Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fear = False Evidence Appearing Real

Given the current financial status of our family (i.e. both adults in the house are unemployed), fear is something we find ourselves fighting daily. The fear of being homeless (an all-too-recent experience for the three of us), the fear of going hungry, the fear of being seen as a failure, the fear of not being able to recover if we find ourselves in that situation this time, etc. etc. Behind these fears are other fears lurking. We both fear that our talents and skills are inadequate in this market, that our lack of a degree will prevent us from even making the interview, that we'll disappoint our son by having to move yet again. For my husband, he fears that even if he does land a job he won't be able to keep it and that even if he does finish the game he is working on he won't be able to make enough to provide for us all.

For me, I have known what God wanted from me for several months. He wants me to write and publish my story. I got a third of the way through writing it in late February through mid March, but I gave up on it because of fear. I was afraid I would write it and no one would read it. I was afraid that I would write it and everyone would read it. Now that my husband has lost his job, I fear it isn't marketable enough, that I won't be able to bring in enough income quickly enough to make a difference, that I'm not capable of doing the things I know are necessary in order to make it happen. As is so typical of the way that God works, though, God confronted me on my fears today.

Our mother's group has been reading Kim Meeker's The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers. We've just finished habit 8 and are now starting habit 9. Habit 9 is Letting Go of Fear. As I read the chapter, she reminded me of something I've heard before - that fear is really false evidence appearing real. The best way to deal with our fears is to face them, confront them, and drag them into the light of day. Name each fear, and where the fear comes from so we can put it to rest.

I read the chapter, made my notes, and decided to pick up Richard Castle's Naked Heat, a book I picked up recently. In it, the main character - Jameson Rook - describes a writing technique in which he interviews himself on some area of a problem he is facing with his plot. In this case, he used the technique to help solve a murder.

I decided to try this same technique with myself. Here are the results below (forgive me in advance if this confuses you):

- You're doing it again

* Doing what?

- Don't 'what' me. You know what I mean. Dodging the work.

* I know. And I am.

- Why do you avoid it?

* I guess there are a lot of reasons. Like what if I can't finish it. I feel overwhelmed by the amount of ground there is to cover. And remembering is hard. I'm afraid to get the details wrong, afraid I'll leave out things that matter. I also hate feeling those things. And yes, part of me would rather not be so naked in front of the world.

- That's a lot of fear to work through. No wonder you're dodging it. Let's tackle the issues one at a time. First, you can finish it. You can do anything you set your mind to doing. You are not doing this alone, unless you fail to call for help. Remember that this is something God wants you to do and He will provide you all that you need to get it done. You have only to ask for His help.

Second, remember what your aunt taught you. One memory at a time, one page at a time. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed by the overall picture, just focus on the details.

Third, you've spent time pushing your memories away so you didn't have to deal with the pain. You're going to have to prove to your memories that you want them. You're going to have to call up the memories you do have and allow yourself to fully relive them, let them fully affect you. You're going to have to allow them to crawl into your lap so you can wrap your arms around them and listen to everything they have to tell you. Then, you're going to have to thank them for coming to you and promise not to push them away again; promise not to ignore them anymore; and promise you won't let their voice go unheard. When you start listening, your memories will give you the details you'll need and you'll know which ones want to be shared and which ones don't because they will speak to you.

Fourth, the pain is there. It's there and it's hurting you whether you want to acknowledge it or not but you're so used to living with it that you've taken it as just who you are. Dealing with this is going to hurt, but once the hurt is done then the healing can begin.

* Okay, but what if I'm not strong enough? What if I can't handle all of this?

- The Lord is your strength and your refuge. His arm is not too short to save, His ears not too deaf to hear. Call upon Him in your time of need and He will rescue you. Above all things, Be Not Afraid.

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