Fear

When Matt is away and I settle in our room for the evening, my imagination tends to get the get the best of me.  I hear every creak, and my mind begins to play out morbid scenarios.  If you were to ask me on those nights, I could tell you my defense plan against a home invasion and where I would hide with our three kids.  By the time I get in bed, my heart is pounding, and all I can do is pull the covers up over my face, squeeze my eyes shut, and hope I fall asleep quickly.

I’m sure this frame of mind contributed to the whacky dreams I had the last night Matt was gone.  In one dream I was a pop artist trying to perform, but the venue did not provide security for me.  My scariest dream that night, however, was a dream full of friends from high school.  Two of those friends had a sad story about their current mental conditions, and for some reason they would instantly turn into sociopaths and try to kill anyone in their paths.  Unfortunately, I was in the one friend’s path, and I spent most of the dream trying to escape his wrath.

In the middle of the night, I awoke, terrified.  I was breathing hard, and it took me a minute to comprehend that I had been dreaming.  The strange thing about dreams is that no matter how bizarre and unrealistic the plot is, they can still feel incredibly real.  As I was lying in bed, coming to the realization that I was now awake and not running away from my former friend-turned killer, I realized that I had to use the bathroom.  But I couldn’t move.  I was paralyzed with fear.  I rolled over and again squeezed my eyes shut while squeezing my bladder harder.

The next morning after I ran to the bathroom, I began to think about my dream and the power I let fear have over me. I had allowed fear to keep me in bed, even though I had a need to get up and was extremely uncomfortable. Of course, my fear was understandable–I was alone in a big, dark bedroom, and I had already let my mind run wild thinking of the three little lives I would protect if anyone tried to cause us harm.  In the daylight, I was more rationale, and, thankfully, fear didn’t control any part of me.

Or did it?

While I was priding myself on my ability to live my life without fear hindering me, a particular incident rushed up to the front of my mind and smacked me in the face.  Recently, my husband pressed me on starting graduate school.  I have a little tuition money for having served in the Air Force, and I only have a few years left to use it.  True to his nature, Matt began searching for different programs that I might enjoy, and he showed me a creative writing program from the University of Georgia. And while I don’t think now is the right time for me to begin a program, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that fear caused me to dismiss Matt rather quickly.

As I looked over this program, intimidation seeped throughout my body.  In one moment, I scanned the required courses, and I felt an adrenaline rush!  The chance to read and discuss literature again with my peers, to write essays and challenge my mind–I wanted to start now!  But almost as quickly that moment of excitement, that positive rush of adrenaline turned to a rush of fear, a moment of flight.

Sometimes when I’m writing my blog, I can’t remember basic grammar rules even though I used to teach high school English.  Since becoming a mother, I have lost brain cells as that part of my brain that used to think clearly and analytically is a little mushy. How could I write a graduate level paper?  I’ve been out of practice for too long…I don’t want to receive scorn from my professors, pity or disgust at being the little stay-at-home mom who needed something to do.

Part of the admission requirement is to submit a portfolio of writing, one piece having to be so many pages in length.  I’ve never attempted to write a novel or anything of substantial length; what would I submit?  And even if I got into the program, would I write anything that my professors or peers would think worth reading?  Most of my writing thus far has been about my children, my marriage, or my faith, topics I’m not sure academia would warmly receive.  I don’t have the great American novel swirling around in my mind–I have my experiences as a wife and mother, a Christian trying to understand God’s will, and they are what I know right now.

As I relived all of these thoughts, these doubts, the other morning, I was ashamed.  I have never talked myself out of something because of fear.  I’ve traveled to other countries by myself; I joined the Air Force after getting married and starting a career–I’ve never let fear determine my course or paralyze me from doing something I want to do.

And I’m not going to let it today, either.

I still don’t think now is the right time to start a graduate program.  I’m not emotionally ready to take on that challenge while raising such young children, and Matt and I have some other goals that we need to reach before I make such a commitment.  Yet when the time is right, I’m certainly not going to back away from a program that excites me because I fear that I might fail or not win others’ approval.

Because fear should never have that kind of power in our lives.  We should never allow fear to paralyze us, to keep us from taking a step in the next direction.  After all, there is no sense lying in bed with the covers pulled up over our faces, squeezing our eyes shut, when the bathroom is a mere fifteen feet away.

