“Each of us must confront our own FEARS, we must come face to face with them.  How we handle our FEARS will determine where we go with the rest of our lives,  To experience adventure or to be limited by it.” Judy Blume 

Since the pandemic began, I’ve been cooped up at home with limited social activities.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been out.  I’ve taken a few mini-vacations, went to a few milestone birthday parties, attended a couple of funeral services, and am in the office two days a week.  However, with the exception of the birthday parties, these weren’t socializing events or experiences.  Despite being fully vaccinated, I’ve been apprehensive about getting out.  I wasn’t ready to accept invitations to have fun, not just yet.  Even though I hadn’t seen most of my friends, socially, in 2 years, I still wasn’t ready to get out there and socialize.  But why?  FEARS!!!  The virus has made me extremely FEARFUL.  It has paralyzed me socially.  I was almost beginning to think that if I didn’t get out of the house soon, I’d probably need help from a therapist to do so.  Has the pandemic made you afraid?  Since the pandemic, do you FEAR getting out?  I DO!!!  So for this week’s blog, let’s talk SHIP about the importance of addressing our FEARS!!!

Normally, I am NOT a FEARFUL person, far from it.  But after two years of watching the coverage of the Coronavirus, it has invoked a sense of FEAR in me.  From those morning press briefings that interrupted the Price Is Right, and the evening news highlighting the new Covid cases and the death tolls reaching millions, to the footage showing the barren grocery store shelves, and the images of body bags lining the streets of New York.  Day in and day out, we were bombarded with the latest updates surrounding the virus, along with the antics of the leaderSHIP at that time. Watching TV became a depressing experience.  With all that going on, how does one not become FEARFUL? Hearing, seeing, and experiencing this daily certainly created a FEAR in me and I addressed it by alienating myself from others.  But was that the solution?  Was I really addressing my FEARS?

Addressing FEARS whether real or created is a difficult task, yet it’s something that must be done if we want to truly live.  Because living can only start when we address, face, and work to overcome our FEARS.  The very purpose of life is to live so we shouldn’t allow FEARS to paralyze us and limit our activities.  Oftentimes life, through situations and circumstances, will force us to face our FEARS whether we’re prepared to or not. That’s what happened to me. Over the weekend, life’s circumstances, and a good friendSHIP forced me to address my FEAR of getting out.   My childhood friends lost their mom, and the services and the repast were held this weekend.  There was never a doubt about attending the service but I had immediately dismissed attending the repast.   Once the plans from the services were solidified, I received a call and a text letting me know the particulars. When we talked, I explained that I was still avoiding crowds and would be at the services but not the repast.  He expressed his disappointment. We’d spoken several times since then and never mentioned the repast again. Although I was hurt that my friend was disappointed in me, I knew that attending the service was showing support too. I just couldn’t get past my FEARS of attending the repast.   For weeks before the service, I’d vacillated back and forth about attending and each time my FEARS always won.  I was determined to stick to the plan, I’d go to the service and not the repast. 

The morning of the service, I woke up to a message from my friend saying I had been on his mind. When I returned his call, he repeated the sentiment and I inquired how he was feeling. I ended the call telling him that I’d see him in a few hours at his mom’s services.  When we hung up, I felt the disappointment in his voice. Without it being expressed, I knew that call was about the repast and that I had to address my FEARS immediately whether I wanted to or not. I had to replace my FEARS with the same type of love that my friend exhibited with his phone call. With such a loving gesture, I couldn’t allow my FEARS to overshadow 50 plus years of a loving friendSHIP.  So, I faced my FEARS head-on and attended the repast. And I had a blast!! All of my childhood friends were there to support our friends and to celebrate the life of their mom. Talk about addressing FEARS,  I was proud of myself because even though, I ALWAYS wore my mask, I wasn’t bothered by those who didn’t.  I was comfortable dancing, socializing, interacting, and taking pictures with my friends. It felt good to laugh and to smile, even though mine wasn’t visible, I enjoyed seeing theirs. It felt good reconnecting and was glad that I attended. Once I released my FEARS, I was able to relax, enjoy, and appreciate the experience so much more.   GOD knew this was something I desperately needed.

The pandemic may have exposed my humanness and created some FEARS, it also revealed the importance of trusting GOD. Because when we trust GOD, it becomes easier to release our anxieties and our FEARS.  But, how? GOD’S word reminds us that love conquers ALL, including ourFEARS. First Corinthians 13:13, says……“And now this three remain:-faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”   No matter the FEAR, GOD can and will make a way for us to release and overcome them. HE did it for me!! HE allowed me to address my FEARS through a phone call. Although the real message was left unspoken, the timing of the phone call itself was a heartfelt gesture of LOVE. I’m still not going to jump back into going and doing, but I will continue to face my FEARS by accepting invitations to attend some events. I know if I can do it, you can too! So stop letting your FEARS hold you back and start living!!! If you want to live a FEARLESS life, simply trust GOD to show you how to address and overcome your FEARS!!

SHIP TALK: Have you developed any FEARS caused by the pandemic? How did you address and overcome them?

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