Tag Archives: Fear

Rainbows Around My Soul

This has been a busier than normal 3+ weeks.  My two teenaged grandchildren showed up for an extended stay with us in the country.  They have gone back home now.  I have much to unpack and write about since my last writing, and it will come soon.  In the meantime I decided to share some writing I did a number of years ago.

In it I refer to my “God Spot.”  I know that is an odd term, but it is a term that I came up with in a coaching session on perspectives.  When I go through a challenge, I found the perspective of my “God Spot” worked for me.  When I discovered this term, I was standing in a hotel conference room, and realized I was standing directly under a spotlight.  I looked at the light, and stated that my “God Spot” was a place I could be in where I truly feel God’s unconditional love for me, where even through rough waters, God was there holding my head above the water.  He is the one who made “Andrea Unsinkable.”

I just want to explain this so that when you read my thoughts from years ago, you will know what my reference of “God Spot” means.  Here is one of my journal entries from around 2011.  Hard to believe that was nine years ago!

I found this beautiful quote last night while having a very, very tough evening.   It says, “The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.”  I was in tears. I was in deep sadness and fear. I allowed sadness to kick me squarely out of my “God Spot.”  It doesn’t matter the reason. It is the fact that fear of rejection is so powerful in me that it can happen from a friend, a boss, a colleague. My codependency raised its ugly head and roared. 

I felt hurt, betrayed, and like a failure. But I know I am not a failure, so then I got angry. And the anger engulfed me. And I let it. Lick my wounds and be the victim.  Sleep did not come easily. My head buzzed. My eyes hurt. I wanted to run away. A friend told me a good cry might help. I told the friend, “I’ve cried too many of my years away.  I don’t want to cry anymore. Do I ever get to stop?”

That all being said, we cannot know good unless we know bad.  There must be evil to recognize ultimate good. Why else would God allow bad things in our lives?  I think it is so we can see the contrast and experience the amazement of his ultimate love and good. 

As I slept off the sadness, remembering that I need my “God Spot” back. Nothing was different in the morning, except for me. I was back in the loving arms of my Savior, where I know I am loved unconditionally.  Did I suffer?  Yeah. But nothing like Christ suffered when he chose to take a beating and horrible death to redeem me. That was suffering. 

I had joy in my life today. I have to make amends to those I may have overwhelmed in my sadness and anger.  Yes, there are rainbows around my soul today!  What a lovely image. 

If my eyes had no tears, I would not recognize the good in my life. Otherwise, the good would just be everyday complacency. Good things happened.  I connected with some supportive friends. It was like God knew to bring those people to me. Actually, I would not have contacted one of them if my bad yesterday had not happened.  It’s not like God knew to bring them to me. He did bring them to me. 

Thoughts on a Pandemic

So, you are sitting at home today?  I assume because of the “pandemic” many people are now working from home. Some folks, unfortunately, have been laid off from their jobs because their place of business (mainly retail and restaurants) are temporarily closing.

DRP, Disaster Recovery PlanWow!  Who expected this?  I sure didn’t.  Yet, when I was working, our senior management team 10 years ago, did disaster planning.  We planned what we would do if our building burned down, what we would do in a pandemic, what we would do if an active shooter arrived at our place of business.  We discussed how we could still do business during these times.  We had to get very specific in these plans so that we would have a written disaster plan in place.  Being retired since early 2013, I am curious how their written plan is working.  I am sure some things worked well, and some things needed tweaking, because we never fully know what to expect in a scenario we have never encountered.  These weeks are huge learning curves for businesses.

There are all kinds of cute memes on social media about sheltering in, washing hands, and any other thing to make us try to smile.  I saw a meme that said we should recite the Lord’s Prayer while washing our hands, and it would be the right length of time for a good hand washing.  Shortly after that I went into the bathroom in a restaurant, and while I was washing my hands, I silently said the Lord’s Prayer, and then when I was finished I realized, that many people kneel when they pray, so what would that look like.  I made this meme and posted it on my Facebook page, because it still makes me smile when I read it.

Wash hands

shoppingDennis and I are sheltered in at our home in Arizona.  We have plenty of food in the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry to get us through a few weeks.  We have toilet paper.  We didn’t buy any, but we have a few packages for our two bathrooms, and now not having any guests visit, it should last a while.

