Fear is the squelcher of hope.  It’s difficult to be hopeful when you’re fearful.  To hope is to wish for the best.  To fear is [well, I think you know what to fear is].   Because HOPE is my word for 2013, I’m reminded fear is on the other end of the pole. 

Someone recently asked me if I feel afraid in my neighborhood.  For example, am I afraid to walk through it alone?  I answered no, because honestly, I am not.  While I wouldn’t take a slow stroll post 9pm by myself, I’m uninhibited most of the time.

Though I am a self admitted anxiety struggler, I don’t really consider myself someone who lives in fear.  Sure, I worry about things [a lot]…..mostly little, unimportant things.  Things that the earth’s turning do not depend on.

But sometimes fear hits, unexpectedly.  It doesn’t stick around long.  It pays a visit, then heads on down the road.  I remember a morning last fall, while I was getting ready for work.  Scattered thoughts.  Joy thieves.  Negative scenarios.  Why it came when it did, I’m not sure.

I recently read Brene’ Brown book, Daring Greatly.  So far, I really like Brene’, and just might add her to my list of women I’d like to eat dinner with.  In case you’re curious, that list currently includes:

  • Barbara Kingsolver (greatest author ever)
  • Catherine Marshall (unfortunately she’s dead)
  • Gretchen Rubin (I’m really liking her The Happiness Project)
  • Madeleine Albright (first female US Sec of State…..and she’s only 4’10.  Yay for petite people)

                      and others I can’t think of right now

More about Brene’………she’s sincere and she’s funny and she’s not afraid to throw in the word, sh*t.  In other words, she keeps it real.  Daring Greatly is about the courage to be vulnerable, and I am not super great about being vulnerable.  It’s not easy to admit, I am sometimes fearful.

Fearful that:

  • The new moles on my face equal skin cancer
  • Something bad will happen to my husband or children
  • I will end my days alone
  • I will acquire dementia like my grandmother

Again, these are not constant, always with me fears.  They pop into my brain; pop out of my brain.

The most prominent, possibly most realistic, seemingly typical female college graduate with a daughter fear that remains pretty much a constant:

I am not enough.  I have not accomplished enough.  My daughter will look at me and feel I haven’t done what I should have done.  I’m helping someone else live their dream, and am not living mine.  I am letting her down.  I am letting myself down.  I was on the road to sure success…….and I got detoured.  I let go of the dream. I must encourage her to be all she can be.

Whether or not there’s any truth to the above, the message makes a frequent appearance in my head, and from what I’ve learned, in other women’s too.  I remember a scene from Modern Family [yes, it’s a comedy, but still has some realistic points] in which I cried.  The gist of it was Clare [a mother of a teen girl] wanting to be a good example for her daughter.  There’s the fear that the end will come and not all will have been completed.  Even worse, that not much will have been………..

Vulnerability is difficult.  Especially if you’re guarded and have a self-perfectionistic streak.  Yet, as one of the favored authors of my adolescence states:

 “How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives.” — Judy Blume

This is the deal……I know we’re supposed to have faith and not be afraid.  God is with us, and if He is, who can be against us?  How many time have I heard.quoted.thought that verse?  Fear not; fear note; fear not.  It’s ingrained in my brain.  Yet, fear comes.  And it squelches hope.  So I try to focus on other things.  I work on happiness and joy and peace.  And the fear moves on. Temporarily. And I work on realizing I am enough.  And the fear moves on………..

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