I write a lot about fear.
It’s one of my tormentors.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I come from a long line of worriers, and I think I’m actually a little better than they even were.
Past blogs have tackled the difference between being fearful or scared, fear and worry that grips you over your kids, getting caught up in the minutiae and paralyzed by fear, and heck, I even wrote an entire 10 part bible study series called Breaking Fear!
After yesterday’s post on how we are all disappointed, I woke up this morning, ready to write again, and this word sat on me. Again.
What really got me thinking about it was watching little bit on horseback with her brothers last night.
You see, she has been obsessed with horses since I can remember. She was on grandpa’s horse, Batman, as soon as she could walk, I have pictures on her walls of her on the assorted horses from farm and ranch life the past ten years.
But there’s a break in those photos. Probably for about two years.
We had family friends at the farm. She was riding with her friend who was two years younger. The saddle must not have been cinched tight enough, and when they brought Peanut in for some water, the saddle slid sideways and both girls fell onto the concrete base of the water trough. They were bumped up with a few minor boo-boos, but there was longer term damage.
Fear set in.
Something in her little brain told her that getting back up on the horse could result in her falling and getting hurt again. So when they would saddle the horses, she would decline the invitation. In time, she would be led around by her dad or aunt, but she wouldn’t just take off on a horse like she had done before the fall.
She still loved horses. But fear stopped her from doing what she wanted to do.
I think we are all intimately acquainted with fear these days. In addition to whatever political or justice fears we may have, every one of us (around the world) are united by a fear of a tiny spiky virus we know as COVID-19.
That fear is resulting in numerous reactions from complete isolation for fear of infection to complete denial of consequences and acting like nothing has changed.
Fear has shadowed our decisions about what to do about sending our kids to school or not. (I’m fearful they’ll get sick or get us sick if they go 🆚 I’m fearful they’ll struggle emotionally if they don’t have social interaction.)
Fear has set in to our workplaces. Our churches. Our neighborhoods.
And since fear sells, Lord knows that the news is using fear, on both sides of the political spectrum and even in apolitical spaces.
So what do we do about it?
I sat with that question this morning while my daughter threw on her boots and raced out with her brothers to saddle horses and go chase a bull that got loose (that sentence gives me fear!).
She chooses the gentlest horse now. She doesn’t get in the pens with the cows where the horse is more likely to hop or kick. Her horse doesn’t gallop quite as quickly as the ones the boys ride, and she’s happy about that.
She has chosen to do what she loves again, but to do it safely.
Could she still get hurt? Absolutely. Does she know that? Of course.
But she has chosen a course of action that enables her to get back to her first love: horses. Her passion was bigger than her fear, eventually.
This will look different for each of us.
What drives me, what will beat back my fear, will be different than what drives you to overcome your fears.
I wrote yesterday I’ve been stuck in a bog. Maybe some of that bog was disappointment but a huge big sticky mess of it was fear.
We are making the best decisions we can. And our decisions will look different than yours. We decided to send our kids back to school. We are some of the few who actually have that as an option and our small private school has done so much to keep the amazing teachers and students safe. The boys are slowly putting their toes back into the sports world, outdoors of course, while little bit will wait until basketball season (which we pray will be able to proceed, but we know none of us know).
I pray for wisdom. For wisdom to make wise choices that are greater than the fear buzzing in my brain. I know Matthew 6 tells me I cannot add a single hour to my life by worrying.
I pray I would remember the 2 Timothy 1 gift God has already given me: God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
The Ephesians 6 strength.
The 1 John 4 love.
I’ll slowly get back on my horse armed with strength and love and a sound mind and ride off in the direction God leads.