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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fear and Faith

Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow.
-- Philip Gulley
This week I have been using key words. Words for whatever reason stand out to me that day. Fear has been one that has been popping up in quotes, letters between me and friends and even in comments about the blog on strength that I did. I feel with fear that is also a word that goes hand in hand and that is faith.

Fear clogs; Faith liberates.
-- Elbert Hubbard

Often we fear the unknown. God is kind of an unknown, even for me a believer. That is where faith steps in and I one day as a very young child decided I had to believe in a greater power, and a dear friend witnessed to me , yes in grade school, during recess and the timing was right. My faith has wavered often mainly due to fear. Fear brought on by what was happening around me as a child, and to me as well. Then as a teen when I saw good friends suffer and I had a few traumatic things happen and prayed to God to help and well it seemed there was no answer, and fear set in that perhaps there was not a God, no greater power past my own. Took a few years for me to let go of that fear and regain my faith. When I did the inner feelings that took over hit me like a tidal wave and I could not even began to explain to you how it felt, the rush it gave me of emotions and peace, and well even fear....fear that I would screw it up.

I had joined a church , a small country church when life was once again very upside down and I was struggling on all levels. This church had so many rules of how one was to act, dress, live, the music we listened to, movies we watched or books we read. So being new to actually attending a church and not just communing with God at night through prayers, being thrown in to rules and regulations that it seemed if you broke any of them, well then you were not to be seen by Gods eyes as worthy. I immersed myself. I got baptized. I dressed the part, lived the part, became a woman's bible study leader. I feared if I did not give tithe , even off the garage sale we had just had then I was going against God. Fear was a HUGE part of going to church and my life. I last a couple years there. But the pressure was so great, that I finally left that church. Only to have the pastor come to my home and try to put the fear of God into me for leaving!

I joined another church and it was a bit more relaxed and I let fear go, I let the spirit come into me. Letting that fear go again took such a weight off of me and allowed my faith to grow. Life was not easier. Life had not changed. Each day was a struggle, and no matter how much I prayed for it all to change, for good things to happen, they did not. I now believe during those years in the new church I was just going through the actions. I was a deacon, helped with the youth, was on the prayer chain, my only friends were those who attended my church. I was there two or three times a week. When there was problems I sought the pastors to bring me peace. But I think down deep, there was still that fear that because things were no different, and because I was not following unspoken rules, and I could not recite the bible word for word that either there really was not a God, or I simply was not a worthy person to help. I put up walls and road blocks. I also believe that right around that time that fear aided in the panic and anxiety attacks I still have to this day when I enter a church. Of course the fibro aides in them too.

Slowly I walked away from that church, we moved to Texas and tried a church there, it was huge and I would break into a cold sweat , panic would set in. Fear took over. With such fear there was no chance in finding faith in anything. Life was good right then, money took care of any woes and worries we had. We had a beautiful house, friends, husband had a great job, but I never once thanked God or believed he had anything to do with it. We had all this cause my parents had sold the family property, and it was funding this life. I also was angry with God because I was by this point really suffering with fibromyalgia and was beginning to have the dental issues of severe pain for the first time. I figured if there was a God, I had disappointed him and he allowed this to happen, for me to only be in my thirties and feel as if I was 80 most days....did I mention my friends were seniors as they were the only ones I could keep up with between the pain and exhaustion. Oh I still said I was a believer, but I did not even believe that myself at that point.

As my fibro became worse, I found myself even more fearful. I had watched my Grandma be sick my whole life. I was fearful of being like her. Always reliant on my family because I could no longer do anything which I had once done. Even keeping house, cooking meals, heck getting dressed and doing my make up was a struggle. I struggled . Daily. In pain. Soon even the seniors out walked me. I was depressed. I was lost. At my worst, as I have mentioned I would find myself in the closet, in the dark sobbing. It was then I found my faith again. I sought it out . Read the bible again. Inspirational books. Watched shows on it. Of course I prayed.

