“Obsessive thoughts never take you to good places.”
I think Steve Leavitt said that. I know I heard it on Point of View, and I know the gentleman in question had suffered from clinical depression, racing thoughts and panic attacks for a number of years. God turned his suffering into a ministry.
I’ve always been something of a fretter, but I’m taking it to new heights this year. I seem to be turning phobic. Of storms.
Living in Kansas, storms are a reasonable thing to fear. This year, especially, has been one of the deadliest and most unpredictable on weather record. But phobias aren’t reasonable fears. They take a reasonable fear and step it into unreasonable territory. When I can’t leave my house because there’s a 20% chance of a thunderstorm that might turn into a severe thunderstorm that might turn into a severe thunderstorm outbreak that might turn into a deadly tornadic event, never mind that there isn’t a cloud in the sky or within 60 miles of the city…well, that’s a phobia.
I like Adrian Monk. I don’t want to be him.
Trouble is, I haven’t been able to figure out how to stop it. I know it’s unreasonable, but that doesn’t keep my heart from seizing up when I listen to the 7 day forecast. Or my stomach from trying to turn my last meal into diamonds. Or the tossing and turning into the wee hours of the morning, every pore straining to sense the first breath of a nonexistent clap of thunder.
I’ve prayed. I’ve asked friends and family to pray for me. I’ve “put my house in order,” so to speak with all the emergency preparations I can imagine. But the fact is, I’m not in control. That’s really what it comes down to. I can’t control the weather. I can’t control God. I can’t control much of anything. Not even my fear.
I told God recently I can’t live like this. I won’t be a recluse, cowering in her basement. I can’t go night after night awake and shaking in the dark. I can’t do it.
He’s going to have to step up.
Being God, He has. Today, while begging Him for answers, I read this passage in 2 Corinthians:
“He (God) comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so our comfort overflows through Christ. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is experienced in the endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer.” 2 Cor. 1:4-6 HSCB
I wanted to know what I’m supposed to learn from my fear. I wanted to know why God wasn’t giving me that “peace that passes understanding.” I wanted to know why I had to suffer through this silly, irrational nonsense when I know better.
For once, it isn’t all about me. I think God is allowing me to feel this so I can understand and comfort others who feel it, too (not about storms, necessarily, but you can be phobic and obsessive about all kinds of things. The fear is the connecting factor, not the trigger). So they can see me struggle without cursing God. So they can see that instant answers don’t always come, but perseverance leads to blessing. “His faithfulness is my shield and rampart. ” Psa 91: 4b
If that’s true, I may have to suffer through my feelings of fear for a while. I may have to continue deep breathing exercises and exercising every time I feel that adrenaline rush (I figure if that horrible consequence doesn’t stop my brain from releasing adrenaline, nothing will). I don’t know how long, but at least now, I may know just a little bit of why.
I don’t presume to believe this is the entire reason. God is far more complex than that. This may, however, be one reason, and it’s a reason that has started helping me make it through.
Here’s the irony. Remember that quote from above? From the guy who’d been there, done that, and now ministers to other? Yeah, the answer was staring me in the face the whole time.
I just couldn’t see it past the fear.
Even as I write this, the weather radio has blared another tornado watch, the first of many for this week, they say. I will covet whatever prayers you see fit to offer on my behalf and on behalf of all of us who must weather these storms, both physical and emotional.
May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Robynn, I’ve been praying for you. And I think it’s awesome that you are sharing your fears with us. We ALL have fears, and I bet every one of us has some sort of irrational fear–whether it be storms or spiders–but many of us never have to face that fear head-on. I’ve had to face two of my biggest fears so I can at least somewhat understand what you are going through.
It is also awesome that you are seeing God in this situation already, and *when* you get through it, you’ll see Him even more clearly :).
I’m hoping God is telling me I’m not the only one to struggle with fear. Maybe others can get something out of this and not have to go through it.
Thank you for the prayers.
I’m praying for a respectful level of fear to return to you, Princess Turtle.
First, facing the fear of heights does not mean bunji jumping, no matter what the “experts” tell you. So logic would tell you not to go storm chasing. See? There’s the upside. You don’t have to drive into the center of a tornado. 😛
The only way I’d bunji jump is if someone tied a rope to my dead ankle. And, coming from someone who almost drove into the center of a tornado, I’m touched! 🙂
Applauding your courage! Hugs!
Thank you, Sonia. I’ll take all the hugs I can get! But trust me, there is no courage happening here. Just good ole’ yeller-bellied cowardice. Praise God, He’s strong enough for both of us.
Gaining perspective on your fears and sharing them helps us all, Robyn.
I’ll be praying that God restrains your Kansas weather and gives you peace of mind.
Thank you, Lois. I don’t think I’ve prayed this much in my entire adult life. How sad is that? And no worries on the name. Happens all the time. 🙂
Sorry I left an “n” off your name.
I do believe there are times that God does seem a bit complex and there are times He doesn’t. I also think that sometimes we make Him more complex then He really is. Especially when we are experiencing something we don’t like nor understand. But as you have told me before – He is there, always. I also think we sometimes know the why quickly, sometime slowly and sometimes never. I am just thankful He takes care of it. Hugs & prayers coming towards you!
Your “simple” faith has changed my perspective more times than I can count, and always for the better. Thank you, My Dear Friend.
My Dearest little Turtle,
Up until my older years, I have had a terrible terrible fear of the dark. It always seemed like, if there was a way of me being in the dark, it always presented itself to me. When I was working as a maid and I had to walk home many nights in the dark down a long country road. I would walk down the middle of the road with tears streaming down my face cursing at the Lord. I survived this.Even though the Lord had every right to send a big old mountain lion out to eat me,He didn’t. Another time I broke down on this mountain road and had no flashlight. My horrible imagination wouldn’t even let me stay in the car where I probably would have been safe till someone came after me. I just kept imagining a bear breaking the windows and pulling me through them. So I got out and grabbed a big stick a started beating the middle of the road and screaming to the top of my lungs,”THANK YOU JESUS!” by the time I got home I was so hoarse I could hardly utter my name. I guess I have just grown too old and too tired to be scared anymore. Fear takes a whole lot out of you! LOL I will send up many prayers for you sweety cause as you noticed, I can identify with you!
Wow! You really can. That’s exactly what it’s like. I’ve not hit anything with a stick yet, but otherwise, you’ve nailed it.
Fear is exhausting. One of the reasons I’m giving it to God daily, sometimes hourly. I just can’t be this worn out all the time. Gives me pimples.
Thank you for the prayers!
We only see part of it all. Many times we only see the scary parts.
He’ll allow these things. “So they can see me struggle without cursing God.”
I believe this is one of His greatest showings of Love. So that those who listen to His whispers will come out saying, just as Jesus did, “I have been there.”
Praying with you and for you.
Thank you, Tymothy! I cherish your prayers.