Sunday musings and Rogue Thoughts

Greetings and Blessings this lovely Sunday Morning my dear readers.

Saw this  funny cat picture (what else) online this week and it got me thinking…where do fears come from, how do they start and how do we combat their negative effects in our lives.   Granted it also got me thinking about cats!  I’ve always wondered what it is that triggered Sandy’s dislike of anyone touching the “sacred”  tail except under very specific circumstances.   Hm…maybe in her pre rescue days (you can see her story in this earlier post – ) she had a “toaster” incident in her life?

phobia in the making

It does seem as if traumatic events both real and perceived are at the root of many of our fears and phobias.   And when we are surrounded or supported by love it is possible for us to shake them off  for the most part and move on with our lives.   The problem…our brains once they have experienced something (anything) encodes that memory or experience for later reference.   Then the more repetitions of similar events the more ingrained the expectation that it will or might happen again.   Thus putting us on the path to fear and phobia.

When I watched my nephew learning to walk I saw the perfect illustration.  The first few times he fell on his butt he greeted the experience with surprise and then often laughter but as the process repeated he began to look around to see who or what was making him fall so dang much.   Granted in his case he kept getting right up and continuing the learning process.   The goal was just too important to be sidetracked.   After all standing up he could reach many more exciting things and moving while standing up was faster and kept more things in reach (like Mommy’s or Aunt Jean’s hands 😀 ).    Hm…so a goal helps to sidetrack the fear…a clue perhaps?    And learning to live with some fears as a natural part of the living process.   In learning to walk we discover that we will fall until we get the process down pat.   And throughout our lives as we encounter obstacles to easy walking we have to evaluate and deal with those fears all over again.  Such as when we encounter escalators (still terrorize me to this day), elevators, curbs, gates, cattle guards, etc.    Do our primitive brains remember those falls every time we walk across a room?   Then prioritize and weigh the pluses and minuses of the action?   Now that I deal with a seizure disorder that means I fall more often I’m quite sure that my brain does this calculation every time I walk across a room.   So far the call of the goodies in the kitchen or the friend at the door seems to make such a “dangerous” trek worthwhile! (:D)

Boy would it be nice to think it was all built in and that our brains and emotions ran everything  and we had no control.   That would cut down on th guilt and recriminations if I am just at the mercy of my hormones, past experience etc.  If that were the case it would me so  much less guilt producing for those days I choose to stay in bed and retreat from whatever seems to be too much to face or handle.  And therein lies another rub.   The more I give into fear and let it control the agenda of my life the less life I have to live and enjoy!  And the more fear takes over every aspect of my life.  It seems to expect to be consulted in every dang decision the longer it goes on.   Not a good situation for maintaining sanity and a fun and fulfilled life.

The solution…trusting God and myself and stepping out in confidence even when that confidence isn’t real.   That is of course assuming that the fear I am facing is not a real and eminent threat.   After all even a policeman with a gun moves carefully and cautiously when facing an actual bad guy with a gun!    And realizing that trust too builds up an inner bank of expectation only this time of positivity and good things to come.  Something tells me that cat in the picture is going to need some soon!

My late husband was very fond of a story we learned from a Life in the Spirit Seminar years ago.   The speaker talked about habits that build into realities.   And whether we’re talking about habits of daily prayer and praise or facing fears the same theory seems to apply.   The basic theory has two versions.  One is that at takes 21 days to build an action into a habit.   Repeat an action or series of actions daily for that time period and you will have the start of a regular habit that is easier to continue than to break.   The other version is picturing the building of a side walk.   First you build the wooden forms (the set of actions to attain your goal) , then you pour in the concrete (the actions and bulk  of your life) and after a time of curing (the repetition of the actions) you can remove the forms and the lovely sidewalk remains (assuming of course that you got all the ingredients correctly mixed in the right proportions as any good contractor will tell you).    My favorite addition to the story came as the result of actually building a cement walkway.  Turns out you have to keep watering the stuff (at least when you build it in the summer) regularly during the process.   I likened that to daily prayer during the entire process.  And trust me when you put in a cement walkway you do a lot of that as well!

So keeping all of that in mind I’ve come to some conclusions about fear in my life.   The beginnings of it may be perceptual (my interpretation of an event that may have happened as it seemed or may be only my own perception of the event) or it may have a sound provable basis and may be traceable to a particular event (think toaster).   Whether its having been physically attacked, or emotionally hurt or just falling down often enough to jar your confidence in your ability to walk  the source of the fear may be real but what I choose to do about it and how I let it effect my life is up to me.   For both types of causes the effect is the same.   To stymie the growth and enjoyment of my life.  And both have the same treatment.    Prayer and a plan!     Prayer to encourage my heart to reach out and trust that God will make the plan and take the steps with me and a plan to set in motion the creation of habits that will put the fear in its proper place.   Notice I don’t expect the fear to magically vanish but rather to be integrated into the collection of memories and actions and other bits and bobs that make up who I am.  Thus assuming a much smaller place in my life.    I notice that even in Scripture while Jesus said fear not!  He didn’t offer to make it disappear!   He just told us what needed to be done.  So to me that implies action and trust on our part.

One caveat to the whole magically disappearing thing though….Trauma and God’s grace can effect a cure but it’s not the suggested method!

When my beloved husband died I went overnight from being afraid of the dark to being fearless!    Somehow it seemed that in losing him the worst thing that could happen in my life had already happened so there seemed no point in being afraid of the dark (or very much else for that matter).   I always saw that as a gift of sorts from him and God combined to help me deal with living alone.  There were good and sufficient reasons at one time in my life for being afraid of the dark but I had carried those reasons past their time and let it cripple me in amazing ways.    So believe me when I say it was noticeable when that fear disappeared overnight with no work on my part.   A true gift that rarely happens since God seems to generally expect a wee bit of work on our part.

That’s pretty much my thoughts for today on the subject.  Now I just have to put them into practice.   Must be the thought of selling my house and moving on to a new chapter in my life as well as the cat picture that put this in my mind.   Hmm….just a little nudge to continue growing up by the Man upstairs you think?   Now if I could only figure out what I want to be when I grow up!   At 51 you would think I would have figured that out already right???   Nope.   I’m still dreaming about the possibilities even if many are quickly reaching the realms of fantasy alone.    Astronaut, author, mathmatician, computer genius, nurse, nun, ruler of the known world!    Actually that last one entails way too much responsibility though it would be fun to cut through all the political crap and just fix a few problems!    For now I’ll have to settle for Spinner, Weaver and Stampin’ Up demo not to mention Human Being striving for growth and insight!   Oh yeah and newbie blogger!

Hope your weekend was fun and provided lots of opportunities for growth and enlightenment and love!   Step out in confidence my friends and let God take care of the rest.

Hugs and blessings – Jean


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