If you had met me years ago, you would have thought I had it all together. Confidence, control, and happiness were the images I showed to others. However, the person that I pretended to be was in sharp contrast to who I actually was. I struggled from severe anxiety and fear. My true-life narrative couldn’t have been further from those false images. But, I unexpectedly received an invitation that changed everything.
A HISTORY OF HIDING FEAR AND ANXIETY
Disguising my low points became a lifelong skill that I mastered well over the years. I always projected to others that I was fine despite even the darkest times. Admitting my fears and insecurities made me feel weak so exposing them didn’t feel like an option for me. My pride had a hand in that.
Fear was something I always struggled with, even as a child. I can remember worrying about things that seemed unnatural for other kids my age. Death was one of those things. After two separate tragic family deaths that occurred sixteen days apart, my fear took an abrupt turn from worry and evolved into severe anxiety. In the most shrewd and subtle ways, fear began to dictate my life without me even realizing it. My health and relationships were dictated by my irrational thoughts. I clung to fear like a child to a blanket, and yet I feet exposed and afraid.
FACING THE BIGGEST FEAR OF ALL
Fear hindered my healing and growth until I was faced with my biggest fear of all—my own mortality at age forty. When your own life is in question, your perspective on how you live has the potential to shift in a different direction. But, I’ve learned that to make that shift or change, it’s important to be still and listen for God’s voice. I remember sitting alone, pressing my middle and index fingers into my wrist and feeling my heartbeat race. The silence in the room was almost deafening, but I was drawn away from checking my pulse by the sound of God’s gentle voice speaking to me. My gut, or God voice as I like to call it, was asking me if I was going to continue on living with fear or trust Him by surrendering all my fears to Him. It was a welcome invitation and one that I immediately accepted. I’ve learned that God has a way of showing up and showing off at the most unexpected times.
The One Technique to Conquer Fear and Anxiety
Surrender. That was my answer, my saving grace. It would change my life forever. It finally put my fears in perspective and allowed me to acknowledge that even though fear is normal, courage has the final say. Surrendering is what gave me the courage to live. For the first time in a long time, I was able to live joyfully, worry-free, and fearlessly. The weight of fear had been lifted and I could finally breathe—deep, slow and steady. Inhaling my future and exhaling my past restarted my life. Surrendering gave me a purpose to live. It shifted my thoughts and changed my priorities. It showed my truths that had been previously blinded by fear. Surrendering propelled me forward. Gratitude for each day in the present overtook the fear of something that might never happen in the future.
A LIFE CHANGED
Today, small things like going for a walk alone helps keep my mind and body centered when life feels scattered. Looking ahead in the direction I am going keeps me focused on what I can see instead of what I can’t. Each step forward brings me closer to authentically living the life narrative I so desperately wanted—one of peace and happiness. I was also able to embrace a more mature faith and relationship with God by conceding that even if I don’t understand the reason for life’s challenges they still have a purpose, His purpose, which is always good. And when we rest our weary minds and allow ourselves to be still and silent, His purpose can be seen, felt, or heard even at times when we least expect it.
I learned that fear only runs off of the power we give it, but being willing to surrender those fears is what provides the strength needed to push past what holds us back in life. I would encourage you today to take a moment and reflect on an area in your life where surrendering could be the best decision you’ve ever made.
Repeating mantras helps relieve stress and regulate your heart rate.
Sit comfortably with your eyes closed you’re your gaze lowered if that’s more comfortable. Or, go for a walk in nature. Repeat one of these mantras to yourself:
· With every inhale repeat, “My future.” With every exhale repeat, “My past.”
· I surrender fear.
· I am grateful for today.
· I am courageous.
Amy Debrucque is a native Upstate New Yorker. She is a wife to Ron and mom to Blair, Samuel, Ethan, and Adeline. She is a chocolate lover and beach junkie and loves to work out with her friend Alice. Amy is recently adjusting to life as a military mom by running to the mailbox daily because her oldest son Samuel just shipped out for basic training in the U.S. Navy. Amy has a weekly blog and monthly newsletter that you can follow and has had articles featured in Women Encouraged, TODAY ParentingTeam, YourTango, and Thrive Global. She also was also a guest speaker on both The Love Offering podcast and Thank You Heartbreak. You can also listen to Amy’s Mindful Storytelling podcast. She is also available for speaking engagements on overcoming fear and anxiety. Amy is excited and humbled to have you follow along on her journey of life and hope that you find it relevant to the life you are living right now.
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