Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Overcoming Fear

Emotions are a powerful thing aren't they? Each and every one real...raw. Experiencing the loss of a child has magnified every emotion. Some emotions I have welcomed with open arms, and others I have wanted to push away.

During the months since Branson's passing, I have spent a lot of time thinking about emotions. I have concluded that we experience them all...the good, the bad, the hard...for a reason, and I personally think that reason is so we can become more like Jesus Christ.

The mission we choose to accept by coming to this Earth was to learn, to grow, and to become more like Him and our Father in Heaven.

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect."
St. Matthew 5:48

This is our ultimate goal after all isn't it? To become perfect even as he is? For me, this process will take much longer than the time I will be given here on Earth. At times that charge seems daunting, impossible, and downright unachievable. The beautiful thing about our Father, is that he doesn't expect us to do it alone. He sent his son.

His son is our exemplar...the only human being to walk the Earth in utter perfection. His son is our truest friend...there for us every step of the way. His son is our mediator...our personal link to the father. His son is our Savior...it is only through him that this perfection can be reached. For, through his atonement, he has made up where we will assuredly fall short.

So, in time spent thinking about the Savior, I have learned a few things about emotion. First, he has felt and experienced every single emotion so he could perfectly understand us, but he also "overcame" them...mastered them to a perfect form...to continue in his perfection.

So, as I've struggled with such emotions as anger, doubt, disbelief, abandonment, loneliness, and emptiness I have tried to do a few things. First, let myself experience those emotions...for they are real. Bottling them up inside, or pretending they aren't there, would only deceive myself...but for how long?

Second, allow myself to "process" each emotion...why am I feeling that way?...what lead me to this emotion?...how do I function when I feel this way?...what purpose does this emotion serve for me right now?

Third, don't let myself get "stuck" there. Although I believe each emotion is a gift from God, they can also be a tool of Satan's. He wants me to get "stuck" in the negative, to dwell there.

Fourth, and perhaps the hardest step for me, is to let my faith and trust in God help me overcome the emotion...instead of letting the emotion overcome me.

These four things have helped me tremendously in the past. Yet, lately I am facing a new...but very strong emotion...fear. And, I am having a very difficult time not letting that emotion overcome me.

Fear in itself scares me...isn't that ironic? I am filled with fear that his baby girl won't be able to stay with us...that once again I'll be left with empty arms. I fear that I'll do something to harm her. I fear that her heart will stop beating. I fear that I'll never hear her scream, or see smile. But perhaps what I fear most is not knowing what God's will is for us and this little one.

This is the hardest emotion for me to move past...I feel like I'm getting stuck. Yet, I also feel myself wanting to pull away from it...but how?

I have been able to find examples in the scriptures where Christ felt many of these different emotions, but was there an example when Christ felt fear? As I thought about it, a scripture came to mind:

"And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."
St. Matthew 26:39

I believe that Christ knew that suffering for our sins and feeling every pain, emotion, and sickness we would be asked to bear was part of his purpose. Yet, as I thought about this scripture the other day, I wondered as that moment arrived in the Garden of Gethsemane if Christ might have felt a little fear...anxiety of not knowing the full extent of the suffering he was about to endure. Perhaps it was that fear that led Him to ask the Father to "let this cup pass from me".

So yes, I think Christ felt fear...he experienced it, he felt it's power.

Yet he refused to let that fear overcome him and his purpose...he overcame it with his faith and trust in His Father..."not as I will, but as thou wilt". He may have feared what lay before him, but he never doubted that His Father knew best. I believe that it was through this submission and show of faith that he overcame his fear.

It's strange, because I feel closer to my Father in Heaven than ever before...yet, I think that perhaps I still lack complete trust in his plan for me...that complete trust that the Savior obviously had. That's where I need to work...I need to use the knowledge that I have about God's perfect love, about his eternal purposes, and about my personal relationship with him to make that trust complete.

In the meantime, I'll find peace in the Savior's understanding and comfort through knowing he's there, and I'll enjoy the love, excitement, joy and hope that I feel when she's stirring inside.

"Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you..."
D&C 68:6





10 comments:

Tifani said...

I really just have to thank you for writing this post. It is exactly what I needed to hear. Overcoming emotions instead of the emotions overcoming you...very deep and insightful. And just like you said, part of overcoming fears and emotions is being willing to deal with them instead of running away and hiding, and that is exactly what I have been doing for several months now. Running away from my heartache has just made me feel worse and I can see that I am getting nowhere and need to make a change. And that is the reason why I need to thank you this morning. Your words could very well be one of the reasons I push through this little phase that I have been going through.
With gratitude and Love....Tifani

Sara said...

very sorry for your loss. i applaud your attitude and reaching out to the Father in your time of grief. He will carry you and I will be praying for you!

Robyn said...

Your words are always so beautifully written Natalie. Thank you. You are a true example to me, and know that we continue to pray for you guys every night.

Brittany said...

You always write such beautiful posts. I hope everything works out for you guys and your little girl. I also really hope you will be able to get that machine, that you want, to monitor the baby.

Devin and Andrea Hatch said...

Natalie,
That post is exactly what I've been needing to hear for myself! I've had such a hard time with the emotion of fear and trying to overcome it. Thanks for posting your feelings. It helps me so much too to know that I'm not the only one experiencing this. Congratulations on your baby girl! We're so excited for you! We'll be praying for everything to go well for you.
Andrea Hatch

Brittanie said...

Oh that fear. I would wake up in the morning and just lay there waiting for a movement. I think that was the "scariest" part of the day for me. I always reminded myself that I was pregnant right at that very moment and at that moment everything was fine. I decided that since I couldn't do anything to control what the future held as far as my pregnancy(ies), that it was something I would try not to worry about. When I needed to think about the future, I forced myself to plan for the best, not plan for the worst. I think it's in our nature to fear that which we can't control, but to try to control it though we know we can't. I don't know that I'll ever completely master that fear while pregnant. The fear of a repeat. It's a struggle, moment by moment.

I'm praying for you honey. I can't wait to see your post about her arrival! (hugs)

Kimberly said...

Hey Sis, That was a very good post. I think that you are very insightful and that you are clearly receiving revelation from God on how to learn and grow from your life experience.

I also experienced a lot of the horrible emotion of fear in regards to our Grantsville homes. I remember loving a quote that I heard and I think it was from this talk http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6897 check it out and see if you like what Elder Cuthbert had to say.

Love you, Jed

Kim Call said...

Life has a way of making us face our fears, whether we want to or not. Its comforting to know Heavenly Father places around us those who know how best to comfort and encourage us as we "bear our crosses". I am always amazed at how blessed you and Robert are to have such wonderful people in your lives who care so much for you. And you are such a strength to them! Love to you, all three! mom Call

Kandie and Steve said...

Thank you for your post. It was so beautiful and real. I appreciate that you will share your deepest feelings with all of us. You have helped so many with your experiences, and testimony. We love you. Hope to see you soon.

karim said...

Very thoughtfull post on overcoming fear .It should be very much helpfull.

Thanks,
Karim - Creating Power