Thursday, March 18, 2010

Book Club Thursday- The Confident Woman Chapter Eleven

This week's chapter "The Anatomy of Fear" dealt with fear and how to handle it. Don't forget to check out Kristi's blog to see her thoughts on this week's chapter.

How easy is it for us to confront our fears? Before we even consider the answer to this question, let's break down two words in it: confront and fear. These two little words carry so much weight and can actually control a persons thinking and actions.

I am by no means a confrontational person. I try to avoid confronting at all costs. People offend me, say things that are hurtful, etc., I just swallow, smile, and keep going. Confronting means having to stand up for your side, and then what if I am not prepared enough to make my case?

Two Sunday's ago, Addie caught a cold from the church nursery. I was so ready (in my head) to write a letter to the children's pastor explaining that I would not be putting Addie in the nursery anymore because the "no sick children allowed" policy is not being enforced. Did I write the letter? No. Will I write the letter? Probably not. Will Addie go back to the nursery? Maybe (the doctor, Brian, and some dear friends have brought up the fact that catching colds now will build her immunity for later). But I knew that by writing a letter (easier for me to do than actually confront someone in person), I would be initiating a confrontation, and I don't think I am ready for that.

Fear has been described many times as False Evidence Appearing Real. It is something that we think or see and allow to build a stronghold in our hearts, thoughts, and mind. Many times our fears have no foundation. Sometimes they do. But when we confront our fears they never seem to be as large as we imagined them to be. Joyce told the story of a village whose people for many generations would not venture to the top of a hill or mountain because of a monster that lived there. The parents always told their children to stay away from the mountain because of this great monster who lived there. One day a group of young people decided to go up the mountain to see this monster that had held their village in fear for all of these generations. As they got closer they began to smell a horrible stench and hear the groans from the monster. All except for one of the young men decided to flee. The young man continued climbing until he found the monster. The closer he came the smaller the monster became and the squeaker its voice was. When the young man finally approach the monster he picked it up, held it in one hand and asked what its name was. "Fear," was the reply. How true is that!

Confronting a fear is actually something I have been doing in my own little world quite a bit this week. I want to protect Addie from everything: falling, catching another cold from the nursery, scratching her knee, making sure she is eating enough. Because of the virus she had been fighting this week and last week, she had completely lost her appetite. Now here is where the fear came in. What if she is not getting enough nutrients? How is she going to get better if she isn't putting anything into her system to build her immunity? We finally got her to eat mac n' cheese, now she doesn't want to eat! Will she ever eat again? I actually got a grey hair this week (and promptly pulled it out)! Why? Because I allowed fear to take over my thoughts.

I took Addie to the doctor on Tuesday. She checked Addie, said that she was fine, and said that the virus was just taking its course. I then told her about Addie's eating (or lack of). She smiled and said, "That is very normal at this age." What!!! She then went on to say that I was just to sit Addie down for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and put her plate in front of her. If she doesn't eat, she doesn't eat. But she is not to be offered any kind of snacks or food until the next meal. Juice heavily diluted with water can be given in between...and pray. God sent to me to Addie's doctor so that He could tell me once again that I could confront this fear and concern with prayer.

Wednesday morning was when I was faced with my first challenge of facing my fear head on or caving so my child wouldn't "starve". I offered her cottage cheese for breakfast. She wanted nothing to do with it. Rather than give her a bottle of milk to hold her over until lunch, I followed the doctor's directions, gave her a small amount of diluted grape juice with her vitamins mixed in, and prayed. By lunch time, that little tummy wanted something in it very badly. She ate a handful of grapes. My friend Victoria (hey, buddy!) came over for a visit yesterday, and while we were eating, Addie came up and ate about 1/4 of my sandwich and some more grapes! The eating will come, but I have to give my fears over to the Lord and trust Him to work with both of us.

Joyce also says that we need to "do it afraid". What does that mean? If there is something that you need or want to do but are afraid to do (like my letter), we need to "do it afraid". We need to do it regardless of how we feel.

We have mentioned child birth before, but this came to mind for me when I read this phrase. Everyone has heard the horror stories of labors that went for days. When you approach your first child delivery, it is a fear that you have. How will it feel? How much pain will I actually endure? I had that thought while sitting at the end of the school day during car pick-up. It suddenly hit me- this baby is going to come out! Not at that moment, but at some time in the future. Those thoughts of child birth came flooding to me as students were telling me good-bye, as parents were coming and rubbing the belly, as teachers were making sure that I was comfortable. But God used those same children to tell me something that calmed my fears instantly. All of these children had been born in one of two ways, and their mothers had survived. I would survive, too. Suddenly, giving birth wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. And it wasn't! Regardless of whether or not my fear went away, I was still going to have to go through the process of delivery, and I would have to do it afraid.

Everyone faces a different type or kind of fear (Joyce actually calls it "Variety"). Yours are probably different than mine. With God's help we can face our fears boldly with confidence. Think about it, if we are told in God's Word to approach the Throne of Grace boldly with confidence, then how can we approach our fears with anything less? Certainly they are not greater than the One who sits on the Throne of Grace!

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