I get up in the morning and I turn the news on the television.  I watch for a short time, because I find it stressful to watch for too long.  If something new or important happens, I get a notice on my phone and I can turn on the TVnews then.  I am relatively calm.  I am also sad.  I think about those who have compromised immune systems.  I think about those in nursing homes who cannot see their families, and they were lonely before, and now they are extremely lonely.  I think about the homeless and wonder how they can shelter when they have no place to shelter, or don’t desire to shelter.  I especially think about my children and their children.  I don’t live near any of them.  

I am not a big telephone person.  When I bought my new iPhone a few months ago, I walked into the Apple store and told them I needed a new camera!  Yeah, that’s what I use my phone for 99% of the time.  It has now become my communication devise again.  Yesterday I was on the phone with my sister.  She is a widow living alone.  She is having minimal contact with her one family in her vicinity, and she is stressed.

Venues that hold many people are temporarily closing.  The larger churches are streaming their worship service online.  I watched two this weekend.  The one that doesn’t usually stream had some difficulty with their streaming.  The church in Missouri that we attend, always stream their services, and the pastor, although speaking in front of an empty auditorium that holds about 2,000, looked like he was speaking to people in person—he was totally comfortable.  I remember once last year when there was a major ice storm, they cancelled in person services and streamed.  I guess he had practice for bookwhat is happening today.  Thank God for technology that we can connect with our worship, talk with friends through social media, go shopping, download books.  Only twenty years ago, this would not have been possible.  

What am I doing while sheltered in our home?  I have my book, “In Awe,” to read.  I have a couple other books downloaded on my Kindle app on my iPhone.  I am working on a quilt.  We have been taking walks outdoors along the walking paths in our neighborhood.  I have a lot of food in the house and if I get really bored, I may try some new recipes.  Of course there is the television.  Not only do we have cable, we have an Apple TV hooked up, that allows me to watch Apple TV, Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, and various other streaming apps. So far I have filled my days well.  There is plenty to do here.

IMG_2019What I will miss is seeing people in person.  I am energized by being in the presence of people.  I love interacting in person, but that is temporarily stopped.  It is just for a period of time.  It is not forever.  It seems like a minor sacrifice compared to the sacrifices our military makes every day for us, or our families in the past during times of war.  We will get through this.

I believe that God is sovereign and loving.  He will hold us in place if we seek him.  He can give us peace that passes understanding.  On that note, I shall stop, because I want the last thought in your head to be one of encouragement. verse

 

 

Breathing Through Fear

I opened my computer to write my blog, and this writing jumped right off the screen. I wrote this about six or seven years ago—and reading this again hit me like a bolt of lightening. When I talk about acting crazy, I am not talking about the certifiable crazy that may cause one to be hospitalized for a period of time. I am talking about not functioning like my norm, being stressed, and over or under reacting, possibly showing all my insecurities in an unhealthy manner, or at least in my eyes. So, here it is:

I just realized that I am afraid. Hmm, who would have thought? My pastor said he never envisioned me as a person who got ever afraid, and I looked at him and said, “I am human.” I think it is okay to be afraid. What is not okay is what I do about it. I cannot dump my fear on others. I cannot forget that God is there, or forget he holds me close. I should not be afraid.

While I was driving in my car—turning off the music and the noise around me—thinking and thinking. Why am I reacting and responding the way I am? I have a friend who deserves better than that in our friendship. I do not have to let my fears leak all over the place.  I am sure he has been afraid in his life, and maybe he even acted out then. Maybe he understands. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is what I need to learn how to respond to my fears.

What had me so afraid? I realized what it was—two friends both with health issues. Both knowing that they can go a long time with these issues, or tomorrow they could be devastatingly ill or even gone. To have two people share this with me about themselves in a 24 hour period of time was more devastating for me than I realized.

00 parentsI have known the first friend since 1991, when she lovingly became my friend during the worst part of my life. She became a shoulder for me, has always been a great listener, and because of her, I have become a better listener, but I will never reach her greatness as a person who can listen. She is the best! When she told me about her mini-strokes, I knew she was afraid. I know she wants to be as healthy as possible, and these past two years, the effects of being diabetic since her youth are starting to take its toll on her. I have been able to be her friend by listening. I couldn’t let her know how afraid I was to think I might lose my friend. That would be selfish of me. So, I bottled that in, and became her cheerleader. But deep in me I am fearful of losing the person who helped me get through my huge codependency issues and find a life that worked.

