"I just have way too many fears."
Recently I read an article by Dr. Phil where he stated that the four letter F word that cripples far too many people is FEAR. I've thought about that all week.
We have three too many cats. Two of them are males--Bax and Sparti--and one is a female: Bella. Bella is the strangest thing I've ever known. She freaks out if you move too quickly; she hides if you're too loud; she runs if she sees Bax or Sparti; she cries and cries when she is stuck on the roof (which is almost daily) but runs away when I try to get her down. She is dominated by fear. And as a result, Sparti and Bax love to torment her. They chase her, attack her, bully her--at every opportune moment. All of the time I am thinking she brings all of this drama on herself because she asks for it with her constant fearful reactions.
And she's just a cat.
So it has made me question what I fear in my own life.
My life is so comfortable really. Most of my married life has been spent on a boarding school campus that creates a natural haven. Everyone here goes to the same church, works at the same school, teaches the same kids, has the same types of responsibilities, lives the same basic lifestyle. It's safe; comfortable. It's world that calms fears and lulls one into a quiet sense of complacency.
And so this week I have dug deep to discover what do I really fear? And here is my list:
I fear rejection.
I fear a future that beckons me away from what is so familiar.
I fear my children experiencing gut-wrenching heartache that, really, is inevitable simply because we live in a world where gut-wrenching things happen.
I fear creating so much pain for loved ones. (I recognize that's vague.)
I fear the unknown.
But I am thankful, really, that I am not rendered immobile by these fears. They don't haunt me on black nights nor stalk me as a shadow as I go about my day. It is more like, in quiet moments when I am surrounded by too much time on my hands--or in the middle of the night when I just can't sleep, they make their presence known.
But here's the thing. I'm sure we all have fears as we are all human. It's part of life. But we also have so many things to be grateful for. We are surrounded by beauty and kindness and the promise of a brand new day with each rising sun. When we learn to be grateful for the small things--grateful for changing seasons and shoes on our feet and technology and for the blessing of living in a free country and so so much more--we can change our focus from fear to gratitude.
I have goals for my future--goals that bring a lot of fear my way as these goals involve the unknown. I don't want to lose sight of them; I don't want fear to rob me of hope.
And so I am taking one step at a time, embracing the small things, eyes straight ahead...
...shaking fear off my feet and leaving it in the dust.
― Nelson Mandela