SOS: Conquering Fear
I don’t speak Spanish. Well, actually, I know a few words and phrases, and since I speak French, and they are both Latin-based, I can sometimes understand bits here and there.
But you don’t have to know Spanish to understand that this beautiful woman from Guatemala feels happiness inside.
She reminds me that we don’t have to have or be everything to be happy in life. She is an amazing example of the power of overcoming obstacles and clinging to Christ for peace and happiness in life.
But it isn’t enough just to believe in Christ. We have to act upon those beliefs in order to overcome our challenges.
Look at her getting OUT and swimming! Look at her getting UP and OUT of her apartment everyday! Look at her SMILING! I LOVE IT!
We can do things like that!
Sometimes we think that if we believe in Christ and are actively trying to follow him, that things will go smoothly for us. That described me when I had a nervous breakdown seven years ago. Part of that experience included suffering from severe anxiety. When I say severe, I mean that I was afraid to leave my home. I was afraid for my husband to leave home. I was afraid of a multitude of potentially tragic events that could happen to my home and to my family.
The reason I was mentally ill simply came as a result of a combination of circumstances. I was simply running faster than I had strength. I came to learn quickly that we do have physical limits. Sometimes that happens in life. We are simply doing our best to keep up with the circumstances in our lives. For me this meant long-term sleep deprivation, caring for seven children under the age of 11, financial and family stress, hormone changes, and physical illness, all rolled up into one life: mine. I didn’t know how to do differently in my circumstances. I knew I wasn’t sleeping enough. I knew I needed to exercise. I knew I was too stressed out. I just didn’t know how to get off the merry-go-round I felt I was on!
In retrospect, healing came quickly. At the time, it didn’t feel like it. It felt as hard and scary as recovering from a physical accident might be. My therapy included mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual work. I think all healing is that way. And it happened over time. But I healed. THAT is the miracle that I give thanks for every day.
One of the things I learned as I healed is how much I had been facing life with a tight grip on fear before the breakdown. Part of healing for me has been to realize that with Christ, events that overwhelm us will not prevent us from moving forward with life. We will be OK. He will hold our hand, if we let Him, and walk us through the trial. It may be hard; it may be frightening; it may even be agonizing at times, but we will get through it with his help.
Fear has to do with not knowing what is ahead and believing that it is going to work out poorly. We don’t think we are going to be able to handle it. And so we panic inside.
The great news is that the more we get to know Christ, the more we recognize that there is nothing He can’t handle. I don’t know how to handle a million different kinds of experiences, but He’s dealt with them all before.
Taking a step forward into the unknown, believing that healing will come at some point, is faith.
But we HAVE to act.
Acting might take all the courage we don’t think we have. It might feel like it takes everything we can muster just to take the tiny step forward that we need to take. But we can do it. That’s how we grow. One effort at a time. That’s what this beautiful Ingrid has done. What an amazing daughter of God! I LOVE her faith and example!
* I think I’m supposed to do an upside-down exclamation point there, but I don’t know how to do that on this blog program!