Saturday, September 10, 2011

Contours of Fear: Experiencing, understanding, cultivating

Day 30 of my 30-day challenge--inspired by a TED talk--to share on fear. I made it.

Thank you for joining me as I explored the topic of fear these past 30 days. Committing to doing something everyday for 30 days requires discipline and sacrifice. I’ve had much less sleep, the house is a disaster, I have stacks of unopened mail, and phone calls to return. On the flip side comes the satisfaction in knowing that I pushed through.

Posting regularly has made me realize how much I struggle with fear yet how little I understand fear. To broaden my understanding, I am taking on a new 30-day challenge that I dub ‘no numbing.’ Brene Brown, in The Gifts of Imperfection, is the inspiration for this next challenge. She mentions the fact that everybody numbs in some fashion. The problem with numbing painful emotions such as fear is that you end up numbing good emotions too.

For the next 30 days, I am giving up several items that I use to numb: alcohol, junk food, sweets, and caffeine. There is nothing inherently wrong with these items. Nor do I wish to imply that people who consume these things are numbing themselves. For me, I notice a pattern in turning to these items to boost my mood or energy levels when in fact I need more rest and to allow myself to grieve. I hardly allow myself to feel sad over the fact that my two-year old son has NF1 because it's just too painful and surreal. It's easier to numb the sadness and to appear strong.

Ultimately, I choose to give up certain things for a time to see how I may learn to manage fear, and as a Christian to cultivate the Fruit of the Spirit in my daily life. Instead of alcohol, junk food, sweets, and caffeine I seek more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23, NRSV).

From time to time (not every day) I will post the insights I gain from my new 30-day challenge of 'no numbing.'

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