fear and loathing in virginia beach. or control freak. take 3


I promised some thoughts on fear so here goes…

For me, fear and control go hand and hand (like peanut butter and jelly…great, now I’m hungry).  Well, that’s all fine and dandy to recognize this  – but what do I do about it.

I think a huge part is certainly what I talked about in my post yesterday; it requires knowing God.  And I’ll admit ~ that is SO hard!  Diligent Scripture reading, spending time in silence in order to (as my friend Sarah G. reminded me) hear the whisper of God, and embracing the Holy Spirit’s guidance and intervention are all ways to know God on an increasingly more intimate level.  But for me, I continuously struggle with allowing the lack of His physical presence to be a persistent stumbling block in my attempts to place my trust entirely in Him (which translates to fear ~ which leads to control ~ you get the picture).  And that’s simply reality for now because that’s faith, “the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

So how can I fight the forces of fear when I know that faith will be an enduring challenge?  One thing I’m going to experiment with is looking at the reality of my fear. If I allow fear to become that insurmountable wall in my life, I’m stuck on one side either constantly walking directly into the wall or trying desperately to climb (solo) over it and failing every time.  But, what if I choose to look at fear differently, not giving it the power of being an undefeatable barricade?  What if I actually transform fear into an obstacle I can overcome, thereby allowing myself the opportunity to play out in my head (and quite possibly in reality) the true consequence of climbing over that wall?  Simply put, I allow myself to imagine what living out my worst fears would actually look like.

When I visualize letting go of control I think of those scenes in wilderness camps or cheesy team building exercises where a person is falling backwards into the waiting arms of several individuals, completely trusting that they will be caught before hitting the hard, unwelcoming floor below them.  But what if they weren’t caught; what if they hit the floor?  If it were me, I’d be pretty pissed.  I might even be hurt quite badly.  And yet, I don’t think I’d be angry forever and I don’t think I wouldn’t heal from my injuries.

So, that’s what I’m getting at.  Taking fear to the next level.  Instead of letting it become an insurmountable wall, actually climbing over the barrier and embracing fully what could be waiting on the other side.  One of the items on my list was a desperate control of my dating life.  (There is something to be said for the “anonymity” of the Internet because I can so easily tell myself no one is reading this!)  What are the fears there: someone not liking me for me; having to be more vulnerable than I’m comfortable with; having to adjust an independent lifestyle that I’m quite content to keep just as it is; gulp, having to trust another person; have I mentioned I could go on and on with my lists?  So, I let myself play out those fears, starting with staying single for the remainder of my numbered days on this planet Earth.  And low and behold, while there will no doubt be times of frustration, loneliness, anger, bitterness, questioning, etc., etc., I WOULD survive.  Now, please don’t assume I’m trying to justify or explain away a desire to avoid the emotions of not having it fulfilled.  I’m just saying by really jumping headfirst into the fear, I can truly acknowledge that it wouldn’t envelop and paralyze me beyond a level I God is incapable of enduring.

And that is where I can begin to let go of the control.  God will be there.  He will always be there.  But He will not promise that I don’t have to do something, go through a situation, deal with a harsh reality/emotion just because I don’t want to or don’t think that I can (see Luke 22:42-44).  The imaginable outcome of your current fears may in fact one day become realities, or they might not.  But attempting to control your circumstances by running head first into a titanium wall will only keep you locked in the chains of unfulfilled living.

Try it.  Give yourself completely over to the fear.  Terrifying?  Yes.  Uncertain?  Absolutely.  Conquerable?  Well, with my God I am promised that anything is possible.

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4 Responses to fear and loathing in virginia beach. or control freak. take 3

  1. Karis says:

    Debi!!! I am so glad that I found your blog and that I am afforded the opportunity to get inside your beautiful brain on a more regular basis! I miss you dear friend. I don’t know how it happens that life intervenes to the point that we lose touch with people who are very important to us…

    I will be cyber stalking you now. Looking forward to getting a Pumkin Spice Latte from Starbucks and sitting down to catch up on the archives of your blog.

    My blog is listed above, and I am struck by how God seems to be working on similar things in our hearts right now. If you have the time, go on over to my little corner of cyberspace and read my latest (but not all that recent, I have been slacking on the posts lately) post. It’s called “Be Still.” I’ll warn you, its not short. It’s really the story about what our family has walked through these last 2 years. Its about being still/letting go and allowing God to show you His great faithfulness. It’s also about facing your greatest fears and making the concious choice to not allow them to have the power over you.

    I love you old friend! So glad I saw this status update on FB today that lead me to your great blog! Keep in touch.

