On Being Afraid

I'm afraid quite a bit.  It's getting on my nerves.

I understand I shouldn't be afraid, both from a Biblical and a rational perspective.  I have been redeemed, and life's never been better.  Nevertheless, that's not really helping me at the moment.

I'm going to try and apply something I learned about grief:  You have to grieve.  You can't avoid or deny it, or you will grieve at the most inconvenient time possible.  Likewise, fear seems something you must face and give name to, then you can move past it.  So, here goes.

  • I'm afraid of being alone.  Years of no peers and only cattle to talk to will do that.
  • I'm not afraid of dying, but I am afraid of outliving my wife.
  • I'm afraid of my own carnal nature--my selfishness, laziness, apathy.
  • I'm afraid my ADD will ruin my life, despite my best efforts.
  • I'm afraid of my temper, and what I'm capable of when I'm mad.
  • I'm afraid being abandoned by those I love--wife, kids, friends.   I see or have seen all those as an inevitability.  Basically, my judgemental self concluded that if anyone knew me--REALLY knew me--the only logical conclusion they'd arrive at would be to reject me.
  • I'm afraid of being incompetent at my work.
As I said, the above are irrational fears.  Here's the kicker though...most of them have affected my reality, in some cases becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy.
  • Of being alone: I get so clingy, controlling, and paranoid that I push people away.
  • Of outliving my wife: I'm not taking care of my body, not one iota.  (Not saying that's the only reason!)
  • Of my own carnal nature: I've overworked or overstressed myself to the point of...apathy and laziness.
  • Of my ADD: Well, working on that one, certainly, but for years I'd do anything to avoid overstimulation and acting-out randomly in public settings, especially meetings @ work
  • Of my temper: I get mad at myself for getting mad, feeling impotent rage, and then...yeah, goes nowhere good.
  • Of being abandoned:  Not viewing myself as lovable, I've disdained and treated those that try to love me as deficient, just for choosing to love me.  End result is a self-fulfilling prophesy.
  • Incompetence: Obsession with knowing "everything" has me knowing increasingly....nothing.
So that's where it's at, me on my own couch.  I shared the above with my accountability group yesterday and the leader gave me this story that I'll share with you. 
So, are you familiar with Louisville's football coach?  Charlie Strong is his name.  He's brought Louisville Cardinals football to a great level.  At yet, when you go on the fan message boards, all you see are people fretting: 'He might leave!'  Literally, unless they hear him say 'I will stay at Louisville for the rest of my career, without question,' they won't be satisfied.  They don't show up to all the games, and they jeer him for being irresolute, thinking he may leave for a better coaching job at one of the SEC schools.
You know what?  We're going to the Sugar Bowl this year.  The f****** Sugar Bowl.  Major bowl game, national exposure, and $10 million for the Athletic programs at UofL, all because of Charlie Strong's leadership.  If you worry about what might be, you won't enjoy the reality of what is.  Don't obsess about what might be.  Take a look at what's bothering your and keep it in perspective of what you have.
 In short, enjoy the Sugar Bowl.
So LORD, thank You for all that You blessed me with.  Thank You for my wife and my beautiful children.  Thank You for the ability to earn money for my family doing something I (usually) like doing. Thank You for people that love me no matter what, and people that love me enough to tell me I'm wrong and encourage me when I'm right.

In short, thank You for the Sugar Bowl, and giving me at least a moment of perspective where I enjoy it.  Amen.

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