Hope

Finding God in Your Fear

Have you ever been in a haunted house before, or maybe one of those haunted trails?  

 

Every October, without fail, signs go up all over my small town. Even billboards advertise these experiences where we can get the crap scared out of us. 

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I really don’t see the appeal. Maybe I’m strange.

 

I don’t enjoy scary movies either. In fact, I just hate the feeling of being afraid altogether. I guess I don’t see the point in running toward something that will get your heart racing and maybe even your panties wet. 

 

Some of us don’t need haunted houses or scary movies to get a good fear buzz. We live in fear each and every day.   

 

I’m talking about those of us that suffer, year-round, in Anxietyville.

 

Literally, the scariest “Ville” you’ll ever put yourself through. In fact, it’s so scary, we may as well advertise and charge for people to come and experience it. I could’ve been making a fortune. 

 

I’m no gardener. In fact, I have a bit of a pukish-green thumb. Not a black thumb. I don’t kill everything I touch. Just maybe half of it. 

 

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When I planted a seed of fear and anxiety in my heart nearly three years ago, I became a master at babying that little seed.

 

I’d water it daily. Gave it all the sun and fresh air it desired. I sang to it, talked to it, and told it to grow, grow, grow.  

 

And then, when it grew so large, and so healthy, that it began to spill over the little pot I planted it in, I realize that maybe I cared for it a little too well. 

 

When it took over my entire garden, it killed all of the good, delicious foods and herbs I needed to nourish my body. It began killing the other plants. 

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Before I knew it, the plant of fear and anxiety had completely and utterly decimated any signs of life in my garden and it had no plans to slow down.

 

It no longer required my attention anymore. It no longer needed daily watering, tending, or care. It was out of control and I didn’t know how to keep it from growing even more.  

 

When the anxiety and fear in my mind grew out into my body, I would scream and yell and beg God to save me. 

 

I would get angry at Him, wondering why He wasn’t killing this plant for me.

 

After some time, I was convinced that He didn’t care about my trouble. I was convinced that the plant of anxiety and fear was forever to be in my garden, growing more and more rogue everyday. 

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There would be times when I’d figure out ways to make it smaller. I’d spend time pruning or ripping vines from the tangled, mangled mess. I was brave. I was determined. I felt strong in these times. And God was giving me the strength and wisdom to know how best to rid my garden of this mess.

 

Sometimes, I’d feel too weak to care. I’d give in and watch all of my pruning and ripping out go to waste as the vines of my plant grew back twice a long.  

 

I realized that God doesn’t hang out in my garden of fear and anxiety. And when I’m desperately doing the backbreaking work it takes to keep it from going out of control, God is on the other side of the property, in the stillness of a stream, in the falling of leaves, and the soft hum of a bee. 

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Friends, the reason you don’t hear or see God in your fear and anxiety is because He’s not in fear and anxiety. 

 

Fear is loud. Fear is obnoxious and chaotic and toxic. Fear is a life-stealer and a hope-taker. It’s a faith-killer and a death-dealer. God isn’t in that. God isn’t there.  

 

You see, if we want to hear God, we have to quiet our hearts. “Like a weaned child...” we have to calm our souls. We have to seek peace and search for joy.

 

“In Him is perfect Peace.”  

 

I often would wait for my rescuing.

 

I would sit in my garden full of tangled weeds and wait for Him to come and untangle the mess.

I would scream.

I would wail.

All the while becoming more and more bitter as the vines would grow around me, suffocating the death out of me. Notice I said death and not life.

 

There is no living in fear. Just dying

 

Throw down your watering can. Stop taking daily walks out to your garden and go sit by the stream of still waters.

 

Let Him pour His Living Water into your soul. The living water that kills anxiety, fear, and panic and replaces those things with hope, faith, and joy. 

 

The more time you spend on the Living Water side, the more you’ll forget that your tangled garden even existed. 

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So please, stop looking for God in your fear. Because you won’t find Him. 

 

"Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.“ -Deuteronomy 30:15  

 

Choose Life. Choose Joy. Choose Peace. Choose Jesus. 

When God Makes All Your Dreams Come True

I am so tired. 

And I've felt so uninspired lately. 

Writing, for me, is currently like when you haven't seen or really spoken much to your best friend in like a month. You don't overly worry about the space because you're so comfortable with it, you know the next time you meet up, it'll be as if no time had passed anyway. 

But that's how I've felt about writing. I've missed it. A lot. But, yet, sometimes there's just nothing to write about. Sometimes life gives you a lot of the same, and you're tired of regurgitating the same four topics all of the time. 

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I had one of my semi-famous "In the Shower" lightbulb moments. I don't know why I do my best thinking in the bathroom. It's not like I don't still have a slew of groupies following me there each time, eager to observe how a human 33-year-old female uses the facilities. 

