I’ve been thinking a lot lately about fear. A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about postponing my wedding, as my fiance and I had made the decision to do so based on all the stress that was between us and surrounding our wedding. Then I went pretty much silent for a while. No new book reviews, no new wedding dress updates, or updates of any sort. That’s because we broke up. It was a very dark time for me. Days of being unable to get out of bed, not eating right (and as someone recently diagnosed with anemia, it’s kind of important that I eat right), dragging through each day. Not fun days. It had been my primary dream since childhood to be a wife and mother, and now that dream had been shattered. I thought I had found my one – my best friend that I wanted to do life with, the one who “got” me and who loved me and all my quirks (well, most of my quirks). We weren’t angry at each other at the time of our break-up. We even ended that conversation with our normal “I love you’s”. I didn’t even cry that night until I realized that I had my family to support me and he was alone in his apartment and had nobody. That thought broke me. The entire time we were not talking the most painful thoughts for me was thinking about his pain.
Yes, we’re back together again. Our break up lasted 6 days. Our relationship feels fresh and new again and I think that’s partially because we’ve realized why we broke up: fear. One of our friends texted me shortly after we broke up and publicized that we had done so on Facebook:
I think she hit the nail on the head. We were consumed and controlled by fear. Both of us had given into fearful thinking, leading to doubt and mistrust, which caused hurt and misunderstandings. Fear destroyed us. And fear, he is a liar (click the link to hear a powerful song about fear). Through talking with her and other trusted friends and advisers I realized how my fear of leaving my family was controlling me and damaging our relationship. It took a few days after resuming communications for him to realize how fear of the past repeating itself was controlling him and damaging our relationship. There were other ostensible causes of our breakdown, but fear was at the root of it. It was like a weed, where the seed had been there from our pasts, but comments and actions had poured water and fertilizer on it until it took over and smothered all the other plants in the gardens of our minds.
So, we’ve realized the problem. Now what?
Well, realizing was a massive first step. Now we aren’t blaming each other for all the hurts and slights we give each other. We can see where the blame squarely lies: on our fear. It frees us to say things like “I was hurt because you say you love me and want to be with me, yet you’re so reluctant to actually move to be with me.” And we realize that my fear of moving away from the safety and security of my family is causing my reluctance and causing his hurt.
We don’t want to live in fear anymore. And we acknowledge that we can’t do it on our own. We need some help. First, from the Master Gardener, the Creator of our souls, the One who put us together in the first place and didn’t make a mistake, because He doesn’t make mistakes. He allows negative things to happen and yes, sometimes they are more than we can handle, because He wants us to let Him help us. He said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” What we can’t handle, He can. And then, to help us give Him our burdens (because I don’t know about you, but I’m always like “nope, it’s ok God, I’ve got this. I can probably do it better then You, fyi”) we need other people. Just like He also said: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” We need other people. I am so thankful for people like my friend I quoted above, who has agreed to be my mentor. We’re meeting weekly, texting as needed, and it has been such a blessing to me in the one short week since we’ve started this arrangement.
I’m also studying fear and anxiety from a Biblical perspective. I’ve checked this book out from the library before, read the prologue and thought “hm, I’m not actually that anxious, so I don’t think I need this book.” Friends, I am embarrassed and humbled by how prideful my thinking was. I wish I had read this book the first time I checked it out months ago. It may have saved me some heartache. If you feel like you’re being prodded to do something or read something that would point you more towards God, do it. I don’t know your circumstances, but you probably won’t be sorry. So I’m reading it now and WOW! I just finished the second chapter and that prompted this whole long blog post. Who knows? Every chapter might prompt a whole long blog post. Because yes, it is just that good. It’s a Max Lucado, I should have expected nothing less.
The second chapter is about God’s sovereignty: the idea that God is actually in control of everything and the more you try to be in control of stuff the more anxious and stressed out you’re going to be. “Well duh Anessa, didn’t you know that?” Yes. I did. Did I believe it? Not going by the evidence of depression, fear, and heartache that has been principle components of my life lately. God is such a wonderful teacher, who, when we forget something He taught us months or years ago, will patiently remind us again in whichever way we will learn best. And He is in charge! What a wonderfully relaxing thought! I don’t know what the future is going to hold. I can guess at a few things, like Trent and I will be together. Trent is probably going to lose his job in June. I am going to leave the library at some point. I am going to leave my family at some point. The first item on that list brings me joy, but the rest are stressful and scary. But God is in charge. It is going to be good.
This was the passage that hit me the hardest from the first chapter of Anxious for Nothing:
Dare to believe that good things will happen. I’m daring.
Full disclosure: clicking the link or picture of the book above will take you to the Amazon page for the book where you can read more reviews and purchase the book if you’d like. I receive a percentage of the sale, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to pay more for the book than you normally would. It just helps me out. Thanks!