And so, today began much like any other. I got up and saw my hubby off to work and set about my day at home by starting the laundry and taking care of some little obstacles. I really didn’t feel any differently than any other morning since my grandmother passed away last June on my wedding day.
It seems the same sadness coupled with dizzying fearful thoughts accompany me throughout the day – and it’s so commonplace now I don’t even recognize it. The fear started when my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer last Spring. We spiraled from her diagnosis to her funeral in less than two months. And after the reality of her passing settled on me it brought a fear of sickness along with it. And that fear has hovered over me and whispered its threats into my ear every day for the past nine months.
Today, as I was driving down to pick up my daughter I heard the Lord speaking to me in my heart. He said what if you live your entire life and none of the things you are fearing so much even happen to you? What if on that day you look back and realize that those fears have stolen all of the moments of joy from your life? For some reason this really shook me out of my driving coma and I felt a pang of recognition deep within me as I instantly recalled many occasions when I have replaced a joyful thought with a fearful one.
It was true. I have been trading my joys for the sorrows and burdens of paralyzing fears and whispered threats lingering somewhere in the back of my mind for so many months now it has become habitual. I understood today how often I interrupt a joyful thought with -but what if? It was all true. I never even realized that every time I feel joy of any kind that fear rushes back in and I shrink back down into sadness and anxiety. I knew that fear had become part of my life, especially since I lost my grandma last year. But I never really understood just what that fear was stealing from me.
So I asked God – well, how do I stop the fear? It’s so automatic – and it feels so real and it knocks me down every time it hits. And He said, Give it to me. Give me the fear. Give me the tears. Leave the uncertainty up to me. Let it rest on my shoulders. Immediately my thoughts were – but what if the things I fear actually happen to me? And He replied, I have given this day to you just as I have every other that has gone before – and there is so much joy there for you. Why are you living your life every day as if the things you so desperately fear have already happened to you – when I have given you a rainbow at the end of every storm in your life?
I didn’t have an answer. I still don’t. But I know that I have to undo this automatic fearful response if I ever really want to enjoy my life again. At the end of the day we can’t really control very much of what happens to us. But it doesn’t make sense to go through life with so many fears boiling over that you can’t even feel happiness anymore. So, I have begun the process of recognizing and letting go of the fears and replacing the automatic fearful internal responses with my choice to give all of those things to God and let Him sort them out. I don’t feel much different than I did yesterday. But I have a whole new perspective on life.