Don’t Be Scared

Fear is  debilitating. It starts out small and then blooms into way more than it should be. One time, in the sixth grade, we were talking in class about how the human body chews, swallows and processes food. I began wondering…what if one doesn’t chew the food well enough and it gets stuck in your throat? Even as an adult I still find this to be a valid question. For example, my family and I recently visited a local restaurant and after eating our fried onions, burgers, oysters and chicken wings…we all agreed that dessert would be a good idea. (Dessert is always a good idea). The waiter brought out a creation of brownie, ice cream and chocolate sauce. All total the dessert was the size of my head. Enough to feed all of us…or one crazed chocoholic (me). We all grabbed our spoons and began processing the dessert rapidly. What started out as a tower of beautifulness ended up a sloppy, melted puddle in the dessert bowl. Collectively we’d all managed to take  who-knows-how-many-calories and disseminate them through the process of chewing, swallowing and digestion. Despite the size of the dessert compared to the size of our gullet, not one of us choked!

I’ve not always been so quick to gobble my food. As mentioned above, back in the sixth grade I became obsessed with chewing my food and making sure it was safely processed into pieces I could swallow. Eating with me became arduous. It took me forever to chew my food. One time during lunch at school, I had a near panic attack over a slice of very chewy, cheese pizza. The pizza was not easily chewable, panic set in and  I was convinced I was choking. The whole table stopped eating to watch my antics. I lived…thanks in large part to the fact that in order to choke on a piece of food one must actually attempt to swallow the food. I was too afraid to swallow. But it didn’t stop me from dramatically grabbing my throat and freaking out the lunch lady. I am now over my swallowing fear.

I have a followup MRI scheduled for next week. It’s to see if there are new spots on my brain. My last MRI showed new spots and my physician wants to check and see if the MS is still active or gone back into remission. There is no eloquent way for me to say this, but, I’m scared. For a million reasons…not the least of which is that MRI tubes are insanely claustrophobic.

But it has dawned on me…I have only two options in the matter. Surrender to fear. Surrender to grace. The first option  will debilitate me making it difficult to eat or sleep. I will miss moments of blessing as they will be consumed with minutes/hours of worry. Time will march forward. The sun will rise and set and I will miss it being consumed myopically with fear. The latter will provide breath; rhythm. My eyes will not be on myself but on Christ as grace only comes from Him. This perspective will allow me to eat and sleep. I will hear all my sons silly jokes and they will be a comfort. I will be able to live presently in the moment and fear will not to steal the gifts that are mine.

Neither of the options above change the perameters of my situation…In other words, I still  have to eat and chew the pizza. But this time, unlike my antics in the sixth grade, I can choose to not be afraid. This decision is not light hearted and likely I will have moments of jumping back into the “I’m afraid” camp. That’s ok. I’m not perfect. In that moment, in a calm voice, Christ’ll whisper, “Dont sweat it…I still got you.” Grace will flood back in & fear will dissipate.

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because GOD, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” (‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭31‬:‭6‬ MSG)

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6 thoughts on “Don’t Be Scared

  1. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it”- Nelson Mandela

    Powerful testimony! Stay encouraged because God is good. Grace is the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. It’s the courage that is with you through the valley of th shadow of death. A declaration of God’s goodness and your continued trust and reliance on Him with breakdown strongholds not only in your life but the lives of people around you. Rev. 11:12 “we overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.” God is a good Daddy and I’m praying with you for a supernatural healing!

  2. “Laughter is the best medicine”. I honestly have no idea who said it. I only remember that it was one of those “Huh, I didn’t know that about life” bathroom quotes that people sometimes frame for no reason.

    I agree, sometimes what we fear the most is the unknown. It’s one of those things my creative writing teachers engraved into my brain. But it is true. That is why an abiding faith in Jesus helps us overcome fear. I love that scripture you shared. My family has a favorite verse, Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths”. It got me through a lot of hard things. It got my brother through his heart transplant.

    The MRI will be good. What do you usually do to try and keep calm during the scan?

    • Matt…so true…laughter provides great “calm amidst the storm”. For me, during the MRI…I simply close my eyes and don’t open them until they pull me out. Keeping my eyes closed allows me to keep perspective. They usually put a mask on my on my face and as soon as I open my eyes, see the mask, I lose perspective and go into all-out panic mode. I’ve been prescribed meds that calm me down. Unfortunately, you have to be very still during the MRI and my body involuntarily jerks and moves when under the influence of “sleepy” meds. Go. Figure. Suffice it to say, I simply find a happy place, close my eyes and know that it will be over eventually. 🙂

  3. Thank you for your post. I needed this reminder too. I admire your faith. And I can relate to your fear of the MRI tube. I have that too. Recently I had an MRI and they let me choose a radio station. I chose Christian music and focused like a laser on every word and song. Perhaps that would help you?

    • Hi Jana! Yes, music definitely helps…so long as I don’t start tapping my fingers and toes to the beat when I’m supposed to be still in the MRI tube. Lol! This a new MRI facility so hopefully they’ll have that option.

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