Only thing we have to fear is fear itself. -Franklin D. Roosevelt
Fear is defined by Merriam-Webster as the following:
-to be afraid of (something or someone)
-to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant)
-to be afraid and worried
Fear is an emotion induced by a perceived threat which causes entities to quickly pull far away from it and usually hide. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger.
While I was away this weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting Jon Acuff. He was a great guy, standing in line for a couple of hours after the conference to sign books and meet people. I was in that long line. When it was my turn, he asked me about myself, signed my copy of Start, and posed for a quick photo. I was excited! I immediately looked at my phone to find the pic. I wanted to post it on #instagram for Ian to see. I wished I had one with @derekwebb from the night before, too. Oh well.
When I looked at the photo I was a little shocked. The person in the photo was a strange version of me. It was me, alright, but something was off. My smile was crooked. It was as if the left side of my face didn’t look right. I decided not to post the pic after all. A girl always likes to look her best, right?
I had dinner with a sweet friend and headed to my hotel afterward. For the next hour I looked at myself in the mirror, making all kids of silly faces. I tried to raise my eyebrows and squint my eyes to see if both sides of my face were the same. I smiled as big as I could to see if I could un-do the crooked smile. I just couldn’t figure it out.
Knowing what a worrier Ian is, I decided not to tell him until I was home. In true Ian fashion, he googled my symptoms and took off with possible diagnoses. Why was one side of my face paralyzed? Could I have had a stroke? Did I have a brain tumor? He asked me to please make an appointment to see our family doc. I called and my appointment was this morning.
Last night as we were getting ready for bed I looked over at Ian and said, “Man, if I do have a brain tumor, I better finish writing this dang book!” He didn’t think that was funny. My thought was that if God wants me to go through that, then bring it on.
I realized something about myself last night. I was not afraid of the outcome of this appointment. I knew something wasn’t right with my face, and yet I was not fearful. I did consider that it could be a tumor, but I decided that if it was, everything would be ok. After what we’ve been through I know that God is in complete control of everything in our lives. I used to be afraid of something happening to me and leaving my children. I used to think that I was the only one who could care for them. I still remember the day that I saw our babysitter, Dana, driving away with them on a rainy day when Ian was first admitted to the hospital. I had to let them go. I had to trust her with my treasures. That was my first lesson in giving up my fears. And, guess what? My kids were ok then and for the months that followed while they were taken care of by people other than me.
I also remember how I used to be afraid of being home alone. When Ian had been out of town in years past, I would sleep with my light on and listened frightfully for any sound outside. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was alone- wouldn’t that be an invitation for an intruder? After being a single mommy with my three kids home alone while Ian was in the hospital and rehab for many months, I am no longer afraid.
SO, I decided that, if I did have a brain tumor, I would not be afraid of that either. What a freeing feeling! Its amazing to live life joyfully, without trying to predict what is going to happen or trying to figure out what you can do about it. Lesson learned. Trust me.
My appointment was this morning. I DO NOT have a brain tumor. I have something called Bell’s Palsy, and a slight case of it at that. I have to take some medicine for 10 days and it should improve… hopefully. If the worst thing in my life is having a crooked smile, that’s ok with me. Thank God, right? I’m not sure how we would have dealt with another challenge. Wait- I DO know. Only with God’s help. How can anyone get through anything without Him???
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2Timothy 1:7
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10
WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?