Tag Archives: Fear

I’m not dead and I can prove it

I am doing something I thought I’d die happy never doing. Jogging. I know I posted about it before but it’s seriously a big deal around these parts. Family members don’t believe it. Friends are skeptical. Kids are puzzled.

How did this strange thing come about?

About a year and a half ago, I started having migraines, then I started having anxiety symptoms that were uncontrollable, after that I had what I thought was strokes or MS. To top it all off, I was pretty certain I was going to die. I’m not talking the type of thinking that hypochondriacs do. I’m talking about all these weird symptoms that were coming out of nowhere and smacking me down. Lumps in my breast area really freaked me (and the ER physician) out. Fatigue punched me in the face and pain became a constant presence that I wanted to hurt back. If I could have kicked pain’s sorry butt I would have.

The good news is that I’m not dead from breast cancer, I’m not suffering from MS, and my fatigue, while still ever-present, is not hanging from every limb like an overgrown fungus. I am alive!!

There were so many moments with God this last year that I can’t recount every one to tell you how amazing they were. Some of those moments were rending the air with curses. The pain got so intense for so long I secretly wanted to die. If you’ve ever had the kind of pain that is so endless that you would cut off the limb or body part and throw it out the nearest window just to be done with it, then you know what I’m talking about. That kind of pain and tiredness can drive one into depression, which is where I ended up eventually.

The other times with my sweet Jesus were times of healing. When the Dr. felt lumps under my arm instead of diagnosing me with a stomach ulcer I freaked a little.. I felt the lumps, felt the other strange symptoms and knew that if I did have cancer it would probably be the end for me. At that point, I didn’t think there was much to lose by starting to exercise and get closer to my Lord. I know, that sounds so stupid. I wanted to make my last months, if that was truly what was happening, good ones. Physical exercise would help me if I was either dying or not. I plugged my iPod in and got on the elliptical.  This song came on and my heart came undone. God ministered to me in those minutes.

Hold My Heart (Tenth Avenue North)

How long must I pray
Must I pray to You
How long must I wait
Must I wait for You
How long till I see Your face
See You shining through

I’m on my knees
Begging You to notice me
I’m on my knees
Father, will You turn to me

One tear in the driving rain
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart
One life, that’s all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You’re everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart

I’ve been so afraid, afraid to close my eyes
So much can slip away before I say goodbye
But if there’s no other way
I’m done asking why

‘Cause I’m on my knees
Begging You to notice me
I’m on my knees
Father, will You run to me, yeah

One tear in the driving rain
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart
One life, that’s all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You’re everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart

So many questions without answers
Your promises remain
I can’t see but I’ll take my chances
To hear you call my name
To hear you call my name

One tear in the driving rain
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart
One life, that’s all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You’re everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart
Hold my heart
Could You hold my heart
Hold my heart

I had previously felt like one tear in the driving rain. One voice in a sea of pain. I had felt like I was one insignificant little girl who didn’t have the attention of the Maker of the Stars. At that moment I knew. I knew He loved me. He saw me. He cared. He cared about my anxious heart. He knew I could barely stand. I knew he would hold my heart and heal it. It became my prayer.

“Jesus hold my heart.”

That was the beginning. I’ve posted about how I asked God to deal with my anxiety if it was something I could do, or confess or whatever. I wanted that physical feeling of anxiety to be GONE. I’ll go into how that has been a burden that has been lifted in a bit.

Through prayer and many hours wondering how I could make some steps toward healing, I decided that I would try to jog this spring. Inspiration has come in a few different ways. My cousin’s daughter, Lindsay, who has suffered with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and had achieved an amazing feat. She had run a 5 Km. I have also been inspired by someone who has no arms or legs but has been a source of inspiration and encouragement to millions. If Nick Vujicic can touch the world, minus all of his appendages, surely a small town gal like me could at the very least be healed enough to shine light to my family and possibly to my community. Even if I were to stay in pain to the degree that I was, would I allow God to use those “good days” to reach others? The bad days are impossible to do much but exist. Still…Would I try the impossible?

I started looking at possible ways to train to run a 5 Km. I found Couch to 5K and thought it was doable. I got excited about it and even found an app that would make it easier.