18 thoughts on “Fear

  1. This is soooo true. I do the same thing when my husband travels for business – and even sometimes when he's here. Just happened last night as a matter of fact. I was awakened around 1 a.m. because of a weird beeping sound. The hubby didn't hear it (of course), and I was left wondering what it could be. That's when the fears started creeping in: what if someone's in the house? what if someone made it up the stairs and is in my son's room right now? what if? I finally convinced myself that if nothing else I had to check on my son. It wasn't until I made sure he was safe and sound that I settled back down and was able to fall asleep. (The beeping was the electricity going off and our back-up battery for our alarm clocks kicking in, which I realized when it happened again later that night.) Fear can completely paralyze us when we're at our most vulnerable. We just have to rely on God to help us face it head-on. Thanks for the great post!

    Laura

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  2. I actually cracked a smile imagining being awake and needing to go to the bathroom but "squeezing my bladder harder" because I was afraid someone was in the room! Yes, all burglars wait until we stand up to strike – if we just lay there, we're fine. 🙂
    I too, have let fear take me away from opportunities. Somehow the need to not fail keeps me from even trying sometimes. I want to do something well, or I usually won't do it at all. I understand about not being able for your brain to take on one more thing though, even if it's something fun. Little kids have that effect. ;p
    Yay for a hubby that cares about you and your interests. I hope the two of you keep this program in your sights for when the chaos of toddlers has passed!

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    1. But you see, I wasn't afraid of the burglar; I was afraid of my socio-path friend. He only chased people if they ran away, so if I lay still, I should've been okay! 😉

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    2. But you see, I wasn't afraid of the burglar; I was afraid of my socio-path friend. He only chased people if they ran away, so if I lay still, I should've been okay! 😉

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  3. Psalms and Proverbs on CD, my 90's boombox on "repeat all"…this is the scene on my nightstand in my bedroom when Scott is out of town.

    I awake abruptly b/c I hear a creak, my heart is beating rapidly, then I hear Him, then I grin followed by, "Father, thank you for your Words", close my eyes and rest.

    The same scene also takes place when one of my kiddos is sick, I have even put the Psalms and Proverbs in their rooms running all night.. Or during the holidays when I'm about to have a house full of family members who might arrive with a chip on their shoulder…I again play Psalms all day in my kitchen as I invite the Spirit in my home, so it's all about Him…

    God's Word is breathing and alive. I've lived enough life, had enough heartache to fill 3 lifetimes, as a result, I have fear issues, control issues (I'll stop there, it's getting embarrassing!!!). But I seriously recommend purchasing these CD's. Hearing His Word aloud is so comforting, when things of this world are not.

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    1. What a great idea, Lisa! I do pray when I get afraid, but hearing His words might be more comforting, especially since they would be coming from a soothing voice and not me!

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    2. What a great idea, Lisa! I do pray when I get afraid, but hearing His words might be more comforting, especially since they would be coming from a soothing voice and not me!

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    1. Maybe the 'right time' wasn't the best phrase. Perhaps a 'better time'? I know we wouldn't want to take out student loans for the portion of schooling the Air Force wouldn't pay, so we'll definitely need a little time to save for this goal. And truthfully, the thought of taking on something else right now is depressing. I need to not be changing diapers before I take on this challenge! 🙂 But I agree with you. I could postpone school forever if I don't decide to just do it.

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  4. Maybe the 'right time' wasn't the best phrase. Perhaps a 'better time'? I know we wouldn't want to take out student loans for the portion of schooling the Air Force wouldn't pay, so we'll definitely need a little time to save for this goal. And truthfully, the thought of taking on something else right now is depressing. I need to not be changing diapers before I take on this challenge! 🙂 But I agree with you. I could postpone school forever if I don't decide to just do it.

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  5. A little late in getting this to you but regarding going to school, etc . Two thoughts come to mind and I know I've quoted them before. " It is better to have lit one candle then foreverr curse the darkness."
    and of course, "a journey begins with the first step." May8be now is not the right time but if you keep looking for the right time, it might be like looking for a needle in the haystack. I would suggest having a
    goal, a target date, certainly before your G. I. bill runs out……… or Caleb graduatres from college.

    Love,
    Dad

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  6. Thanks for making the effort to go over this, I feel strongly about it as well as adore learning more about this particular subject. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with increased info? It is extremely helpful for me personally.

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