, you have to get through your fear to see the beauty on the other side."

Getting through my fear. Not denying it. Not trying to avoid it. But choosing to walk right through it and realizing that being afraid isn't the problem, letting it control my every move is. Being brave doesn't mean I'm not afraid. In fact, when I'm choking on fear is probably when I have the opportunity to my bravest.

So those dark times? When the bills add up and the stress chokes out any dreams we had and fear forms it's heavy clouds over my heart? That's just when God's grace comes in, frees me from myself and empowers me to step out in faith.

"Stop clinging to yourself and cling to the cross. There is more joy and more life and more laughter on the other side of death than you can possibly carry alone." -Rachel Jankovic

If you're nodding your head while you read this. If you're saying, "Me too!" because you struggle with fear as well, than I'm here to help. Or at least let you know you're not alone (thinking you're alone, makes everything scarier doesn't it?) I'll be over on Instagram where you're more than welcome to leave a comment on my latest post about this. I'd be delighted to respond. Together through Christ we can walk triumphant into His light.

You're so brave, dear one.