I was remembering a weekend last year that I was speaking out of town. The weather forecast looked sketchy for the day that I was supposed to go, so I got a little nervous since I’m a bad weather-driving-chicken. I decided to leave the night before in case the freak storm happened, and stay in a hotel to avoid a stressful morning.
Normally, staying in a hotel by myself is a DREAM. I love alone time, mix that in with fluffy pillows, take-out and a bed I don’t have to make?
So, there I was. All checked-in and ready for a night to myself. Me and my mucho-burrito rice bowl.
Then, it got weird. First, a suspicious guy came to my door and wanted to fix the fridge, and I thought maybe he was a murderer. Naturally, I then bolted my door and put a table in front of it. Soon, I started to think about fire alarms. I had seen a Facebook post about someone staying in a hotel and the fire alarm going off in the middle of the night, and they had to go outside in their jammies. I mean that would be terrible. Stranger and pyjamas in a parking lot.
So naturally, I started obsessing about that.
I’d NEVER had this fear before. But it completely overtook me. I normally like to spread all my stuff out and make myself at home in a hotel room, but this time I made sure that my things were neatly by the door in case I needed to make a quick exit. I kept my toiletries in their pouch close to the bathroom light, and I came up with an exit plan for my escape if needed.
WHAT WAS HAPPENING?
I’m not a girl who normally makes an escape plan! I don’t make much of any plans usually. But there I was – obsessing about how to get out of the hotel in the middle of the night and wondering if I’d still be able to wash my hair in the morning. Or what if, horror of horror – the fire alarm goes off when I’m in the shower? Will I have to drive to my speaking engagement with wet hair and hope I can find an outlet for my dryer? Will my hair look terrible? (I worry a lot about hair.) Is the whole weekend destined for disaster?
SO many terrifying thoughts.
I’m happy to say I made it through the night without any dramatic incidents or alarm emergencies. I also got my hair washed, dried and I pulled myself together. I realized (rather foolishly) as I left the parking lot the next morning, that I had been paralyzed with fear.
I had robbed myself of something that normally I would have enjoyed to the fullest.
It’s not the first time. I know that there have been other situations in my life where fear has tried to render me paralyzed.
Having a big decision to make.
Facing an unfamiliar situation.
Being stretched out of my comfort zone.
Going after a dream.
Walking into a situation not knowing what to expect.
Wondering if I have what it takes.
Living through heartache and sadness.
In most of these situations, my first instinct is to plan an escape route because I don’t want to face what is ahead. But I don’t want to be a professional escape artist. When you run, you never know what could have been.
Fear is a thief.
Robbing us of our heart things.
Fear tells us that we can’t do the hard things, that they will destroy us – so we run instead of being brave. Fear doesn’t look to the future with confidence, but stays stuck in the past unable to move or gain ground. Fear causes us to step back, look back and go back because moving forward is just too risky.
So we stay with fear.
We let it rule us.
We forget what it means to trust and we wonder why we can’t break free. And while we are wondering, fear is stealing things from our lives.
FEAR DOESN’T HAVE TO BE AN ESCAPE PLAN.
There’s a perfect love that casts out fear. Sometimes that perfect love gets forgotten and buried. Fear tries to push back, but fear forgets the strength of the one who loves, and what has been given to us.
Instead of fear,
We have been give love, power and sound mind.
We can trust when we’re worried all the alarms are going to go off and we’ll be left out in the cold all alone.
We’ve been given all we need to guard our hearts.
His rescue plan trumps any escape plan in our lives.
We won’t give in to fear.
We will stop it from robbing us.
His perfect love
kicks out all our fear.