The day before she told me about her mini-strokes, another person told me he had a stress test. His cardiologist was waiting in the room when he arrived. My friend didn’t succeed in the test, and now his doctor is sending him to another cardiologist at the big teaching hospital. He is not my friend like the first person, but he is the closest thing to a “best friend at work.” Because he is a peer, I can talk to him about any issue, which I cannot do with my subordinates. He will listen to me when I am having a bad day at work. The last time I did this, he looked at me and said that he didn’t know how to help. I told him that I didn’t need his help, I needed him to just hear me. His doctor is very concerned that without controlling his high blood pressure (something that has been unsuccessful so far in three years of treatment), that he is very prone to having a stroke. I know deep inside him there is fear—neither of his parents lived past 55 years old, and he is 56.

How did I realize this was why I was reacting? I am acting crazy, weird, or any other similar word, as I did when my dad died. And as much as I loved my dad, he was far from my best friend. But I lost my dad—I lost the ability of ever making our relationship better, although it was the best it had been in all my years. He was just a hard man. Now I realize that I do not handle loss well. When I lose someone in my life, I lose a piece of me, so it scares me that I will lose a piece of me (even a big piece of me) if I start losing people I really care about. So, I go into crazy-making. My mind is flooded with thoughts and fears, and I react to life and people in a way that makes me uncomfortable.

So, I say to myself, “No, Andrea — go to your ‘God Spot’.” Go where I know I have a great and loving God. Feel his love. Feel it pour over me. That vision of being poured over me is so cool. His love poured over me. Too bad when I was baptized, that the water wasn’t poured over me! I get the pouring now. I was immersed when I was baptized. That works 00 pouringtoo. Immerse myself in his love—and kindness—and forgiveness. Close my eyes, hold my breath and feel it. I didn’t feel it back when I was 17, but I feel it now. Feel God’s Spirit pour over me, immersing me with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Yes, these are the fruits of the Spirit. This is my gift from God—first his sacrifice for my life, his death on the cross, his giving me life with him, through him, and for him. And he pours out the Holy Spirit on me—and gives me these gifts of the fruits of the Spirit. They are a gift, and I have to open 00 fruitsthe package, take them out and try them on. Because God knows me and my heart, these will fit me perfectly—no return needed for this gift. Bask in the gifts. Don’t be afraid. I cannot be bold and courageous when afraid. I tend to let go of self-control when I am afraid. My emotions are on my sleeve and hard to control. God gave me self-control in the perfect size just to fit me. Try it on. Look in the mirror. It looks good.

He gives me forgiveness, not only from him, but also a perfect measure for me to forgive all those who disappoint me. Don’t be afraid. Life on earth is disappointing. Forgive. Feel the clothing of forgiveness wrap around me. It feels good to let go of that sorrow, anger and fear. To know I can love and not be afraid of not being loved back, or just not having someone there. God will give me what I need. If I lose my friends, and if I need friends, God will lead me to new ones. Don’t be afraid.

I need to be kind, good and gentle. Funny, today another friend told me that I am too hard on myself. I forget sometimes to be kind, good, and gentle to myself. I am not acting in the Spirit if I also don’t treat myself that way also. God gives me the lesson in the tough stuff. Fear is not my friend. Fear pulls me out of my ‘God Spot’. Jesus said, “Do not fear. I am with you.” Breathe that in, Andrea. If God is with me, who can be against me? Breathe that in, Andrea. Breathe that in.

Maybe, after all, it is not good to be afraid. I shouldn’t focus the waves and the storm. Jesus said to look at him, and the disciples walked on the stormy waters. When they turned away from looking at Christ, they started to sink. I turned my eyes. I forgot who is 00 jesusalways my friend. I forgot who holds me regardless. Why do I so quickly forget? I am human! Until I see Christ face to face — until I am in his presence I will forget. I will try my best not to, but when I do, I need to look back at him, and be loving, patient, kind, good, forgiving and gentle with myself, just as I need to be with others. Just because I have not always felt that love from others, I get that from my God, and that can carry me. Yes, carry me. Close my eyes and feel the lightness of being carried. Carried in his love and grace. Carried — I’m not doing the work — Jesus already did it for me. He is carrying me. Close my eyes, breathe. My Savior is carrying me.

Do not be fearful. My friends are all here. No one is going anywhere — at least today. And if they leave, Christ will hold me. Breathe . . . Breathe . . . Breathe. I can be bold and courageous. I can love my friends. I can give to them what God has given to me. His beautiful gift of life, love and forgiveness, wrapped more exquisitely than any gift that I can ever receive from anyone, or ever give. I am breathing!

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