Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fear and Freedom

This weekend Mark in going to be gone - and I am okay with it. 

For those of you who don't know much about me, that is a HUGE step.  My entire life I have been ruled by fear.  I could write a book on the ways I have allowed fear to shape the choices I have made in my life.  But I am learning this year that my fear is based more on my sense of control or lack of control.

I fear losing Mark - not as in him leaving me, but I fear him dying.  But what I fear more than that is that I won't know if he gets hurt or killed.  I fear that I won't be there at those final moments of his life.  I fear that he won't know how much I love him and that I will have regrets about how I have shown or not shown him love.

To those who have never dealt with fear, anxiety, panic attacks, etc., it is hard to understand how deeply fear can grip a person.  Fear is a powerful, powerful emotion and its grip is one that is not easily broken.  Fear is a seemingly never ending cycle.  For after my first panic attack at the ripe age of 8 (at least that's the first one I remember) I began to fear being fearful.  So I would do everything in my power to avoid the circumstance or situation that had caused me to panic.  Hard to do when the fear reared its ugly head anytime my mom left.  This made me going to school, her going to work, the store, out with my dad, etc. extremely difficult for me and my entire family.

As I grew up, those fears would ebb and flow. . . I would have months of relief to be followed by months of despair.  It truly was a roller coaster of emotions, the details of which may be for another post. 

Fast forward to my adult years.  The grip of fear in regards to my mom had finally broken away.  I lived a few precious years without the overwhelming fear of fear. 

As I began my relationship with Mark, it was free of fear.  Then came the summer of 2004 and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was on vacation with my parents, brother and his family.  I think it had to do with the fact that I knew this was the man I loved and wanted to be with for the rest of my life and the realization of that triggered in me the fear of losing him.  To most everyone else when they realize they love someone or find the love of their life it brings comfort, peace, joy.  To me it brought those things with a 1000 lb. side of fear.

God truly choose Mark for me, because he did not run away in the face of my panic attacks, illogical fears and emotions.  He didn't understand them, but he just loved me in spite of them.  I remember him telling me he wasn't going anywhere.  To a young woman who at times wanted to run away from herself, those were powerful words.

I have since had a lot of highs and lows with my fear.  I am just coming out of a really low time.  A time when once again I was consumed by fear and what it could do to me.  Fear does not just weigh me down.  It is a burden to those around me.  It is a heavy burden for Mark to bear, knowing that he is the 'source', for lack of a better term, of my fear.

With the realization though that my fear is based in not being in control, it has empowered me to really look at the things I fear and call them out.  I have no control over what happens to Mark whether he is in town or out of town.  I could talk to him on the phone during the day and the second we hang up he could get into a horrible car accident or some other freak thing.  Only God knows the number of days we are here on this earth.

So, I have been speaking life to myself the last few days and weeks.  I still struggle.  I still get that ugly feeling in the pit of my stomach when I can't reach Mark by phone or when I am waiting for him to return home after work.  I wish I could say that I didn't, but I am able to say in spite of the feeling of fear, I am getting so much better at not allowing it to rule my life and Mark's life.

I am happy that he gets this weekend away with a good friend.  He needs a break from our crazy life and I am looking forward to being able to give him the gift of being at peace and even looking forward to this time alone. 

There is freedom out there from this fear and I am on a journey to find it one day at a time.

I will find delight in embracing my past, living in the present and claiming my future, whatever it may be - free from fear.

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