How I Broke Free From Fear of the Flu

It all started with Facebook. Or an impossible decision. I’m not really sure. Looking back, it’s hard to sort through those he-said, she-said conversations, chock-full of “he misunderstoods” and “she shouldas,” and figure out where it all originated.

It started like this. Scott was tying his shoes on the way out the door for work and mentioned, “I saw on Facebook that Amy has the flu. I know you see her sometimes at BSF, so be aware.”

I went into instant snapping mode. Blamed him for fear-mongering and dwelling on the negative, accused him of too much Facebook time, and later demanded an apology. Um, yeah. It was backward.

It was only later, when I was still trying to extract my apology as we talked it out (as I – ahem – built my case). We came round and round until suddenly, it hit me. ME. Something in ME was the source of this conflict. That undeniable, dread-in-the-pit-of-my-gut moment when I realized I might be wrong. I kept the cyclical arguing going for a little longer to try and save face, but I fizzled out pretty quickly as I came face to face with a big, fat, glaring-and-glistening ugly thing inside me that needed to be addressed. Fear.

Fear in me. That feeling I’d stuffed and flattened and smoothed and tucked and wore oversized, ruffled, color-concealing clothes to cover — erupted in a big mess. A mess that had to be dealt with, because I’d dragged someone else into the pit with me. (Someone I dearly love. I traded my best friend, companion, and #1 supporter to cradle my FEAR and call it beloved. To make a last-ditch effort to hide it as it ballooned into full exposure.)

So the back-tracking stopped and the tears flowed, because I’d reached the end of myself, and had nowhere left to run. Me and that fear, just sitting there exposed.

Man, that’s a hard pedestal to hobble down from. 

I was so sure I was in the right. But figuring out myself and the things that cause me to act in that way at that time is tough. It’s confusing. It’s muddled. It doesn’t make sense at face value. And it usually points backward to some bigger event.

In my case, it was loss of our first daughter when I was 38 1/2 weeks pregnant. My loss spreads into so many aspects of my life. One day, it can look like fear of the flu and hand-washing, and in another it can look like me, grabbing for control by agonizing over which road to take after a careless driver flipped our SUV.

Here’s what I have to do to walk myself away from the ledge when fear mounts:

-Stop. When I can start to hear that my reasoning isn’t making any sense, that the line of conversation is getting cyclical, or I’m bringing in tangents that have no business in the conversation, or I’m seeing red, I just need to stop. And get to a different environment. Maybe a different room with different sights and sounds… and pillows.

-Figure out what I’m feeling. This step took months to figure out. And a lot of practice, to get to today, where I can trace the steps from accusing Scott of too much FB, back to mention of the flu, and back to fear and loss.

-Take it to God. God, the healer, comforter, my source of strength, the one who collects my tears in a bottle, who records every tear I ever cry in a book, who will one day wipe away every tear I’ve ever cried, who today — in THIS day, sends people to infuse His comfort in me. This God, hears me. He sees me. He knows me and what makes me – uniquely me – weep. And He cares. I go to Him and tell him my hurts. And He cares.

-Tell a trusted friend. (A precursory note: be aware that the criteria for “trusted friend” may be different than what you think. If you are frequently hurting after conversations with your friends, you might need to re-examine who you allow in your inner circle. Consult these resources for help.) Pouring out my heart to another soul in the family of God is where I derive new strength. It’s Biblical — termed confession. Also termed “same comfort” and “mutually build each other up.” It’s soul-enhancing.

 

Bible references mentioned in this article:

2 Corinthians 1:3-5  – He comforts us, we comfort others with the same comfort

Psalm 56:8 – He collects my tears in a bottle, tears in a book.

Revelation 21:4 – He will wipe away every tear one day.

Genesis 16:13 – He sees me. He is the God who sees.

Romans 1:11-12 – We mutually build each other up.

James 5:16 – Confess to each other and pray so you may be healed.