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Monday, March 14, 2005

The Fear Factor

No worms or worse to eat here, unlike the TV show. :-) But I do want to share some interesting stuff I'm learning about fear...

Did you know fear is one of the most powerful motivators around? Consider how it affects your life. It may be a grab-you-by-the-throat, heart-stopping fight or flight response. Or it may come packaged in a little different wording. How about stress? Worry? Annoyance? Feeling uncomfortable? Wanting to run and hide? Sleep all day? Or a drive to work harder and better and smarter?

Did I miss anyone?

Not me. I learned this past week that I have lived most of my life with a very defined set of fears that drives every encounter I have~ from my spouse and children to people at church. I also learned my husband has his own set of fears that, like me, started way back when.

And I'm far from alone here.

Imagine a circle. At the top are one person’s fears, they feed into that person’s learned coping mechanisms, which interestingly enough slam into person number two’s fears, which feed his/her coping mechanisms and on around the circle slam right back into person number one’s fears. Nasty cycle.

Here's an example of how it looks in my home. My precious princesses fail to listen to my instructions about the level of noise in our home (which I'm convinced exceeds OSHA regulations) and I have laundry to do, mail to deal with, a ringing phone, a full calendar, and three meals to fix and/or clean up after. Before this past week my way of "handling it" was to yell and do a whole lot of disciplining in order to stop the pressure in my cranium and calm myself down. Enter my husband who makes a comment about how he has a ton of work to do and begins to download about his day. My stress level rises and I'm feeling drained. This hits hard at my fear of failing. So I get angry and snap at my husband about my hard day hoping he'll hear me and help me see that I'm not a failure. My anger and demanding him to make me feel better hits hard at his fear of inadequacy and he withdrawals. I hear the message from his withdrawal response that I've failed and we continue to trip through this cycle into more and more hurt.

Before last week we'd tried learning about love languages, reading more and more scriptures and marriage books on how to improve our communication or redeem our coping mechanisms, trying to build fun into our marriage, trying to lessen our commitments, or one of the least effective: finding more places to serve in the church.

Nothing helped. And in the long run none of it will truly get to the heart of the problem no matter how hard you try.

Because the heart of the problem is the heart.

When your heart is full of fears and messages that got written there when those fears started, you have no room for truth to permeate and heal. It's as if your heart is full of hard packed dirt. Water will get rid of some of it, but that takes time. So while you try hard to wash your mind with truth and “do better” and at the same time ignore the dirt, more dirt, more heart messages, get added.

Messages like "I'm a disappointment." "I'm unlovable." "I'm a nobody." "I'm a failure." Messages that feel so real you can taste your tears.

And that's where the healing begins. With your tears. Those watery things that you try to wipe away as you shove those messages and fears into a dark little box hoping that’ll stop the hurt. But the enemy is in charge of the darkness there and is thrilled when you keep shoving things into it.

So the answer lies in bringing those messages into the light, feeling the fullness of the pain, and climbing up into God's lap and letting him wash away the lies with His whispers of truth.

Simple. Not easy.

It hurts. A lot. But I promise it won't leave you crumpled into a heap when you drag the fears and messages into the light. The opposite will happen. You'll start down the path of true healing.

I'll share next time what this fear cycle escape is beginning to look like in my home. Lots of Kleenex and time with the Lord is truly doing a new thing in my home. And it's awesome to see.

I shared with you in my example one of my fears~ failing. One of the deep, deep messages written on my heart from many sources and places I failed was this, "I'm a disappointment." I worked hard to prove that wasn't true, struggled to believe it wasn't true, and failed miserably.

Want to know what worked?

Hanging out with the Lord. Listening to my heart and then His heart toward me.

Want to know what He said?

"Come home, Amy. You are my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased."

And then He sang me a song.

Listen closely....

He's singing over you too.


Paula said...

May God shower His love and truth upon you as you curl up with Him and that box of kleenex. Saying a prayer for you tonight--coming from a heart that,too, has known much fear and much deliverance.

Love you, girl.

Amy Wallace said...

Paula~ you are an encourager of my soul. Thank you! Your prayers are a great blessing as my Kleenex box and I see God do amazing things.;-)

Much love,

Sally Datria said...

Amy, I've been gone and I've missed SO MUCH!! Sounds like your retreat was more than you dared hope for. I am rejoicing for you in this journey!

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