For years, I entertained the idea of having a “Fear Blog.” Nothing serious, just a self-depricating journal of all the random stuff I’m afraid of on the daily. Like, I’m afraid I’m going to stand up and shout the f-word during a church service. I can’t think of any good ones at the moment. I should have at least kept a list. I’m a little loony.
I never thought I’d write a serious blog about fear. But that’s one of the themes that keeps coming up. It is a daily battle.
Fear. Such a simple word. It’s like a cancer. It grows silently, with fingers stretching out, attaching to what I love and attacking what I hold true. It is on mission to destroy the whole of me, to destroy my relationships. It becomes my lens, my teleprompter. It likes to hide in the dark corners of my mind, undisturbed proliferation.
These last eight months haven’t been the most peaceful. Brent and I have had long stretches of peace, but that fighting that we experienced during the diagnostic process wasn’t the last of it. We’ve fought ugly. I’ve been louder than usual. I’ve been desperate. I can only speak for myself.
Two nights ago, it was as simple as a baking mishap. The parchment slipped and a cookie fell into the oven. Burning chocolate, burning flesh…I needed space. “Could everyone leave the kitchen?!” I snapped at him, directing my anger (which had nothing to do with cancer) at Brent, looking him in the eyes so he wasn’t mistaken. Everyone needed to leave the kitchen. He shoots me a look. Daggers, in my opinion.
And that’s when the Fear gets into the driver’s seat. He will NOT get away with looking at me like that. He WILL change and never make that face again. I will NOT compromise my stance. Why? Because I cannot die knowing that he might make that face at the kids. He needs to be perfect before I die. He has to be both of us before I die. No, he can’t do this without me. He wasn’t meant to be both parents, Can’t you see, God??!! Why did I get voted off the island??
Before I know it, we are yelling in front of the kids. Phoebe gets upset, so we stop talking for the night. The kids wake up to us fighting the next morning. I apologize to the boys. I can’t remember if I apologized to the girls. I feel awful.
I fell apart because he looked at me wrong. This is embarrassing to admit. Fear was at work. Fear should not be our guide, but I let it be my god for 24 hours.
After he leaves for work and the kids clear out for school, I start to remember the true God, the one who can be fully trusted, the one who can lead us safely home, the one who has a disturbingly perfect plan. I remember to surrender it all to God, admittedly with hesitation. I can breathe again. I can stop being so afraid.
The irony is that my prognosis is pretty good right now. I don’t feel like I’m dying. I feel great. I feel hopeful. But Fear doesn’t care about that. Fear isn’t rational, but pretends to be, cloaking itself in statistics and reason. Only God knows outcomes.
With Fear squashed and Faith restored, I am free to love again. I take time to imagine his side and re-open the conversation with a text. “Do you want to talk? The best thing I can come up with right now is for you to tell me all the things that are frustrating you about me and the things that I’ve done….” I know he’s not going to hurt me. We each own our piece. We apologize. We missed each other. Peace is restored.
And I try to stop forgetting the eternal God.
1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…”