Monday, December 29, 2008

Fear Not...

So, I usually don't post about my religious views...but this struck a chord with my heart this Christmas and I thought it post-worthy. I think that for all of us in bloggyland...at least those whose blogs I read frequently...it's a reminder that we need.

The back story: very long with personal details. skip if you just want the message.


2007-2008 for the most part completely totally sucked. Granted a lot of really wonderful things happened to me. I left the job I was to burned out to do anymore and moved back to Columbus, which is the city of my heart. P and I bought a house. I started a new job that looked promising and wonderful. Before we bought the house, we lived with our friends the Mojos. While living with the Mojos we house-hunted and I started my new job. I got about a month and a half into it and started feeling "off". Like, there were times when I felt light-headed...dizzy. My stomach would roll and I'd feel like I had to sit down before I fell down. I went my usual route of ignoring things because if you ignore them, they'll go away. My heart rate was ridiculous, I mean...it's always fast (apparently I run on a different speed than everyone else...blood pressure is extremely low, but my resting pulse is rarely lower than 77 but resting it was still around 100 beats per minute. When we moved into the new house, P was working in the evenings, and I was there by myself until 11:30 p.m. a lot...and that's when it got really bad. The job wasn't going well at all, my boss was a nightmare and the people I worked with were the kind of people who are ignorant and prejudiced about many of the things that I consider myself an ally for. I was pretty much miserable and had only been there for 3 months. Anyway, I would be unpacking boxes and would have to stop and go lie down. I was terrified and thought I was dying. Finally, one night, I went to the gym...feeling off and ran for a long time. I checked my pulse and it was hovering around 200 beats per minute. GASP! SHOCK! TERROR! So, i went to urgent care. They checked everything and said "go home, you're fine, it's normal." I wasn't convinced and went home and cried. About a week later, I was putting stuff away (again, P wasn't home) and my chest got tight and I got dizzy and lightheaded again. I took myself back to urgent care and burst into tears in front of the nurse. She brought in the on-call doctor and he listened to my heart and said, "You know...I don't want to seem forward...but have you had a lot of change in the last couple of months?" YES!!!!!! I said. YES!!!! Then he asked, "Are you usually the type of person who just 'handles stress?'. YES! I said, thinking where is this crazy man going with this?? He then said...I think you're having anxiety attacks. WHAT????

Yes...and so began the year long journey through anxiety. I tried to tough it out for a couple of months...I made it through September before I caved and decided that I couldn't deal with it on my own anymore. I was stressing my parents out and poor P would come home to find me crying on the bed because I just couldn't breathe...couldn't get my heart to slow down. He would hold me and make me breathe with him until I could get it under control. I finally came to the realization that this was one thing that I was not going to be able to just 'handle.' I took myself to a counselor and got myself a prescription for some anti-anxiety meds. My urgent care doctor became my regular doctor. He addressed all my medical concerns and proved to me that there wasn't actually anything physically wrong with me. The counselor was wonderful, she quickly realized that I was not the type of person who would just take her word for things and gave me journal articles to read. She encouraged me when I was down and talked me through a lot of things where I really thought I was crazy. She helped bring my confidence back when between my boss and my anxiety...it had all but disappeared. We found that I am much more of a "bottler" than I had ever thought. That all the times when I would say I wasn't stressed out, planning a wedding, grad school, my dad's stroke, my grandparents deaths...I just didn't let myself grieve. Didn't let myself feel anything. I was far too afraid to feel vulnerable to let myself actually get rid of those emotions the way that normal people do.

