Monday, August 17, 2015

Iced Tea

My friend looked at me, then shifted her eyes to my still-full glass of iced tea.

"Aren't you gonna drink your tea?"

I drink my fair share of caffeine. But only during the day. (I'm quite risk-adverse.)

"Um, no," I explained, head shaking side-to-side. "I don't drink caffeine after 2PM. I'm afraid I won't sleep at night."

 She shook her head a pursed her lips at me. "Giiiiiiirrrrl," she said, laughing.

"YOU WORRY TOO MUCH."

It's true. I worry incessantly over the smallest things, and it's mostly because I can't predict the outcome. And I can't predict the outcome because I can't control the future.

I'd really like to control the future. It would really make me feel better about life.

My 20-year high school reunion is coming up next month. I haven't bought a ticket yet because I'm not sure I really want to go. Do you know how many times I've debated myself over whether that's the right decision?

Some decisions come easily. (But even as I try to figure out an example, I'm thinking to myself I debate the exact right timing to take a shower. No decision comes easily for me. This is a problem and might be the root cause for many of my issues.)

I'm reading a new bible study right now called Fight Back with Joy, and I'm sure you can imagine the contents from reading the title. Me being the fairly cynical and skeptical person that I am, I wasn't sure exactly how much I would like this study. Plus, last week (which I missed) the group was instructed to make party hats out of paper, and I'm just not a party-hat-making kinda gal. (And apparently my joy meter reads about 2. Because the party-hat-making endeavor turned out to be a success.)

When you have to answer that question honestly, though, the truth is sometimes hard to admit. On a joy scale of 1-10, where do you find yourself?

I know my joy is down because my worry and fear are so high. And I don't believe those two can co-exist. Ever.

So today's reading was about naming, and then staring down, your greatest fear.

As a kid, I was fairly innocent and naive. My fears were typical: ghosts, monsters, nightmares. Plus parents fighting and mom blowing up at me. But mostly typical, kid-type fears. As an adult, although still naive, my fears have only gotten more intense: nightmares, ghosts, the dark, evil, the world at large, other people, raising kids, bad things happening, accidents. Failing. Sometimes walking outside. (Because I don't like snakes, and I heard a story once about a copperhead sleeping on someone's front porch, and that person literally stepping right on the snake, and getting bitten, and ending up very sick and in the hospital, which seems almost entirely unfair.)

I can hear my friend laughing now.

Because I feel so out-of-control when it comes to my fears (who can control these things? Nobody.), I've learned to grasp what I can. Which would be food, exercise, where food goes in the fridge.(Having an extraordinarily clean house. FAIL. I've determined this simply cannot be done.) Things like that.  Things that make me look very organized from the outside but make me feel slightly frenzied on the inside. Some of what makes me tick also makes for something good, because now everyone knows exactly where the ketchup belongs and there are no more questions about milk. But sometimes what appears to be good can also be bad, because it makes me so uptight and high-strung.

I read today that fear can serve a healthy purpose. "A good dose of fear reminds us to use a seatbelt, keep out fingertips off the hot stove, and remember to lock the doors at night. Unhealthy fear can lead to worry and anxiety and subject us to a viselike control." (Fight Back with Joy, pg. 42.)

You know what else fear does? Saps any enjoyment of life you may have otherwise had completely and totally dry.  Leading to a life experience that is less than it should be, or ever was intended to be.

You will never experience the fullness of joy God 
wants to give you when you are living in the dark.
{margaret feinberg}

I wish there was a one-time cure-all that I could find, but to cure this type of fear takes time and a will to fight, not a magic wand.

What you find when you step out of the dark may take you by surprise, 
but God has known all along. 
He has been waiting for you to face your fear. 
With His help, you can overcome it.
{margaret feinberg}


2 comments:

  1. Heather, thank you for your vulnerability. Lifting you up in prayer today sweet friend -- that God would wrap His arms around you and that you would use JOY as a weapon to fight your fear!

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    1. Margaret Feinburg, you are a rockstar and I am freaking out that you even read my blog today. Thank you for taking the time to read and pray. I'm reading your study right now with a group from church. Praying together, sister!!

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