I began seeing a psychologist as a part of my healing. She said something so key, so healing that it made a difference in major ways. She told me that she hears “I feel like the anxiety is a physical thing.” from a lot of women over 40 years of age. This lifted a huge weight of anxiety I had about the anxiety. She also encouraged me to do the little I can do every day. She told me that she does just five minutes every day. She said that if she only does 5 minutes it was better than nothing. I thought to myself, I can do just 5 minutes too! Something is better than NOTHING!

I thought to myself, “how do I make it so that I can succeed?” My brain messages were changing course. God was showing me that the impossible is possible. So, how do I make sure I don’t injure myself with this new exercise with all the health issues I have going on? I have had this problem before. I go all gung-ho and take myself out with a too-high karate kick to the sky or a too bendy bend. Take it slow. The Couch to 5K seemed pretty slow and realistic. So that’s what I did.

The messages I play in my head now are “With God all things are possible.” and “I can do the hard thing.” When I feel like giving up I figure out a way to make myself successful and consider setbacks only setbacks and do not think of them as monumental failures and that I should quit.

It’s almost like a switch has gone on inside me. I had nowhere to go…I was at the bottom. I knew it would be painful to start moving my body but really, I was already in pain.

I am going to do this thing I formerly and daily hated. That’s right, I may have decided that I like jogging. Don’t quote me on that yet. I like that I’m feeling better. I am still finding severe times of fatigue and pain, but not every day like a weighted blanket is covering me. Now, I have more “Go get ’em.” days as opposed to the “I will lay down and try to will my pain away.” I am so thankful to the Maker of the Stars that he has given me the will and the hope and the STRENGTH to Keep on going when my mind and body say stop.

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Making fear disappear

pufferfish_673_600x450

I have talked about how anxiety was a major issue in my life until this last month or two…well, I’ve been on the recovery road for about 4 months now. As in all things that become a pattern in our lives, once we break that pattern it takes a while for the habit part of it to lessen and go away.

Anxiety has a pattern. For me, I would see something that looks like too big of a challenge, or be an impossible task, or something that I don’t want to do, eventhough it’s probably just fine, and there you have it, anxiety.

I was always finding things that made me anxious, things I couldn’t control. I would be nervous about the possiblility of having an accident, so I didn’t want to drive (but I did) then I would be anxious while driving. I would think about not wanting to drive back home because I was terrified of the weather conditions, or what have you.

There are so many instances where I was living in fear. Fear begets anxiety/worry. Fear of the unknown, not being able to control other people.. what will people think?….There were many areas that I was letting fear and anxiety CONTROL ME.

As I was letting those things go and as I was recognizing the physical feeling of becoming anxious, I would pray about it and send fear “into the pit” (let it go)and instead embrace the gifts from God that he gives us, such as peace, confidence and joy and release them into my life. The transformation I have seen has been encouraging. I have seen myself calm down in ways I had no idea that I had been anxious in.

Then, there was getting ready for a trip to Jamaica, where I found myself all wound up about the trip. Would we get it all done? Was everything ready for me to be gone from the kids for over a week? Would we crash? What would my family do if that happened? Would we get through customs? Would we make it around those crazy Jamaican highways? So many ways to be anxious. I started practicing a prayer I’ve recited recently that has healed me in my nervous ways and then peace started overtaking me. I was calm. I also told myself, in each situation we found ourselves in, that would normally make me obsess about it, that worrying about it wouldn’t stop it from happening anyways. So there, calm down, silly!

Suddenly, we were in Jamaica, and they (the Jamaicans) told me there were no more worries, Mon! I believed them and felt peace. I believed God had us in his hands and the trip went so incredibly smooth.

I had another opportunity to panic while snorkelling in the Caribbean Sea. Since my brother died of drowning when I was five, I’ve had a terrible fear of suffocating in water. I have dreamed fearful dreams of my kids drowning in water. It’s nasty stuff. So when I actually had to put my face in the big ol’ sea and start breathing (with a snorkel), it felt completely unnatural and the fear threatened to invade. I said to myself, people do this ALL the time…look at them, they are. I must be able to do this without panicking. After a few false starts I started trusting myself, that my breathing would continue and that I could DO IT!  Down I went again. And I did it!!!  I did it!!

