Adventurous? Who Me?

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No one who knows me would call me adventurous.  I have usually lived my life pretty safe.   I am not one who likes to try new things such as kayaking, zip-lining or even driving down a road I am not familiar with.  I think a part of me has always been that way, but in recent years, my living “close to the vest” as the old saying goes, is more prevalent.  I am not sure when I started to feel less in the mood to take a risk.  Don’t get me wrong, I have taken risks in my life and things have often gone well. But there are certain times I am extremely hesitant.  My recent struggles with anxiety have exacerbated this.

Where am I now?

I am at a point in my life now where I don’t want to live fearful anymore. I want to be more spontaneous and adventurous, fearless. I owe it to my husband, my family and most of all to myself. Looking back at my life I can see areas where I was willing to take a risk and areas where I definitely was not. It helps me at this stage to realize I have taken risks before and I can do it again. Even take new risks!

One example of a risk I took was agreeing to move out of state, away from family and begin a new life together with my husband.  I had barely traveled out of state let alone LIVED in another state.  At that time in my life, I was willing to do so.  We had a young child back then and our work options were limited. We needed a change. So we made the move. We did have one family member who lived in our new area. That did help put me at ease some.  As it turned out, this was the best move we could have made. We have been in Virginia for over 20 years now and definitely call it home.

Being somewhat shy and lacking self-confidence I often felt unsure of the choices I made.  I was nervous to step out of my comfort zone, but I now realize it was those very uncomfortable things that helped me grow professionally as well as personally. The growth allowed me to have enough confidence and faith to start my own very small business as well as a blog several years ago.

While I did have emotional setbacks, I feel that am on the other side of that now. I can see how God can use our struggles and our pain to first, strengthen our relationship with Him and second, to allow us to have greater compassion for others and use our experiences to help them carry on.

Moving Forward

I know I have missed out on things in my life because of my lack of “risk” taking and I don’t want to live that way anymore. Part of the reason for this blog in the first place is to help me and hopefully help you to live life to the fullest. To live fearlessly. I don’t mean live stupidly. But to be able to live a life that is unafraid. A big inspiration for this new perspective is the song, Fearless by Jasmine Murray.

I say that I trust that God has got my back, but am I living that out? I hope so. Maybe one day people will say that I am adventurous. Fearless, even.

 

What To Do When Fear Strikes

 

Have you ever been suddenly flooded with fear? I have many times. Today, in fact. Do you get a sense of overwhelming dread or panic? That is the typical response for many.  It can cause you to think of nothing else. Drive your day into a ditch. So what do we do when fear strikes?

I find myself so wrapped up in the fear, like a blanket, that I actually need someway to remove it. To throw it off. At times, doing research, or writing lists in reference to what is causing me fear or anxiety can help. Or working out a written plan for handling the situation. Sometimes this can work.

But there are often circumstances where we can’t work it out ourselves. No amount of figuring or working will help this situation.  It is then, when we must realize WE are not in control of…well, much of anything. As hard as we may try or as much as we may think.

Though my rational self realizes this, when I am in a state of panic or fear, my irrational self doesn’t get it.  I have to force myself to take a breath. My mind can get my body in such a tense state that I forget to breathe.  I need to remind myself that God will work it out. Even if it doesn’t go the way I hoped, HE is there right beside me to help me get through it.

When fear strikes. Take a time out. Take a few long deep breathes. Figure out if this IS something you can deal with and make okay, or if it is completely out of your control.  If it’s the first, then perhaps the writing down, list making, researching thing is a good option. If it’s the latter, you need to LET IT GO. Really. Give it over to God. Make a declaration out loud that you know, this is beyond your abilities and that you willingly hand over your troubles to Him as He has instructed us to do.

Matthew 11: 28-30.  28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

When fear strikes and lays itself upon you like a heavy blanket, take a deep breath and stretch out your arms and toss it off of you.  Jesus will take it from there.

How I Made It Through Some Trying Times

Woman with hands over face

Trying Times

Last year my family and I went through some very difficult times. There were many moments of despair and anquish. There were days I didn’t know how or if we could survive.

I prayed and cried out to God, I searched scripture after scripture trying to hold it all together. One of the great battles that I personally was dealing with was that I fully believed that God could heal, restore and make all things new, including this situation. I knew He was able. But my struggle came from the fact that God can fix all of our situations but for reasons we don’t understand,  He doesn’t always do so.

While I was trusting in His ability to help us in this situation, I just didn’t know if he would. Then while listening to the radio (K-Love) on my way to work one morning, I heard the song, Even If, by Mercy Me.  At the same time I was recalling the passage in the bible (Daniel 3) about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These three faithful men refused to bow down to a false god knowing if they didn’t they would be thrown into a literal fire. But they didn’t fear. They were confident that God would rescue them. But they declared that even if He didn’t, they still refused to worship any other god.

