A couple weeks ago I was speaking out of town and the weather forecast looked a little sketchy for the day that I was supposed to make my trip. Being the snow-driving-chicken that I am, I decided to go the night before 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 all got weird. (It didn’t help that a suspicious guy came to the door and wanted to fix the fridge and I thought maybe he was a murderer.)
After I bolted my door and put a table in front of it, all I could think about was the fire alarm. I saw a Facebook post recently 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.
So naturally, I started obsessing about that.
I’ve NEVER had this fear before. But it completely overtook me. I normally like to spread all my stuff out and make myself at home, 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 basically came up with an exit plan for my escape if needed.
WHO AM I?
I’m not a girl who normally makes an escape plan! 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 freeze in the cold, frigid temperatures? (I worry a lot about hair) Is this 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 and pulled myself together. I realized (rather foolishly) as I left the parking lot, that I had been paralyzed with fear. I had robbed myself of something that normally I would have enjoyed to the fullest.
While that had never happened before over a hotel room, I knew that there have been other situations when fear had rendered 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 place 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. I’m not just good at planning hotel escapes, apparently. But often, in not facing our fears, we are losing out.
Fear is a thief.
Robbing our heart things.
Fear takes away joy, causes us to hesitate and wants us to remain frozen. 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.
Time to sound the alarm.
There’s a perfect love that casts out fear. Sometimes that perfect love gets forgotten and buried. Fear tries to push it out, but fear forgets the strength of the one who loves, and what has been given.
Instead of fear,
Love, power and sound mind.
So we trust when we want to fear. We trust when we don’t know the way. We 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 love, power and strength and a sound mind to guard our hearts.
Wrap that around yourself in the middle of the darkest night.
We won’t give in to fear.
We will stop it from robbing us.
His perfect love
kicks out all our fear.