Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Faith Is Bigger Than My Fears

My faith is bigger than my fears seems to be my mantra lately.  I found myself saying this out loud when I  faced one of my fears...getting lost on the freeway (aka highway or interstate). I brought the GPS and had  printed directions from Mapquest. For some unknown reason, my GPS was not getting any signal what so ever, that day, so it was no help at all.  I was on my way to a very important event.

I ended up getting confused and missed my exit. I panicked at first, but then with the help of my husband, over the phone, I was able to get back on track and even got to the event on time!. Before I got back on track though, I will confess I was scared.  As I was trying to figure out where I was, I had pulled off the freeway and some how entered into a neighborhood where each home was surrounded by a chain link fence and almost every home, had a large ferocious looking dog in the yard.  It was not a friendly looking neighborhood. My son was with me and I knew I needed to stay in control, so I had to talk myself out of my fear...I started saying, "MY FAITH IS BIGGER THAN MY FEAR", over and over.  Eventually, as I mentioned, we found our way to the event and even managed to get there a few minutes before the event took place. 

I am finding myself saying my new phrase a lot lately; My faith is bigger than my fears.....A few weeks ago a friend's (adult) daughter was held up at gun point and robbed.  In the day time. In a public place. Surrounded by lots of other people.  They were in a restaurant and two armed men entered and one put a shot gun in my friends daughters back, and the other man put a gun to her friends head and said, "give me your purse and your wallet".  I do not know all of the details, but I do know they both gave them what they wanted. They are both ok and were not physically harmed.

Another recent story happened just the other day.  A friend of mine was leaving a public place, in the day light, and other people were around, when a man quickly approached her, knocked her down, punched her repeatedly in the face, and then took her phone.  Her phone was in her hand.  She also had her purse and laptop (in a case) in her other hand.  It almost seemed as if his whole intent was to cause her physical harm and then grabbed her phone as a "trophy".  She is recovering now with bruises and a fracture on her face.  Prayerfully the fracture will heal properly, so she wont have to have surgery to repair it.


My mind and body can go into instant fear mode when I hear these stories, especially when its with someone I know.  I had to find something "positive". I realized the story with my friends daughter, they reacted the way you should, if you are ever held at gun point; give them what they want.  Supposedly, once they have what they want, they flee quickly.  The only time you are supposed to resist is if the person tries to take you some where.  That is when you fight, yell, scream, do whatever you have do, to call attention to the situation.  The sad reality is if they take you away, you have a greater chance of not returning.  The other "positive lesson" is to make sure I know exactly what is in my wallet.  Have a copy of every card in your wallet (front and back).  In the other story the "positive lesson"  I can take away is to always be alert when I am coming and going. It's trying to find the balance of not giving into being paranoid and suspicious of every stranger, but being alert, making eye contact, don't be distracted, and if you are caught in that situation where someone is physically  harming you,  fight back as hard as you can and yell as loud as you can.


Just thinking about these story raises my anxiety level.  As someone who has ptsd (post traumatic stress disorder) and panic/anxiety it is like hearing the story a little bit louder than it was told, and then replaying it several times in my head, verses a person without ptsd and panic/anxiety, they hear it at normal level and only one time. They have the choice to move on.  I don't.  At least, not right away.  After I hear the story I tend to think about my loved ones or myself in that same scenario.  How would I react.  I have to catch myself as I can have the entire "script" written out before I realize what I am doing.  Its an old pattern of "comfort" to me.  As someone who has alcoholic parents and has also been in an abusive marriage, part of my coping mechanism was to try to stay one step ahead....plan out how any given scenario may go, so that I can be prepared for any outcome, especially one in which I must protect myself or someone I love.  Always on guard. Always trying to think ahead.  Preparing for the worst (in my head).  I must tell you that by God's grace, the scripts I play out in my head, they usually never happen.  I honestly wasn't even aware I did this until after my diagnosis.  Now I am aware and can catch myself, but sometimes I find myself easing into old patterns and that is when I must say out loud....MY FAITH IS BIGGER THAN MY FEARS.

I work hard at finding a balance of living in this fallen sinful world.  There will always be crime.  There will always be someone who is waiting to steal, kill, or destroy (1Peter 5:8), but the balance is not giving "them" the power or control.  Being wise and alert but not giving in to the fear.

I encourage you if you find yourself in a situation where your fear is controlling you, repeat out loud..........

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.  In God whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid.  What can mere man do to me?  Psalm 56:3-4

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ted Williams and More...

Ted Williams is a name that started floating around facebook and Youtube, and within hours he has gone from being a homeless man who begged for handouts on street corners, to instant fame and job offers pouring in.  He has been thrust into a media flurry.  He was on the Today Show, as well as other TV and media outlets.  It seems as if the whole world is suddenly cheering for him.  Ted is a man who had a love and passion for radio and voice work. God has gifted him with an amazing voice.  He had a successful career and family life.  Somewhere along his path though, drugs and alcohol took over.  He lost everything he had, his career, his family, his possessions, and his dignity.  He has been living on the streets begging, stealing, and doing things most if us would never dream of doing.  Two years ago he knew he needed to make some desperate changes and he entered a recovery program.  After one year of sobriety he felt he was still missing something...he knew he needed to fill the hole he felt inside.  He began acknowledging and thanking God for all he has, all he had, and for his life. That was two years ago.

I am one of those who is cheering for him.  I am also burdened for him.  I know that those who face addictions in their life, face the temptation day by day, and sometimes, minute by minute.  I know how easy it seems for an alcoholic or a drug addict to think they have it under control, if they are choosing to continue in their addiction. The reality is, if they are continuing to drink or use drugs, they don't have anything under control, and it is apparent to everyone around them except them.  Unfortunately though, this can easily become an issue that no one else wants to face either.  It's easier sometimes to live the lie with them.  It also becomes convenient to believe the "wolf in sheep's clothing" (see my blog titled Wolves in Sheep Clothing for more on this topic).

If you or someone you know struggles with alcohol or drugs please know there is hope and help. The key is that the person struggling has to be willing to admit it and seek help.  You can not want it more than they do.  It wont work. I know this very well.

I recently posted a status on facebook that said, "It's OK not to be OK"...the response via comments and emails showed me more than ever, we all struggle with putting on the "happy face" to those around us, but inside we are not OK, and its OK to say we are not OK,. But, then we also must be willing to face it and do something about it.  Ted Williams was at the bottom of the pit for ten years before he was willing to seek help and find hope.

Remember to hold onto to this thought if you are praying for a loved one who has an addiction..."As long as there is breathe there is hope".

O God, You know my foolishness; And my sins are not hidden from You 
Psalm 69:5

now here is the HOPE...

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away, behold new things have come   2 Corinthians 5:17

*please visit my web site for information on possible resources for help