Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Things That Go Bump in the Night

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.
~ Ambrose Redmoon

I've never been brave. Not ever. When I was young, my older sister always led the way into new and alarming situations, because I was too chicken to go in alone.

First day of kindergarten? I cried.

First day of new Sunday school classes? I cried.

First day on the bus? I cried.

Horror movies, roller coasters, midnight walks in pitch black forest? Nope. Not for me.

Public speaking? Writing conferences with lots of new people? Traveling alone? Driving in cities? No. Thanks, anyway.

Of course, as I've gotten older, I've learned to pretend. Tell yourself you can do it enough times, and eventually you might believe it, right?

So, I've told myself I can handle things. I don't need my older sister to hold my hand or my family to flank me as I move from one new adventure to the next.  Nice as having people around is, there are times in life when we have to face the monsters without anyone standing beside us. It's good to be prepared. Or, at least, tell ourselves we're prepared.

Recently, I've seen a lot on Facebook about anxiety and the fact the the Bible admonishes us not to be afraid. Apparently we are told that 365 times. One for every day of the year.

I haven't fact-checked that, but I've read the Bible enough to know that "Do not fear" and variations on that appear a lot.

No matter how often I remind myself of this, I still sometimes find myself afraid.

Not of the things that go bump in the night, not of the monsters lurking under the bed, the villains hiding in the closet, the inevitable moment of death, or the long stretched out pain of living with chronic illness.

No. I'm afraid of other things.

I'm afraid of disappointing the people I care about. I'm afraid of missing opportunities. I'm afraid of never saying the words that will make someone realize how valued he is.Sometimes, I lie in bed at night, and I worry that I'm missing the boat. That I'll wake up one morning and realize that my life has passed and I haven't accomplished what I should have.

Mostly, I'm afraid that I'll miss God's calling on my life, that I'll blink my eyes and it will all be over,and I won't even remember where I've been or why, because I didn't care enough, love enough, serve enough.

My  husband once told me that I feel things more deeply than other people. I don't think that's true. I just see a lot of beauty  in the world, and I don't want to miss any of it. The old house standing abandoned on the hill, the mean elderly man who lives on the corner of the street, the harshest winters and the hottest summers, the prettiest landscape and the loneliest vistas, they are fantastic stories waiting to be told, and I wish I had the words and the heart and the ability to tell them all. In those stories, I find the truth about my own life, and I don't ever want to forget it. I don't want to ever stop feeling the little tug on my heart, the little pull on my soul, the constant subtle reminders that this world is not about me, that it swirls and whirls all on its own, without me guiding it.

Shocking, I know.

But, true.

God is in control, and I am certain enough about that to keep stepping out in faith, to keep moving forward even when I'm not sure exactly where I'm going.

Because, really, courage isn't about being brave, it is about believing that The One we trust in is much much more powerful than the things we fear.

I'm not one for making new year's resolutions. Mostly because I'm not much for keeping them.

This, year, though, I do have a goal - to just keep moving forward in faith, to accept that I am not the one in control, and to allow myself to believe that even now - in the midst of all the hard stuff- He has me exactly where He wants me to be.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be posting some yummy chocolate recipes on this blog. My girls and I have been working hard to create some family recipes. It seemed like a fun thing to do since SWEET HAVEN will be released in March.

If you have any good candy recipes, feel free to share them! We're game to try new things, and we're having a blast working in the kitchen together!

Even when our efforts are less than stellar!

Godspeed, my friends. May you look to Him as you travel the path He has put you on.