About this time I saw an Oprah show , and it was on The Secret. I saw that Jack Canfield , (you know, the Chicken Soup for the Soul guy? ) was a follower. I bought the book and started applying positive thinking, that lead to positive feelings, and even positive prayers and because I was so focused only on positive things happening and coming my way, well they did. Faith was renewed. In myself, in life, in God. I worked very hard at it. It saw me through dark days, which became fewer. I was happier. I was lighter. Yes, there was still stress, we were dealing with a troubled older daughter, my husbands job was not bringing in quite enough and there was dental bills for the girls making it so I could not go. I kept up with it and kept believing. I still could not quote from the bible, but it was in me. God was in me. I witnessed to friends in ways that I was comfortable with, both about The Secret and Law of Attraction as well as God's grace. Fear was gone. Ok not 100%, it would seep in from time to time. But I squashed it quickly!! I only had faith that only good things would happen. What I wanted was ours to have.

I put all my focus on getting us back to California, and a better job for my husband , a better lifestyle for my kids and even ourselves ( being into wine, we loved to tour wineries and Texas, the state, but not the wine...sorry if you are from there and reading this) . I truly believed, had not a doubt that it would happen. It did and it happened quickly and with very few speed bumps. Soon we had our dream home. In the state we loved, in a town we really liked and our daughters were happy as well. My husband had a wonderful job. I thanked God each and every day for the blessings ...quite the turn around from when we had landed in Texas. As time went on though and old problems returned, stress led to fearful thoughts, fibro flairs led to more fear of what was to be. Loneliness led to fears of "what had I done?" Then the recession hit, my husband lost his job, then another and another. Fear of loosing the house, and everything else came to be. My faith plummeted to an all time low. Lower than it had ever been my entire life. How and why was all I could hear run through my head. Positivity was replaced with negativity. Strength with weakness, happiness with sorrow and well faith with fear.

That as you know has been how I have lived my life for the past two years, the last 14 months even more so. Shrouded in pain, stress, worry, anger , sadness and hopelessness. Fear over every little thing was all consuming. I let go of faith as I was convinced faith had let go of me. Every good thing was followed by something twice as bad. Talk about a dark cloud, I should have been called Eeyore not Ruby.
This was me as you know if you have been reading my blog. Oh sure, I tried hard to fake happiness, and wrote fluff in my blog for the first several months. Tried to ignore it all. Keep it inside. That became very hard to do. It was exhausting. Then as mentioned many times in the last month a friend sent me The Law of Attraction book. It was a reminder. A wake up call. A renewal of strength, belief and YES, faith. The book was not bible based, it did not speak of God per say, but the Universe. To me they are one and the same. I started seeking out God again. I decided like I had the first time around to put a believers slant on the whole LOA way of doing things. When I asked the Universe for things, I did it in the form of a prayer to God. I started a gratitude journal. I began to seek out positive quotes, inspiration and people. As you know good things have been happening. None of them big, or very life changing, but figure baby steps. That is why I love the quote above that I saw posted on Twitter today....
"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." - Martin Luther King

That is so true. As I mentioned in discussions with a good friend who is far more faithful in her walk than I have been , she is dealing with a fear factor with something going on with a family members health crisis. Without thinking I told her let the fear go and faith will step back in. She told me it was like getting a hug from God! A reader was telling me she had lived her whole life with fear and was not at all strong, but that her sister saw her as fearless, had faith in her. I told her to examine the fears she had, and work on over coming them, and perhaps she would be the person her sister already knew her to be. It goes on and on , those two words coming into the forefront of my day.

Yes, I am still fearful. Daily I fear loosing my teeth, or becoming further unable to take care of myself. Of what will happen with my husbands job, will things turn around, what if something happens with our daughters and their jobs or health....I am human. But instead of letting that fear take a death grip hold I rely on my renewed  inner strength as well as my word for the year, BELIEVE and get back to removing those road blocks, and being proactive and turning the fear into faith.
Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.

The key to change... is to let go of fear.

As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit.
-- Emmanuel Teney

Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.
-- Henry Ward Beecher

Faith is a process of leaping into the abyss not on the basis of any certainty about "where" we shall land, but rather on the belief that we "shall" land.
-- Carter Heyward

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for all the good citations. Will definitely look into them... Thank you, again.


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