Free from Fear

Sean and I have been traveling, really, since the end of August. We’ve been blessed to sleep in the homes of family and friends and now share a caravan (camper) with another friend sleeping next door in a tent. We love all the social time, but 2 weekends ago, it was time to get away and just hang out – the two of us.

Brookside Lodge came to our rescue. For $56 USD a night, we had a en-suite room, complete with queen bed, small kitchen with fridge, microwave, mini-oven, burners, all the plates, etc you’d need for a small banquet. Not to mention our private porch, braii (barbeque) area, pool, air conditioning and gorgeous grounds to walk. If we move here, anyone visiting us can know they could stay in the most luxurious of places without having to fret over spiders, snakes, or warm weather. 🙂

During a pool dip, we got to discussing our next phase in life. Move to Swaziland? Not move to Swaziland? Move somewhere else with friends? What are we meant to be doing? As usual, Sean had many positive things to say about this little Kingdom and I could think of only negatives. As I rambled off excuses as to how hard life would be here, all of a sudden, I was struck with the word: Fear. Fear? FEAR!

I declared to Sean, “I’m afraid. That’s it. I’m afraid. I’m afraid of realizing my dream.”

 Moving to Africa/Swaziland/overseas emcompasses several dreams of mine – learn another language, live in a foreign place, raise my children learning at least two languages, and  live in a mud hut.
One of my favorite books THE ALCHEMIST by Paulo Coelho talks about this. He says there’s 4 obstacles to our dreams:
1) We’re told our dreams are impossible.
 2) Fear of loss of love (family, friends, respect, money)
3)Fear of rejection (not getting to the dream) If we fail, we can’t pretend we didn’t really care. We do want to achieve our dreams and have risked everything for it.
4) Fear of our own happiness/self. We do not understand why we should
be so fortunate as to achieve our dream when so many others have not.

 I’ve been fearful of all these things. Mainly of what happens when I achieve my dream. Will I suck at it? Will I be lonely? Will I make mistakes? Will I miss family? Friends? What if I fail at my dream? Will people laugh? or look down on me? or worse, just shake their heads and say “I told you so. You shouldn’t have gone.” What if I find no friends? What if we run out of money? . . .

 “‘My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,’ the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky.’ Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.'”

Floating around in the pool’s shallow end, I was hit with the raw fear that my heart has been feeling. My heart is afraid that I will experience another horribly hard year like my first year-ish teaching in Newar. Really. I’m terrified of that. I’m terified of the darkness. FAILURE. And I am quick to forgot God’s faithful in caring for me: sweet roommates, wonderful friends, a Community of People to share Life with, being hammered into a better spirit.

We had the delightful pleasure of running into an American couple who stays close to our caravan. Quickly we found out they’ve been teaching at an orphanage in Swaziland for 2 years or so, but are returning to the USA in a week without plans to return. They came with an organization, passionate about sharing the Good News with people, sharing her skills as a nurse, his as a International Developer. But their dreams were squashed. The Squasers may have been well-meaning. Or maybe they were selfish. Maybe the Squasers were threathened by people who are TRULY ALIVE. That happens often, doesn’t it? We see someone else is happy and think Perhaps if she’s a little less happy, my life won’t look so bad. Either way, this delightful couple and their accompanying dreams were squashed. When I asked, “Do you have plans to move somewhere else and practice nursing? What’s the next step?”

Her sweet face clouded over somewhat and she said, “I think he [her husband] would like to. But me, I’m not sure. I love nursing, but I just don’t think I want to show up in another place, thinking I’d have my dream of being a nurse in Africa and instead have to be a teacher.” (what happened to her this time)  Her whole body slumped with the weight of a thwarted attempt at Living Her Dream.

But there are a few things to remember. 1) I am the Beloved of God. He has not promised me an easy life, yet True Life in Him. (John 10:10) 2) “The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.” 3) I am meant to be free! Free of fear.

My relief upon realizing that I can allow myself to be free from this crippling fear bubbled up like the joy of a giggly girl on Christmas morning. The best I could do to express it was throw myself around the pool, spin, twirl, and dance ever so much. (Thank goodness the bouyancy of water adds extra grace to my clumsy attempts at finesse!)

What’s all that mean? Did we decide to move to Swaziland?No, we haven’t decided. Are we any bit closer to ‘answers’? Yeah, because now that I know the fears are eager to attack me, I can keep a watchful eye.  I believe there’s an Evil that really wants to stop us from living Life as it’s meant to be lived.

I can be pretty great at suffering, being miserable, sorrowful, and a woeful martyr. Now that I’ve mastered those horrid horrors. It’s time to try rejoicing, twirling, fearlessly encountering humanity and living True Life.

*Thank you Paulo Coelho, God, the universe, Sean, and swimming pools.*

Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Free from Fear

  1. Brett

    So glad you wrote this, Nicole. I can identify with much of what you are saying. So much to think about. Glad to you see you guys Truly Living.

    • Brett, ya’ll are an inspiration to keep fighting fear and living your dreams. You and April inspire us all. Thanks, man!

  2. Paul

    Thanks for keeping this going. You were always good about that.
    Wish we could talk about this in person,- here or there. Since we can’t, I will just make sure to keep you in my prayers concerning this decision.
    But just as a general comment:It seems to me that you should do what you are the most gifted to do, and do it where it does the most good. That can be in Africa, South-america or Columbiana. Did you know that after looking at Job’s in LA and Chicago, Nate & Jess are both working for an organization in Akron? Everything came together and seems to have been made for each other.
    This is the place:
    Anyway, wherever you go, by the time you go, you need to be exited about going. If the foremost feeling at that point is fear, it’s probably not a good idea. Well, this is my 4 cents worth.

    • Paul, I’m always amazed at how connected you seem to stay with us! Number 1 supporter?! 😉 Thank you for taking time to thoughtfully reply and offer those 4 cents. Completely welcome. AND we may have already decided by the time we’re in Ohio, but Sean and I will be up there mid-January or so for at least a month. I’m certain we can meet up for a long walk and talk, perhaps? I’d be curious to talk to Nate & Jess about their new endeavor there in Akron. Best to them!
      I think the Fear was really an obstacle of the Evil One, not really rooted in any physical fear (being in danger, etc.), but more of spiritual warfare-esqe-ness going on. Make sense? We’ll be in touch!

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