Then along came March 2008. I was still seeing the counselor, still on the anxiety meds. My mom called and my worst nightmare came true...my dad was in the hospital again. There was something wrong with his heart. This is one of my biggest fears in the world, I am terrified of the day that I lose my dad. It's because he's older...he's 71. He's always been really healthy other than having "major things" happen. Diabetes, mismanaged diabetes, a mini-stroke. Other than that, he's hardly ever been sick in the entire time that I can remember. But my dad...my daddy, the person who'd always been my rock...was in the hospital. I felt like every worry I'd ever had about him dying was coming true. I was terrified. P was wonderful, he showed me that no matter what happens...he can be my 'rock' too. That he can be my strength when I'm not strong. But I was still scared. I had to be strong for my mom and my little sister especially, but inside I didn't know if I could handle it...not with everything else that had happened this year. But I did...and I did it differently than I had in the past. I let P see me cry. I prayed. Oh... how I prayed. I prayed not that God wouldn't let my dad die...but that he would do what he felt was right. I trusted Him. I trusted that IF he did pass...my family would still be okay. My dad's surgery went fine and he's doing amazingly well. I still worry. There's a part of me that every day wonders how people do it when their parents die. How long does the hurt last before it becomes manageable...How long will I ache and feel that emptiness. (I don't REALLY want an answer.)

After my dad's surgery, I decided that where I was working was really a major contributor to my unhappiness and started searching for a new job on the sly. I hated doing it, but was left with no choice. The end of May, I found a new job at OSU. I started working at my dream job 2 weeks later.

I gradually took myself off meds and stopped seeing the counselor. I've learned to effectively manage the anxiety...though I wish I could just never worry...I know that it's always going to be a part of me and I just have to not let it affect everything. This is the real reason that I started this blog to help me not let anxiety and fear turn everything bad, to help remind myself of all the reasons I have in life to be strong, to be confident and to be happy. This leads us to the Christmas Eve Sermon.

The Message: From Rev.Mcquire.

The title of the sermon was "Fear Not." It was a reminder of just how many times in the Bible God speaks to us and says "Fear not...for I am with you." It's actually true that the command not to fear is repeated more times than the command to feel love. Luke tells us of how the shepherds quaked in the field when the angels came to tell them of Christ’s birth. Luke tells us" And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

It is such a strong message throughout the Bible. FEAR NOT. Live your life In Him. TRUST. Do not be afraid...He is there.

Do not be afraid of the sad economy, do not be afraid of failure or of success, do not be afraid of your own mortality...do not be afraid of Loss...of sadness. He makes no promises that those things will not happen...but He loves us. He promises repeatedly that He is there. That He will take care of us always. If we trust. If we remember that message first told to the shepherds... Fear NOT...there is joy. We will see those we love again, we will be okay. Unequivocally...He tells us, He is there. You will be fine.

I have always wondered how my dad, my strong safe dad, has never been afraid. How he has never appeared to worry. Perhaps he just doesn't have the "worry gene" that the rest of us do. Or perhaps it's because he actually listens...listens to what God tells us so many times. My dad has always told me "everything will be okay...there's no need to worry." I used to laugh to myself and say 'how do you know.' But he does...and I believe I'm beginning to understand. How can I not trust what's repeated more times than the command to love? How can I assume to know better than God himself? Humbling thought huh?

So dear readers...here's my paraphrased message as we all begin the New Year together. Our generation (those of us in our late 20s, early 30s) are worriers. We are a caretaker generation...we fix things. We control things. We are strong and do not like to feel vulnerable. But we are human. We are just frail creatures in the greater scheme of Life. I plan to embrace my humanity...to stop trying to pretend that I can handle everything all the time. I hope not to fear so much this year. To remember that when I think that I'm about to plummet off a cliff onto the crashing rocks below, I have an invisible safety net. A giant warm loving safety net. HE is there, My God. As we continue in our new marriages, plan new weddings, hope for children (not me yet!!!!!), wish for good health for all those we love, fail, succeed, and dream....remember that no matter what the outcome, we need not fear.

This is my favorite reminder of one of the 75 or so times that God tells us not to be afraid.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalms 27-1, KJ


3 things. Three reasons not to be afraid.





2 comments:

Wolf said...

that was beautiful. thank you for sharing.

isn't it interesting how people go through things and we don't typically know what it is they are going through...

i'm still trying to find my trust again. it's been hard for me since my dad passed. and i am a worrier just like you. so much so that b has to remind me to stop.

i hope 2009 brings you some amazing blessings :)

Donn24g said...

Thanks for sharing, that was a great story and a reminder when we are feeling losts or full or worry. I know the feeling all to well. Learning to trusts my instincs and listen to myself is much harder than it sounds.

I know 2009 will bring wonderful blessings

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Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you. Princess Diana
 

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