Are You Afraid?
“Some mornings you just need to punch fear in the face & tell it to shut up! Go past the emotions & don’t look back! Then, make it habit!”
I didn’t eat much for a couple of years, as a child, because I was terrified of being poisoned. My mom had to take the first bite of any food I was afraid to eat to get me to eat it. She ended up taking me to a psychologist because I started looking malnourished.
My dad was diagnosed with MS when I was four and all of the unknown about what was going on around me, manifested itself in me being afraid of EVERYTHING. The psychologist encouraged my dad to spend one on one time with me. I eventually started eating properly again.
My irrational fears, while not as intense as they were during that period of my life, followed me into adulthood. The fear went from being afraid of being poisoned, to being afraid of a house fire (I was so scared any time Smokey the Bear came to school to talk about fire prevention), to being afraid my mom wouldn’t come home after work. As I got older I feared being raped. As a young adult, I had anxiety about severe weather. After that fear subsided, I felt like life was going too good and every time the phone rang, I was afraid it was going to be bad news, because how long could this happy time possibly last?
Do you know how many times the things I have obsessively worried about have actually happened? Like once! and I survived.
When I was 21, I had a few small panic attacks following a big hail storm. I got to a place where I wasn’t functioning properly on days there was a threat of severe weather. I’d pass up opportunities to get out with my 3 year old and socialize. Instead I would just stay home and hide from the clouds. I went to talk to a counselor about my fear. She reassured me that I wasn’t the only one in town traumatized by that storm.
At some point I noticed that our local weathermen like to create a lot of drama about potential severe weather, because they don’t see a lot of action here. Because of our karst topography, we don’t get the severe weather that other parts of the state and country get. I came to the realization that I can’t do anything about severe weather one way or the other. I HATED the way it felt to be afraid, so I quit watching the weather. I also felt like being terrified didn’t show much trust in God and why would anyone want to become a Christian if Christians were so afraid? There was also a coming to terms with the fact that I am going to die one day and if that’s how it’s going to happen, then that’s how it’s going to happen, (but more than likely it wouldn’t happen in my hometown so I could quit worrying about it so much.)
The second big shift came about 3 years ago. I was listening to Steve Chandler talk about how much energy people spend worrying about things that DO NOT ever happen. That audio gave me permission to quit being so fearful. It was exactly what I needed to hear. He went on to say that we can use that same amount of energy to create solutions and take action to improve situations that we can actually do something about. If there is nothing that can be done, we can focus our energy in a different direction besides worry. Do what you can and then MOVE ON.
The ONLY thing I can control is how I CHOOSE to BE in the world today. I have absolutely ZERO control over anything or anyone but myself.
If someone who spent as many years being afraid as I did can overcome fear then I KNOW you can too!
A Self Care routine is helpful in overcoming fearful thoughts as well. It’s a daily reminder that this day is a gift and you get to choose whether to live it in fear or bravely facing your fear. Read more about Self Care here.
Sarah Boucher happily encourages women to find their power daily at I Am A Powerful Woman. Come join the conversation there. If you are interested in learning more about What One Person Can Do or one on one coaching, you can contact Sarah here.