Man, talk about faith! These three sure had it. This story and the song, Even If, were so powerful and sustaining to me. I am grateful for both. Take a few minutes to read the above referenced passages. Also take a glance at a few of the lyrics from the song.

I know You’re able and I know You can

Save through the fire with Your mighty hand

But even if You don’t

My hope is You alone

I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt

Would all go away if You’d just say the word

But even if You don’t My hope is You alone

Those words are powerful! I wanted to have such a faith that whether or not our situation improved, I would still have my Hope in Jesus. I would still have faith.

He is Faithful

For my situation, things definitely did improve. Things aren’t perfect and some of these issues may be on going, but they are much better to say the least. I am so very thankful. I am also thankful for the fact that He is faithful. Whether or not our situation improved, I am eternally grateful that He was and is still walking right beside me. Every step of the way.

Remember, no matter what happens or doesn’t happen, Jesus is right beside us. Comforting us when we are hurting. Reminding us that He’s there, always. Even if we aren’t rescued from the fire.

 

Kevin Love Revealing Panic Attacks is Helpful for Others : Everyone’s Going Through Something

This week NBA star, Kevin Love revealed in an open essay in The Player’s Tribune, that he has recently suffered from panic attacks. Something few people knew. He didn’t intend to go public with this information. However, after another NBA player, DeMar DeRozan shared publicly that he was dealing with depression, Love decided to reveal his truth. The response, according to Love, has been overwhelmingly positive. People have been sharing their own personal stories with him.  Love said that sharing this message may be “his life’s work.” DeRozan has seemingly taken on his new role as well to help increase awareness of mental health issues.

 

Revealing your truth

It is amazing that when we decide to move ahead and share our truths, how freeing that can be. And how it can open the flood gates for others to do the same.  Mental health issues have historically been kept very secretive and discreet. Usually for fear of being judged or deemed “unstable or crazy”.  As we have come to learn over the last five to ten years, mental health is a broad spectrum and expanse. It amazes me as I speak to others about anxiety and depression, how so many people are dealing with these issues. Most don’t  talk openly about it, but I feel the culture today is changing that. With celebrities and other high profile people being willing to be open about their struggles, it often helps the rest of us feel comfortable to do so.

We are all in this world together. Being less judgmental and more understanding can go a long way. As Kevin Love stated in the recent article, “Everybody has things that you can’t see, that you can’t touch that they’re walking around with every day.”  We just don’t know what someone else is dealing with. They don’t know what you are dealing with. There are two statements that come to mind when we consider that.

  • Be kind to one another. 
  • Sharing your truth can help to set you and others free. 

 

If you are dealing with any mental health issues, do seek help. A trusted family member or friend, pastor, doctor or therapist.  You don’t have to deal with this alone. There are tools to help you get through and overcome.

I thank Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan for inspiring others to speak their own truth.

Say YES…When Anxiety or Fear Tells You To Say NO.

Anxiety, Holding Me Back

As I have mentioned earlier, I have and still do struggle with anxiety. For me, I now see that some of it stems from insecurities and being too concerned with what others might think of me. Most of that starting in childhood with some not-so-nice people teasing me, playing mean tricks on or rejecting me. In hindsight I can now see it played a part in my being afraid to trust my own judgments or to trust others.

Over many years I have become much more comfortable in my own skin and have learned that I can trust myself more. It is one reason why I have a very…and I mean very…small circle of friends. I want to know you are trustworthy before I let you in.

But with that baggage and other unrecognized fears I now know, it has caused me to hold back a lot in my life. Say “NO” to participating in things I really could have enjoyed. Part of the purpose in my writing this blog, is for this to be a proactive way for me to purposefully, live fearlessly.

Making A Change

Lately, when I am asked to do something that would usually cause me trepidation, not because it is a bad or dangerous thing, but because of my stupid anxiety or fear, I remember this blog and my new goal to try to live life fearlessly. Doesn’t mean I don’t still feel the anxiety or fear…but this new awareness encourages me to go for it anyway. With or with out fear. I am sure you have heard the saying , “Courage is not the absence of fear, but is acting in spite of it.”

I hope that by saying YES to things that I would usually avoid or back away from simply because of my irrational fears, will be a trans-formative thing for me. I feel like it is already.  So I ask you to join me in this journey of saying YES to things that you would usually say NO to simply because of anxiety or fear.  Now, I am not talking about saying yes to everything. Nothing illegal, immoral, hurtful to yourself or others. I simply mean saying YES to things that you only say NO to because of anxiety or fear. Check out the verse below as inspiration and comfort in times of fear.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

Think about some of the things you would usually say NO to but secretly you wish you could say YES and really enjoy it.  You can begin by simply sharing your feelings about something with others, if that is one area that you hold back. Try something new that you think might interest you. Whether you are anxious or fearful…try it anyway.  Live Fearlessly!