i was thinking the other day, as i often spend my time doing, about all of my dreams. there are two types of dreams i’ve found; the type i want to come true and the type i just like to dream about.
i’ve dreamed about going to ireland since i was a little girl. i vividly remember my dad calling me from ireland when i was little and telling me it was very green and everything had clovers on it. i’ve since discovered that while the land is very lush and green, the emerald isle is not in fact, completely green and covered in clovers. yet, this hasn’t curbed my love of ireland.
i credit my love affair with ireland to God. after all, why else would a little girl who hadn’t taken geography or world history find herself utterly in love with a country not of her own, which she’s never visited?
i vowed i’d get married in ireland when that special man came into my life. nearly 20 years later that vow would be kept as the Lord ushered in my best friend and husband, and held his part of the deal by allowing us to have a remarkable and unforgettable wedding.
i’m convinced ireland is the garden of eden. truly, it’s beauty and her peace dug herself deep into my spirit and now i long to be there almost daily. we’ve talked many times of going back for a visit. i read ireland travel books and highlight new areas i’m interested in seeing. we’d sit down and carve out a tentative date to go back, and i’d get excited.
then, that little voice tells me of the woes i’d face on the airplane ride. i’d listen to the whispers and convince myself i didn’t need to go back to ireland. in fact, i even told my husband if i died i wouldn’t regret not going back there. i tried to believe this. i tried really hard to make this true in my heart. but the truth is, i’d be heartbroken if i never saw this beautiful land again.
what’s up with fear? why is it so powerful?
my experiences as a child led me to live a fearful life. i’ve constantly questioned peoples’ motives, especially men. as a woman entering the faith i’ve faced other hardships, such as thinking my only purpose as a female was to have babies and be a wife. i have no babies, does that mean God is disappointed in me? from a cultural perspective i’ve been taught that women are untrustworthy. i operated under that false belief for most of my life, questioning the girls closest to me.
when i debated whether or not i should leave a paying job for a non paying job i was terrified. i sought out lots of advise and got mixed reviews. while some encouraged me to pursue my dreams others told me i was an idiot and i would ruin my career options, not to mention put undo stress on my husband.
but i’m a dreamer. my favorite past time is dreaming. this means i think a lot. this also means this is where the enemy attacks me most. in my thoughts. it makes sense to me that i’d be attacked with thoughts of worthlessness and walk down the road to ending my life. the enemy knows where i have the potential to be the strongest, and that is inside my thinking. my dreaming.
say what you want about the devil, but never say he’s without intelligence. even with that in mind though, he doesn’t need to use his intelligence because we easily give up our power.
i’ve written about this before. God gave us power and authority over satan before we fell from the garden of eden. God destroyed satan in that moment, yet we sit here and continue to believe otherwise.
because bad things still happen. because there is still famine, hatred, war, rape, suicide, murder, disease, and poverty.
the other day i read a post from a friend of mine on social media. this person has cancer. with one doctors appointment this person’s life, and everyones’ in their life, was radically changed. faced with possible certain death, the questions of God’s goodness abound.
yet as i read this person’s writings during this time in their life i see them not cursing God but imploring others to see His goodness inside the badness. it brought tears to my eyes.
this got me thinking on a deeper level about my fear. i asked myself, “if i was given x amount of days/months/years to live, what would i change about my life? about my thinking? where would i go?”
the answer blew me away. immediately, ireland came to the front of my mind. my spirit leaped for joy, and then i wept. i then asked myself,
why do i need to be faced with certain death in order to do something i love so much?
i think about the food i eat, the lack of exercise i grant my body, and the negative thinking i pollute my mind with and i ask myself why it would take being diagnosed with a disease by a doctor before i realized i already am dying by one.
i’m terrified. of what you ask? you’d be better off asking me what i’m not afraid of. for one thing though, i’m terrified of plane rides. this is a new fear. when i was diagnosed with a stomach condition fear sort of took control. i’m constantly worried about finding a bathroom, and a clean bathroom at that. at times i’ve avoided food like it was the plague, because who the heck knows how my stomach will respond to it. needless the say getting on a plane with potentially only 3 bathrooms among 100 people is terrifying. what happens if the bathroom is occupied and i need to use it? what happens if i’m in there and i can’t leave when someone else needs to use it?
even going to my friends’ and family’s houses are anxiety triggering for me. my anxiety will become so great some times that i go into a full blown panic attack. there have been points where my husband has had to lay on top of me to calm my body from shaking. if you’ve never had a panic attack, imagine having an earthquake happening, inside your body. it honestly feels like you’re dying.
actually, as i’m writing this perhaps it’s not plane rides as much as the judgement i receive by others, that terrifies me most. oh yes, and the occasional thought of pooping my pants isn’t too calming either. 😉
about 2 years ago i considered going back on anti-anxiety medications, since prior to being diagnosed with the stomach condition i had been on medications for depression and anxiety (linked to the PTSD i’ve since been diagnosed with). i’d always struggled with anxiety, but now the panic attacks were so great i wouldn’t leave my house. even just to go down the block to get dinner.
and it wasn’t just food triggering me anymore. as more memories of the abuse i experienced as child came to the forefront of my mind, smells and even people triggered me. i’d start to disassociate and lose grasp with reality, feeling like i was a child again. there have been moments when i’ve wanted to crawl into the corner and cry. i felt like a failure, but the thought of never leaving my house again was down right depressing.
that’s when i considered a service dog. but even with the hope of healing, fear kicked in.
people were going to judge me. friends and family would judge me. people who knew nothing about my past, nothing about my diagnosis or the hardships i face were going to say rude and ignorant things. there are times i’m getting ready to leave with him and i think to myself, “do i really need you today?” but really what i was asking myself is, “can i really face the judgements today?”
i compare myself to others’ who have SDs. i ask myself if my diagnosis really warrants this. all of this is ironic since one of the reasons i have him is because my panic attacks and anxiety. i’ve learned a lot in this process with him. i’ve learned i have a lot more strength then i gave myself credit for. i’ve also learned that while it’s great to have him, there are times when i wish i didn’t have to bring a dog to certain places. i wish i could be “normal”.
ugh- the dreaded word that is meaningless in a world of abnormalities.
i guess what i mean, is there are times when i wish i didn’t have a debilitating disease. i wish i could just walk around, get on planes and do normal things like “everyone” who judges me can- without the dog.
but the truth is, i can’t at this point in my life. the truth is, i am battling a disease. and while this disease isn’t as recognizable by the rest of the world, it is one that kills more lives than cancer, AIDs or famine. because what could possibly be worse than breathing, yet not living?
fear tries to kill my dreams. fear tries to kill my strength. fear tries to kill my spirit.
but i’ve been given just one life to live, and i don’t want to take it for granted. because unlike the thousands of individuals facing certain death, i’m only fooling myself into believing i’m knocking on deaths door.
both my husband and my SD are blessings from God. and while it’s a challenge to go certain places because i know the looks and the comments that will be made, i have to learn to shrug ’em off. because while everyone is busy judging me, i’ll finally be doing what i was put on this earth to do, the one thing the enemy doesn’t want me to do.