Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Fear Is A Very Bad Life-Coach

My house is quiet. The boy is at Grandma's and the girl is napping and I am eating chocolate chips like it's my job while also pondering the fact that being an introvert and a stay-at-home mom sometimes mix like toothpaste and apple juice. (According to Sam, that's a deadly combo.)

But, moments like these help me survive the chaos and the usual lack of quiet. Well, moments like these and chocolate. And also wine. And sometimes cheese, if we're making a comprehensive list here. And if we're making a comprehensive list, then I should probably add Jesus. And now I'm thinking I should delete all the others things on my list, but I'm trying hard to be authentic here. 

Ethel the Bunny and Mae
Sometimes, after a few weeks of being busy and traveling and hosting and toddler-carrying and preschooler conversationing, I am DONE. I don't realize it until I get to the very last drop of my extroversion and then suddenly, the introvert in me just says, "NO." And, that's my cue to start making space somewhere in my day to be quiet, to reflect, to process something, anything, or else

In desperation, I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. this morning. "I'll read and pray and ponder life and maybe even blog," I said to myself in blissful naivete. And then my phone alarm woke me at that ungodly hour and I didn't even consider getting up for a second. But, despite my total lack of fortitude, God provided this little "space between," if you will, for me to take a breath, eat a handful of chocolate chips in peace, and write some things down.  

This weekend we traveled back in time, or so it felt, to a place we lived for two years when Sam was quite smaller than he is now. We've been gone almost three years and seeing old friends and revisiting familiar haunts was life-giving. Granted, toting two small humans around all weekend whose little schedules were out of order did take it out of us a little. But, it was worth it a thousand times over and I think we both came home with renewed hearts and a brightened, hopeful perspective on friendships and community and the necessity of time required for building those.

Sweet friends on the mountain we visited. Also, that look Mae is giving Elijah.
The best part, besides the "Deb Tucker" cookies we enjoyed in two different friends' homes, was the conversations I got to have with wise friends who know me well enough to speak truth into the little spaces in my heart that needed attention. 

Ethel the Bunny was a bit of a draw.
I talked. A lot. Like until midnight:thirty Friday night. I also paid for that by being in a fog the rest of the weekend. Apparently, being thirty-seven and staying up past midnight don't pair well together. But, regardless, I got to tell the part of the story that we're in right now and it helped to talk (and talk) about it with someone who gets it and who knows me. 

And after all the talking and the sharing and the explaining of all the feelings about babies and adoption and possible job ventures and marriage and friendships, my friend Carli mentioned something that has been swirling around in my brain since Friday night.

She pointed out that fear is a very bad reason to do something, or not do something, for that matter. I suppose it was pretty obvious that in the midst of decisions that need to be made, I am being pinned to the ground by fear lately. Fear of making a mistake or of losing something important to me or regretting a decision once made. Fear of nothing and of everything all at the same time. 

I think I knew that my heart had been reacting out of fear lately, but having a friend gently and graciously point that out was necessary for me to really see what was happening.

And, so I left our weekend with a new awareness of these two things:

Fear is a very bad life-coach and
Friends who speak the truth to me with grace and kindness are on par with oxygen.

I hope I can be brave enough to hear truth from friends and loving enough to offer that back to them. Both may stretch the limits of our friendships, but expanding the boundaries of our relationships with one another enables depth and connection that keeping each other at arms' length never can.

Maybe we can be brave together, speaking truth (with grace) into the hard places, and find our hearts being knit together in ways we could barely even have hoped for. 

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