    Karis Murray

    • Karis! So great to hear from you! I have been LOVING your blog for quite some time now and was touched by your willingness to humbly share your (and your family’s) story of challenges these past few years! Isn’t it crazy that you have no idea who you’re impacting out in cyberspace?! Well, your story truly impacted me dear friend! Thank you for the reminder that we MUST be still and listen for God and HE will be faithful to answer us. Enjoy that PSL ~ my fave! I look forward to catching up more!

  2. Scott Kalis says:

    Deb,
    I like your analogy of the “wall”. And can completely relate to the vulnerability vs. comfort thing. Trust is REALLY hard, especially when that has been challenged or broken, or weakened, or doubted (for whatever reasons – legitimate, irrational, or simply because we are insecure with ourselves and our own strengths and gifts) or because it is just giving a big piece of ourselves to someone else. Point is; It is still an impediment, and it can be climbed over. Whether you get over it yourself, or have someone helping – it can be overcome. The biggest obstacle (see; wall) is often a choice. Like working out, studying for an exam, dieting, or whatever – it’s a choice. If you want to do it, enlist help and welcome guidance (more on that in a bit), and set out on a path to address the obstacle or issue at hand. In the past I found more peace by asking God for guidance and quietly spending time with my dog at the beach than by most other means. Maybe it’s the calm that they bring to us and they allow us to be quiet and open to hearing better?

    Someone sent this to me, so I’m re-gifting a little;
    ***************************************************************************
    No one who is trying to make spiritual progress should attempt to do so alone – I believe that a spiritual director (like a pastor) is required. A director assists a Christian in examining the motives, desires, consolations, and desolations in their life. We can know what is right from looking at the Ten Commandments and the Seven Deadly Sins in a thorough examination of conscience. But the broader picture of our life is often not so clear. A Christian should, share everything with a director who can see things more objectively, without being swayed by the emotions or passion.
    Seeing whether the good spirit (the influence of God, the Church, one’s soul) or the bad spirit (the influence of Satan, the fast-paced world) is at work requires calm, rational reflection. The good spirit brings us to peaceful, joyful decisions. The bad spirit can bring us to make quick, emotional, conflicted decisions. A spiritual director can assist by personal experience, listening with care, and giving an objective analysis.
    ***************************************************************************
    I realize that we all look for deeper understanding and guidance day-to-day or some panacea, and I believe this can help to better understand how we can settle our fears and overcome any trust issues which linger from our pasts while also looking at those things that we have struggled with and which have cast doubt in our hearts or a shadow over our lives and hurt us when we feel alone facing the future…

    Like you mentioned in your post, God always “has our back” and is that strength we all should dig deep for when we need to assert ourselves and fight the good fight. He should always be beside us in our daily tribulations and trials, but also be that reserve we look for when we need extra strength and stamina.

    Since no one is reading this (yea, right) – I can honestly say that this is what I am doing myself, and believe deep in my soul that I have the good spirit in me, influencing and leading me to support, love, respect, and cherish those who I care about and in the work that I do, while also seeking guidance from a spiritual director. I’m not ashamed to say that I still need help, and welcome the objective perspective and guidance to becoming a better man. I’ve had a shadow over me for some time as well, and I’m working diligently to pensively remove that darkness so that I can be what God intended me to be. I choose to enlist His Strength and Spirit and to tell those who
    I love this fact about my struggles (as you so eloquently do) and how I appreciate their understanding and patience with me. Faithful friends and loved ones help a LOT!
    Keep fighting the good fight! ~ Peace

  3. Sarah says:

    Debi,

    I really needed this post today. Thanks for the encouragement!

    I remember a time not so long ago when I’d lost my job of 5 years and was wondering how in the world I would pay the mortgage, keep the electricity on, find a way to make a living. . .and I was forced to do the very thing you write about above – to let my fears play all the way out to the end – i.e., “what if I can’t find work,” “what if I lose my house,” “what if my car gets repossessed. . .” etc. and at the end of the thought process, I had an incredible sense of peace, because after I’d let all the worst-case scenarios play out, I realized that no matter what material items I would potentially lose, I’d still be intact spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, as long as I kept my focus on the right things and got my priorities in order and “let go and let God,” as the cliche goes.

    Anyway, that situation worked itself out OK, but lately I’ve had some other fears creep in that sometimes get the best of me. Thanks for the great reminder today that “. . .by really jumping headfirst into the fear, I can truly acknowledge that it wouldn’t envelop and paralyze me beyond a level God is incapable of enduring.” Amen, sista!

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