Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"Do not be afraid"... but what if I know what's coming?

boat deck, sea of Galilee, 2012
“When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid. But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” 
                            ~John 6:19-20
When I was pregnant with my second child, I remember caring people trying to reassure me about pregnancy and parenting by saying, “At least it’s not your first one. You already know what’s coming. 

And while there’s a level at which that truth does, indeed, bring certain confidence, all I could think of at the time was, “Oh God, help me! I know what’s coming!” 

Yes, experience can and should provide us with a certain comfort, a guarantee of sorts, that helps us face reality and move forward. As in, I gave birth and survived the experience, I can do it a second time—and a third, and a fourth! Or, I made it through diapers and potty training, I know I will live to tell the tale of my children in grade school, or, gulp, high school.

As a writer, the fact that I’ve completed a manuscript before helps me when I struggle with my current book project, and it reminds me that I can do this, again! And if a publisher thought my writing was worthy of being published before, it can—no, it WILL, happen again. Right?

But if I’m honest with myself, the fact that I’ve done it before—whatever the “it” happens to be, can also fill my heart with fear and anxiety. Like pregnancy and delivery, knowing what can happen only reminds me that I am never in control, and that there is nothing I can do to ever be completely prepared for what’s next. No amount of predicting and preparation—whether it is for parenting, or my next physical challenge and surgery, or my next book, will ever anticipate all that could happen.

Sometimes acknowledging that reality can paralyze me with fear.

This past year has been a tough one.  I walked with my closest spiritual friend during the final months of her life here on earth, saying our final goodbyes to one another in July.  At the same time, my father’s declining health hit a crisis point, and then another—and taking care of him demanded all my time, energy, and attention.

The thing is that I know how fast life can and does change, and that understanding can be terrifying

So when I saw the invitation through LisaHendey at to pick and share with the Christian Mompreneur Network not just a word for 2014, but a Scripture phrase to live with, pray with, and grow in during this coming year, I felt a call to name these fears.

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