It may not seem brave to you or anything of significance, but getting through that sensation of not being able to do it and then doing it became a source of strength. God gave me the healing I needed to bring more healing.  but snorkeling in a big ol’ sea and around barracuda, coral, sea urchins and other “terrifying” things… it was COOL! So cool! I got to swim for an hour eventually around a coral reef and hold a puffer fish, a sea cucumber (nasty) and hold a creepy crawly starfish (so incredible). I got to touch a hermit crab (large one) who lived in a conch shell. I was able to see a giant crab and saw barracuda swimming beside me. I think I held a puffer fish too or another puffy spiky thing (I can’t remember). I did these things because I decided fear wasn’t going to rule my life, Jesus is. Woo hoo!

Then on the way back to Canada, we had some turbulence, where I may have previously obsessed about how terrible it would be if we crashed, but then kept on reading my book.

I have many areas of potential fear, worry or obsessing about what COULD happen and what WILL happen. I pray I can face them head on and look at what GOD CAN DO instead. HE is making me a new creature. He knows my days, he knows what I will face, and I don’t need to worry because even if hard times come, I know the guy who is in REAL control. That would be the One who made the Universe.

Seriously, this vacation was all about some transformation in my life. It wasn’t all about getting a break from the intensity of our lives, no it was to become more ready in ways I hadn’t really considered being areas of needed change.

It was a fun way to do it though. Thank you Jesus!

Giving the boot to fear

6th March 2011

6th March 2011 (Photo credit: g23armstrong)

I’ve lived with fear a long time, perhaps my whole life long. Fear is with me constantly, and I’ve made it a companion of sorts. I’ve patted the metaphorical seat beside me so that it could have a comfy spot in this ride of life.

I became so  comfortable with fear that I almost forgot it was there. I justified the knot in my stomach as indigestion and the headaches I attributed to my old whiplash injury. My constant fatigue simply became a security blanket that I carried with me as I went through life. While these physical challenges could explain why my life was unravelling –  out of control, I didn’t want to acknowledge that fear and anxiety was making these physical issues even more debilitating.  It was silently squeezing the life out of me while I held on tightly like it was my best friend. I had no idea it was trying to kill me or at the very least make me useless.

Fear is not from God. I knew this! Why was I hanging on so tenaciously to this beast? Because it was comfortable. I didn’t have to take risks because “I didn’t feel good.” or in other words, I was scared.  I had my life all in a box. “I have a limit so I can’t do this *fantastic and/or risky thing*.” I have only so much energy so I have to limit my purpose in life. I was letting fear control my outcome. Fear was keeping me from seeing that God’s plan was not one to fear but to embrace.

I was made for more than lying in bed crying. I was made for Him to fill me and live out my dangerous and risky purpose. Anything outside of my comfortable box of life, as I knew, it seemed scary and dangerous.

I told Fear to go back to the pit from where it came, because that’s where it came from. The Pit. Fear is now recognized and no longer welcome here. Oh, it tries to sneak its way in and sometimes I let it stay a while, but then, with God’s amazing grace I see it. I again kick its sorry behind out of my life and then recognize that God’s gift to me is peace, confidence and assurance. I take them and place them in the area that fear tries to assert itself. I release the box that I’ve held my life in and give it over to the One who is so strong. This life is dangerous and scary sometimes. In fact, if we are following Jesus’ example then we are taking steps toward things that make us uncomfortable.

Things that make me uncomfortable and that cause fear are things like  getting to know my neighbors better. What if they don’t want to be “the Pastor’s wife’s friend”? Pshaw. Easy. Show them love anyways. What if I don’t want to share my testimony this week because I hate public speaking? Pshaw, God’s got it. He’s urging me to do it so he will meet me IN it.

I lead too much of my life and make too many decisions based on the beast FEAR.

Good-bye Fear. I’m giving you the spiritual boot to the backside. You can’t run me anymore.

Hello Peace and Confidence. God’s plan is that they may be present in my life and grow. They help me grow in his plans daily. Peace and Confidence (in the God who gives me strength) are hereby released into my life.I know that there are risks and challenges ahead, that I haven’t mentioned, and I look forward to them.

I could hide from the rest of my life, but WHY?