You Can Feel Afraid, But You Don’t Have to Live Afraid.

Fear.

We all have experienced it.

It can range in different levels involving different topics.

We can fear spiders, public speaking, not getting into the college we want, rejection from others, end of relationships, the list can go on and on.

And then there is the big one. The one that stops people in their tracks.

Fear of death.

This can be fear of losing loved ones or fear of dying ourselves. I have been face to face with death. I have felt it breathe down my neck. I have been shaken to my core by it. But no more.

You see, fear of death doesn’t stop death, it merely takes away from you actually living.

Death is guaranteed. None of us are getting out of this life alive. Whether it be today, tomorrow, or 50 years from now, our day will come. So instead of worrying about “that day”, how about we embrace the one we have been given?

This last year+ has a lot of people living in fear. I get it, it’s been a lot. It’s been unrelenting. It’s emotionally crumbled many with fear. But it’s important we remember that fear of death should not control our lives.

Yes, life is messy and unpredictable. One day I left to pick up my stepdaughter from preschool. I left the house a wife and came home a widow. I had no warning that life as I knew it would be completely turned upside down and shaken to the point where I didn’t recognize it, or myself. It made me question everything.

Soon after that I was diagnosed with PTSD. Trauma is real and it can leave gaping wounds. Hopefully overtime they can heal and will become scars that fade. They are never gone though, you are never the same. You will be left with battle wounds…but you have to ask yourself, will I let this control me or will I use it to grow me? It all becomes part of your story. The good, the bad and the ugly.

I had another trauma and unexpected loss in the last year. My stepchildren, whom I love unconditionally and always will, were removed from my life. Kids I have watched grow and helped mold. Kids I have laughed with, cried with, cheered on in sports, stayed up with at night when they were sick and sung lullabies to as they drifted to sleep. Eight years of being there for them however and whenever they needed me. I always will be here. I’m not going anywhere. Unfortunately their parent has other plans for us right now.

To say this trauma rocked me to my core and shattered my heart would be an understatement. But it will not shatter my spirit because I choose faith. I get up each day and keep moving forward. I remind myself that I’m blessed with another day. The loss of them in my life right now doesn’t take away the unconditional love, and oh boy is there so much love, so I will hold onto that love tightly.

I still get triggered, maybe I always will, but I work through it. I realized that allowing fear to settle in my mind and body takes away so much from my life, it steals the joy from today. We only get this one life.

For my birthday I came up with a crazy idea. I was going to go skydiving. Something I never thought I would, or could, do! Something about it pulled at me though. I had this feeling of needing to take control of something in a life where I have been shown time and time again just how little control I have over things. I told others and myself repeatedly “I hope I love it but even if I don’t, I can do anything for 10 minutes. I’ve been through much more than this.” It was me literally signing a paper and facing fear head on. I could have chosen to never do it. But I kept feeling that pull…

Thank God I listened to it. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I won’t lie, the night before the anxieties were setting in but then I woke up the day of and I felt at peace. I knew everything would be ok. Luckily I had a good friend crazy enough to join me. I thought the plane ride up would be anxiety filled and full of fear but it wasn’t. It felt calm. The minute I left the plane I was ALL IN; a mix of peace, awe, excitement, adrenaline and just beauty! I did it! I not only did something I never thought I could do, I LOVED IT!

It made me wonder about all the things we miss out on in life because of fear. Fear is an emotion the Lord did not instill in us. He does give us common sense and the knowledge to take certain calculated risks to stay safe. I’m not saying go jump in front of a train! When I brought up skydiving as something I was going to do, people almost always referenced one thing, death.

I was never really scared of dying, I just wanted to be able to enjoy it and not be anxious. That was more my fear. Other people brought up different scenarios like, “What if the parachute doesn’t open?” The fact is, you are much more likely to die on your way to work. That can either scare you or LIBERATE you.

Risk vs. reward. This reward was well worth it!

I know a lot of people are living in fear. People have wrapped their entire lives up in “life or death”, but guess what? I could be alive, do nothing, not see family or friends, not go places, not take any chances and something could still happen. Or instead of constantly worrying about staying alive, I could actually just live!

Go do something that scares you today! It doesn’t have to be as extreme as jumping out of a plane at 13,500 feet, but it could be just as monumental for you. Tell someone you love them. Wear the outfit you think “isn’t you” but that you love. Take a leap, any leap. Choose today to LIVE. No fear.

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

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