I published this post back in August, but had some new thoughts on it today so I decided to revisit it. This was a big moment for me in learning about fear and faith and the power both could have in my life. What do you think of faith and fear? Have you experienced both sides?
Let me tell you a story–a true story.
Once upon a time, I received some very difficult news. In fact, I would put it in the “traumatic” category. I was very distraught, even physically ill. I found myself asking the too-popular question, “Why me?”
One night, I couldn’t sleep. Questions ran through my mind. What would life be like now? Things had been going so well. What pain and suffering would I have to endure now–physically and emotionally? What changes would have to be made in my life?
I thought about Karla McLaren’s book—that there are messages in emotions, and I wanted to discover the message I was being given.
But I couldn’t even tell what I was feeling. It was a jumbled mess of discomfort.
I was worried of the future, feeling anxious about physical and emotional pain, stressed about all the changes in our lifestyle that would occur, and fearful of the affects of this on my husband and my kids. I was even worried about how people would see me once they knew.
Finally, early into the morning, I sifted through it all and found deep inside that the root emotion to all of this was fear. (If I had had my Everyday Emo-Vocab Cheat Sheet, I could have spared myself hours of trying to figure it out on my own! Get your free copy of the Cheat Sheet here!)
Realizing I was feeling fear put me one step further in my emotion work that night. Now that I look back on it, how exciting!
Yet, I was still feeling those uncomfortable feelings of worry, anxiety, and stress. AKA Fear.
PROBLEM: I was feeling fear about changes in my life.
I quietly got up and pulled out my Language of Emotions book. When I was first learning about emotions, their purposes, their messages, and how to navigate with them, I referenced this book daily!
That night, I read that Karla McLaren said the message in fear is that an action needs to be taken. Well, that didn’t make any sense to me. I couldn’t change my situation, no matter what action I took. I could not change this prognosis.
I felt powerless.
Until I thought to ask what action I needed to take.
You see, this process is not an intellectual process. We can’t think logically through emotion work. We won’t get the answers by trying to solve our own problems.
We have to ask for them. We have to quiet our minds and listen to our hearts. It’s a soul-searching journey. And the answer will always come.
So I pushed aside my worries, calmed my heart, and then asked it: “What action do I need to take?” I asked it prayerfully, imagining going deep inside myself and having faith that my Heavenly Father would help me receive the answer.
Guess what!? The answer came!
It came in the impression of a path. The air was dark and murky, but I could tell the path split into two directions. Both choices remained muggy and difficult to see. But I knew one path represented faith and one represented fear.
The action I needed to take was very clear. I was to choose which path I was going to go on, choose which one to exert my energy, my focus, and my thoughts toward. Faith or Fear.
Faith that things would all work out. (Eventually they always do, right?) Faith that I could be made stronger. (That would be nice!) And faith that Heavenly Father is keenly aware of my situation and will help me through it, no matter how difficult it may be.
Or fear. Fear that people will say things. Fear that it will cause stress and contention and anger in our home. Fear that I will not be accepted by others. Fear that I will be abandoned.
Of course, the choice was easy. I knew to choose faith. Not because it looked easier or happier, but because I knew:
Faith is power, and fear is captivity.
Okay Heavenly Father, I told Him. I choose faith.
And do you know what happened?
There were no illumination of lights, no heavenly choir singing, no angelic visitation. The path before me was still murky and foggy.
But the fear was gone. And I felt peace.
I felt an expansion of myself, and a quiet whisper say, “Yes, Brittney, you have the capacity to do this—no matter how hard it seems.”
After that, I was in peace, and I fell asleep.
Days passed, absent of that overwhelming, life-stopping fear. Every once in a while, I could feel a few doubts creeping in, but I would stop them, visualize choosing the Faith Path all over again, and exert my energy and focus into faith.
You know what? It’s been over a year since this has happened, and I can see now that I made it through. We all did. We are okay. And I believe we are even happier now because of the change.
SOLUTION: I recognized the message my fear was bringing to me–that I needed to choose which path I was going to take. And I chose.
Not every emotion-moment is like this. I don’t always see the answers as a visual image, but I do get answers, and when I act on them, I’m always left in peace. The answers always come. Our emotions really are messengers!
Now . . .
Are you ready?
It’s your turn!
Are you worried about anything right now? Do you have any anxieties or are you feeling fearful about something? Use your Cheat Sheet to browse other words for Fear, and see if you have this wonderful emotion with you right now trying to give you a message!
If you don’t, bookmark this page so you can return to it and walk through the following steps next time you recognize you are experiencing fear.
If you do, hoo-rah! Let’s get to work!
First, make a list of all the things you are stressed/worried/anxious/fearful about. Don’t just do this mentally, write it down! Putting it on paper is the first step to separating the things you’re anxious about from you.
Now, browse the list. Is there one that is The Most Stressful to think about? Circle that baby. We are going to take care of it right now.
Take some big deep breaths. Quiet your heart and mind in preparation to ask and receive the message your fear is bringing to you.
Now ask yourself these questions: What are my options?
What do your paths look like? Are there more than two? If there are, see if you can consolidate it down to two ultimate choices–remain in fear . . . or what???
Once you have gotten this far, now ask, “What action do I need to take?” or “What choice do I need to make?”
It might be a no-brainer for you. Or might not. It might seem impossible to choose another path.
Ponder on the options, then make your choice. Take action. Then listen for an answer or a confirmation to what you chose.
If you’ve worked through it all this way and got this far, great job! You should be feeling a sense of relief and peace.
If you don’t, there might be another emotion surfacing that wants you to pay attention to its message as well. Do you know feel anxiety about something else? Go back through this same process with this new topic!
Maybe you are feeling sadness or fear, or another emotion. Use the Cheat Sheet to figure out the parent emotion and the find tags on this site to learn how to work through those feelings as well.
I know you can do it!
You were created with this ability! Your emotions want you to be happy. They are bringing messages to you to help you get there. Find out the messages, take the action, and move forward in your progression in this life!
If you know someone who worries a lot, or could use some guidance in their own emotions, share this page! Let them know things can get better. Because they can.