I once worked at a place that was obsessed with the Meyers-Briggs personality test. No seriously, I was made to take it at least 3 times and made to sit in on meetings way many more times regarding my personality and the personality of everyone else in the workplace. Through this process I learned that my personality is pretty split. LOL. It's not like I have 2 people living inside of me (although I'm sure at times Johnny would question this fact) but on each spectrum of personality elements I fell almost exactly in the middle. For example I am not a blatant introvert or extrovert...I am simply both and neither all at once. Hypothetically this would mean that I am not an extreme person....yeah even I would question that fact! When it comes to change....changes in life, changes in work, changes in experience, etc....I actually do find myself literally split. I love trying new things and experiencing new things, but I also have moments of fear, even panic, when the time gets close to something new happening. This was me about a week ago.
The day of my D&C surgery I received a call (while lying and crying on a stretcher in pre-op...you can't make this stuff up) offering me the job that I had been hoping and praying for. Talk about a schizophrenic week....this was surely a contender. The next morning Arlis woke up, screaming, around 4 a.m. Poor Johnny tried to take care of the situation, but if you have or have had an almost 2-year-old, you may understand that when they want their mommy they will have their mommy or they will explode. This was one of those moments. I took Arlis and Johnny went to get him some milk....which he quickly vomited all over him, me, the bed, the floor, and so on. He had a fever and milk was probably not the best avenue to take with a fever but when it's 4 a.m. and your baby is screaming and you just had surgery and you haven't slept for 48 hours other than under anesthesia, logic is not something that happens naturally. I managed to calm Arlis down and he fell back asleep and I.........woke up with Arlis's fever. When you have surgery, your immune system takes a hit. Mine was already kind of wobbly according to my pre-op bloodwork and this threw me straight over the cliff of infirmity.
Fortunately for my physical recovery my start date for my new job wasn't for another couple of weeks. Unfortunately for my mental recovery I had caught the toddler virus from hell and would be in bed to ponder life and the loss of Blueberry for those couple of weeks. In the midst of that....we would be moving out of my in-laws house and into a condo the week that I started work. And I was pretty much helpless to help my poor husband juggle poor Arlis and the menial tasks that come with moving.
Everything was happening...and all at once. What we had been praying for....the right job for me, the right place to live, the right timing for the church plant, getting out of Johnny's parents' house...was happening. This was a time to be happy, excited...gleeful even. I found myself terrified. For the past 3 months we had established a way of life. Compared to the 3 months before it was almost stable. It was not a way of life I wanted to continue....but the thought of yet another major change in such a short period of time under the circumstances that had just happened to us made me want to run and hide. I knew for a fact that once the change happened that I would be in such a better place....physically, mentally, and emotionally. But I still dreaded what was going to happen. I was fearful. I was anxious. By the time it was time for me to start my new job I was a disaster. I don't think I slept more than 2 or 3 hours the night before. I was still not healthy physically and my mind was even less healthy. What if I fail at this job? What if I hate it? What if our new place turns out to be awful? What if Arlis won't sleep in his new room? Yeah if you can imagine it, I thought of it. My moment was at hand....and I was scared.
What I didn't think of was what Mrs. Appiah and Mrs. Ellis taught me in 4th grade Missionettes at church. Phillipians 4:8&9 --
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
If you were a Missionette, you memorized this verse. We learned the KJV and we loved to recite it a.k.a. scream it during class every week. God bless Mrs. Appiah and Mrs. Ellis.
The other thing I didn't think of was the scripture I had been carrying around, taped to the back of my phone, for the past 9 months. Deuteronomy 31:8--
And the Lord, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not; neither be dismayed.
There are a few different opinions of what "fear not" means in the Bible. My husband says, the Bible says not to do it, so simply, do not be afraid. Maybe that is possible for him or you or other people. I truly believe he is capable of turning it off. I do not believe I am capable of flipping that switch. Fear is a reflex to me. Scientifically, fear is something that is human and natural. Without fear we wouldn't stay alive for very long...we'd be walking into streets and sticking our hands into flames and laughing in the face of gun-wielding men. Personally, I think all of the "fear not" scriptures, including the ones above, mean when you are afraid REMEMBER and BE COMFORTED. Remember the times God has seen you through--and all of the good things that are--and his peace will comfort you, as a parent comforts a child. When I tell Arlis not to be afraid I don't expect him to say, "OK mommy," and then assume he's not going to be scared anymore. I'm telling him, I'm here, I will protect you, you will be OK. And when he realizes that, he is calm. He is at peace. When I am afraid I need to think of the things listed above....the true, the honorable, the just, the pure, the lovely...and I will realize yet again the goodness of God and I will be at peace. He goes before me, wherever I go. That, my friends, is really something to think about.
It's not easy not to get scared. Especially when BIG things (good or bad) have happened to you or are happening to you. For me, I need to respond to my reflex of fear and anxiety with thoughts of goodness and rememberance of what God has done for me. I want it to become a habit that when something rocks my world I remember those things and I am comforted. When I close my eyes and I see our baby Blueberry, lifeless and gone, I need to remember the goodness of God. When God has given me an incredible new job and I immediately think I will fail, I need to remember the goodness of God. When the moment has arrived for us to begin meeting for our church plant and I know this is going to bring hard and fast changes around every corner, I need to remember the goodness of God. That's not something that just happens. That's something that I have to develop. I feel like I'll be developing it for the rest of my life, but wherever I am in that process, I know God will meet me there. So here we go. This is it...don't get scared now!