My old "Chicken Soup For the Teenage Soul Journal" had somehow made it's way to the coffee table in our wood stove room. Who else had some "Chicken Soup" literature hanging around in their home in the nineties? If you did, you were just one of the millions who jumped on that train when it went chugging along for a few years. 

I dared open that old book, and when I did, I not only got some good laughs, but I shed a few tears and felt my cheeks become warm, as I bared my sixteen year old soul to these pages. 

Several things stood out to me: 

1) My thought life was a solid pile of crap back then, too! Nearly eighteen years of hard work has gone into that since then. Fabulous. 

2) My handwriting was semi-atrocious. Okay, maybe not really, but it wasn't cool like it is now. 

3) I wrote down my dreams and I only had three:

 

 Marry Mike.

Become a mother of five. (Yes, creepy).  

And teach.  

 

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Simple dreams. Nothing crazy. 

 

And I gasped a bit when I realized these three little dreams that were dreamed up one afternoon after school, I'm assuming, actually came true.

 

And then my heart fell.  

 

I realized: dreams coming true don't equal happiness.  

 

I know this because I'm not happy. Whether I have a legit medical issue that keeps its heavy boot on my longing to be happy, or if it's all me, I'm not. Either way, I'm just not. 

 

I jiggled my head back and forth slightly, as if performing that exercise would somehow shake me back into reality.  

 

Hours later, while in the shower, God spoke to me. He may as well had just spoke audibly because it was pretty clear what the lesson was here.  

 

He said, "I gave you your dreams, everything you wanted, and more. And I know you're not happy. Because you should've been just wanting me, instead, all along."  

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Bam.  

 

Yeah. Exactly. 

 

Sometimes God gives us everything we want, only to make us realize that He is all we really needed.  

 

And so, dream writing may not be in my future anymore. Sure, it's not wrong to desire things and yearn to be better and have experiences that make us go "wow", but maybe the only dream worth writing down is simply this: To Understand God.  

 

To understand someone, we've gotta see their whole heart. The only way this is possible is if we actively sit at the feet of the one we seek to desperately understand. 

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To take in their words, their expressions, what makes them feel purpose, to really seek to understand them inside and out.  

 

But we're too busy to do that.  

 

And that dream takes the focus off of me. What I want.  

 

So we have this ability to stop dreaming up the crumbs of life, and to really find the courage to seek this Kingdom, this Creator first. 

 

And then...all these things will be added... 

 

And maybe we'll all be the happiest ones.  

And because He is our only dream, all of the other dreams will come true.  

 

So maybe you're feeling like I've been.  

Maybe you've realized God has given you your dreams, and yet, you feel like your dreamcatcher is empty. 

 

Share below. I love hearing from you.  

 

💗,Ae

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Life (Before the "Shake Up")

Draw a line with me. 

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Where would you put your line? 

 

We all have a line in our lives. A line that separates the life we lived before and after a "Shake Up" moment. 

 

A "Shake Up" moment is that moment in your history where time tends to slow down and speed up all at once. It's a moment that changes everything. A moment that we either relish in or recoil from. 

 

Most "Shake Up" moments aren't positive.  

 

I could probably name some of these defining moments in those who are closest to me.  

 

For my husband, his "Shake Up" moment was collapsing twice in a period of nine months, without warning, in 2014/2015. 

 

I can guess my parents moments quite accurately. They've had more than one each.  

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For me, there's life before anxiety/panic and life after. 

 

I won't lie to you, I still find myself trying to pull myself back to that "Shake Up" moment with a giant eraser. My attempts to remove it from my life are futile, at best. It's just there. This big red, fat reminder that I used to be "x,y,z" and now I can't even sit comfortably at a restaurant for twenty minutes without nearly jumping out of my skin.  

 

Where do you find yourself right now? If your "Shake Up" moment was positive, well, I guess you don't think much about going back. Instead, you're rapidly running thru life towards the next "Shake Up" moment. Next time, life may not be so friendly. 

 

If you're like me, you may find that you have a heightened sensitivity to what life was before the "Shake Up". Tangible reminders of life before are hard to take in. Photos, videos, trinkets, and mental treasures seem like they were from another life, another galaxy, even. 

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But do we really, deep down, want to go back?!

 

Maybe.  

 

Maybe so.  

 

And maybe not.  

 

But we do.  As long as we could take the beauty we've acquired on this side of the "Shake Up" with us.

 

I don't know. I wish I really knew what I really wanted.  

 

I want the past to be the present, with the current present to stay present. I want them blended like a smoothie. With extra mango. 

 

Its hard. It's hard to not let the "Shake Up" moments define us. Because, they certainly leave their mark on our lives.

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How do you deal with your "Shake Up" moment(s)? Do you find it hard to keep moving forward? Do you look back too often and long for what used to be? Share with me below!