Today, I am discussing Five Lessons Learned About Fear.
I am going to be brutally honest with you in hopes this might help someone else.
In my youth, I was super courageous…took risks, traveled often…moved often…always on the go.
However, once I became a mother of three…fear began to raise it’s ugly head.
Let me say here that there are legitimate fears. If I am in a tornado warning, and instructed to take shelter, then the fear of what could happen needs to kick in and I should obey.
I instruct my grandchildren to be fearful of cars in the street when they are on their scooters or bikes.
Out-of-control fear is when I worry about them doing this when I am not there to watch them. That is the unhealthy type of fear we are discussing today.
FIRST LESSON LEARNED: UNDERSTAND FEAR
I now know that most fear is best understood in an acronym. Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.
I began with constant worry and fear for my children…and still occasionally slip into this fear with my grandchildren. It is not based on anything real, but on false evidence that certain things are happening that only I have created in my mind.
Once we understand that the majority of our fears are not based on reality, it is easier to avoid them.
ACTION POINT: I now stop and evaluate…what is real with this fear and what is made up in my very active imagination.
Oftentimes, I need to do a little research to see if my fears are founded or unfounded. A balance of information can help…just not too much.
SECOND LESSON LEARNED: FEAR OFTEN CENTERS AROUND CONTROL
I have learned that my extreme fears have much to do with my own “control” issues. If I cannot control a situation to be the way I think it should be, then I become very fearful.
The hardest thing for me about parenting my adult children is to keep my control out of the picture and not obsess over what I think they should do with their own children and lives.
I can make myself sick with fear and worry if I am not in control of travel decisions or event times or where my family might choose to live.
I know…this is pitiful, but I am being honest in order to open up someone else’s eyes to their own control and how it morphs into deep, dark fear.
ACTION POINT: Now that I understand this unpleasant side of me, I immediately ask myself if my fear is related to my own lack of control. It is this type of fear that kept me from jumping into my own business before now.
Sadly, it took a pandemic to help me make the plunge and stop focusing on my fears of what could happen if I left the professional world.
THIRD LESSON LEARNED: FEAR IS A LIVE, GROWING BEAST
I have learned that I gave my fears permission to begin as a young mother and they have grown and grown and grown out of control over the last thirty five years.
It reached a point where I was having anxiety attacks from obsessive thoughts over situations that were fantasies. Most of these involved travel fears or situations with family.
Once you give excessive fear a foothold, it just morphs into out-of-control thoughts that can (and often do) affect your health and keep you from truly enjoying life.
ACTION POINT: Again, understanding that it is the out-of-control fear that is causing the anxiety attacks does help. Sometimes all I need to do is breathe deep for several moments, and take time to pray.
Good health practice like exercise, healthy eating, good amount of sleep, sharing with others helps as well. Isolation often provides fertile soil for fear to grow.
I reach out now for help and approach it with honesty. (My version of phone a friend!)
FOURTH LESSON LEARNED: FEAR IS A THIEF
The fourth lesson I have learned about fear is that it is often a thief of my best life lived, of my health, and of my joy.
When I allow it to get out-of-control and keep me from experiencing life around me with family or friends, then I have been robbed of my joy and life experiences.
ACTION POINT: I verbally call the thief out now for who he is and immediately pray and ask for God’s help to go forward in trust…not fear.
I look at the true evidence of the good and not the bad of a situation and choose to place my thoughts there. If fear is robbing me of sleep, I develop something else to focus on and tell fear to STOP!
FIFTH LESSON LEARNED: FEAR CAN BE DIMINISHED AND LIFE CAN HAVE JOY
The final lesson learned about fear is that I can change and diminish it’s hold on my life.
One of the silver linings of 2020 has been the time to stop, evaluate, ponder, learn and go forward in my battle with fear.
It does help to have someone walking the journey with you, and Mr. B has done that for me…more in the accountability area than anything.
Is it 100% in my past? No…but much, much improved. Taking a few risks has helped me with identifying the lessons learned and now operating with awareness of them.
So, please join me on Thursday for part 2 of this post….I will explain where I took the pictures for today and how it is a big part of this story. Also, I have only grazed here the part about my faith.
However, my increased prayer life has played a huge role in releasing the grip fear holds. God walks with me through this journey daily.
Would anyone else like to share their lessons learned about fear? I know we are discussing a difficult topic, but despite that, there is always hope and a reason to…..
By Pamela Lutrell