What Are You Afraid Of?

Life really is funny sometimes. I remember when I found myself unexpectedly pregnant at age 29, I was afraid that I would be raising my child by myself if I chose to have that baby. Flash forward twenty two years and I am a now a single mom to three kids. The admonishment, “That which you resist persists” seems to be right on target for me.

If I had paid attention to that fear many years ago, maybe I would have delved deeper into the truth of my marriage. But I stuck my fingers in my ears like a three year old child, repeating over and over again, “I can’t hear you!” whenever my intuition told me to look closer at my life. 

Have you ever done this? Deliberately ignored your inner whispers?

I realize now that my unborn baby was trying to help me sort out what was wrong in my life, much earlier than I was capable of seeing on my own. That unplanned pregnancy was indeed a wake-up call – the cosmic equivalent to a 2’ x 4’ upside the head – daring me to pay attention. 

But I was raised to believe that marriage was forever, no matter what. There would be good times, but there would also be difficult times, and I needed to ride them out. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, right?

Over the years, my husband and I did have children, and even though I was married, for the last several years of our marriage, I was a single parent in the everyday sense. He had a demanding job, and with two young children had decided to go back to seminary school at night to become a deacon. As our family got bigger, he got more and more interested in activities outside the home. In a very real and practical way, and without the label, I was doing the very thing I was so afraid of doing so many years earlier: being a single parent.

Putting a name to what I was already doing only made it harder. Single parent. That phrase sounds hard and lonely, doesn’t it? My friends would remind me repeatedly as I endured the roller coaster ride of my divorce that I had already been doing this for a while anyway. It wasn’t a new gig for me. 

Last week, I took my kids on vacation: a far away vacation where we had to fly to reach our final holiday destination. I realized as I was doing it that it was another thing I had been afraid to do on my own – travel to a new place where I was completely unfamiliar with the precious cargo I call my kiddos. But last week I was not afraid. Not at all.

You see, before I left I decided it was time to make friends with fear: Talk to it and ask it what it was doing for me and why it was there. As I dissected my worries and anxieties, I realized they were based on a belief that the world is not a safe place – a fear I was raised with that goes back many generations and perpetuates itself with the news we see and hear every day on the television, radio, the internet etc. 

For months now, I have been challenging that belief, choosing instead to see the world as a safe place full of good people. And amazingly, (or maybe not so much), last week on vacation, that’s what I found. 

I found love and tenderness with my children; hospitality and kindness in airports, hotels, and rental car businesses. We even experienced magical moments in nature - like sea turtles swimming right next to us! When I met the world with trust, it greeted me back accordingly. 

So what are you afraid of? What beliefs and ideas have you been running from? Maybe it’s time to stop running and look head on at that fear and make friends with it. I bet you will find the same freedom and joy that I have experienced of late.


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