Fear

February 2, 2019

I would love to say this was simply the behavior of a six-year-old. Honestly, this type of reaction has followed me all of my life. I remember failing at football, baseball, and basketball never to play those games again. I was embarrassed at my lack of athletic prowess and I allowed fear of failure to once again control me. I later would only choose to play games and sports that I was good at. As an adult, my mom bought me a T-shirt that read “If I can’t win, I don’t want to play.”

This fear of failure has followed me into adulthood. I had a few jobs where my independent streak has caused me grief and pain. I have panicked when a supervisor wanted to meet or it was review time. Some of this panic was justified, but in the last 10 years I have been relatively successful in what I set out to do and I have worked in places that understand my creative bent and desire to see things differently. It really makes no sense for me to fall back into the trap, but I still do it too often.

If you have been following my journey, some of these themes have presented themselves throughout my writing. Some of you will smile at the story of me not being able to go to the bathroom when others are around or having to get undressed in front of nurses. These are all symptoms at the same fear. It sucks. My mind seems to overtake my willpower and as of late, my muscles.

We had a trampoline in our backyard up until a couple years ago. Whenever I had to work on the roof and needed to get down, I would walk to the edge and jump off. The last time I attempted to do so I looked down and I could not wrap my mind around the idea of taking that leap, although I had done it dozens of times before. Nothing had changed but my head said no. This scenario has played out over the years over and over again. Fear takes control even though I know I can overcome it (I did eventually jump off by the way).

I’ve been walking with a cane for the last number of months. Last Monday evening I decided that I would try to walk in our hallway unassisted. When walking with the cane I have done okay, but trying to walk without it seem an impossibility. I could not bring myself to move one foot in front of the other. Here is where it gets crazy, I put my hands on the wall and made it a few steps. I then decided to put one finger on the wall with no pressure. I suddenly found myself able to walk down the hall. Somehow that one finger made all the difference the world.

It has now been a number of days and I have been able to make myself walk untethered when I wish. I cannot do it all the time due to the symptoms of the stroke. Some days my leg feels light and other days it feels like a boat anchor. On days that it is light, I will either trust my finger to guide me or simply let go. I will not be walking soon without the cane.

My point is, too often we allow fear to control our mind and circumstances. We limit ourselves.

I have purposely not included a Scripture verse to this post because I don’t believe it is as simple as that. I know well what was penned by Jesus’s best friend and cousin, John, that “perfect love casts out fear”. I believe that to be true but too often I allow my small mind to retreat back and not trust. My desire and hope is that all of you who struggle to know and understand, that I feel your struggle. I believe God is bigger than the circumstances and that eventually I will walk away from all of and see clearly God’s purpose (not that I believe God caused this, but I intently believe he has a purpose in it) in all of this.

Am I still struggling? Unfortunately, yes. Am I seeing God work? Yes!

Looking forward to walking unassisted and then, getting back on that bike.

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