Sunday, February 17, 2013

Diving into Fearlessness

Hi sweet friends!

I simply can not believe it has been so long since we caught up! I wanted to let you know I am still around and I am excited to share with you everything I have been learning about health, wholeness, positive thinking, faith, and love these past months. The last time I wrote was when my mom came to spend the month of June with me in Germany. She came to stay while my husband was away for work and I was going through some difficult health issues of constantly feeling like I was passing out. It was so great to have her company and thankfully I had a few random days and weeks that I felt well enough, as the month went by, to do some traveling with her.

If you have been a reader for a while you know my story and that I went through a time of unrelenting panic attacks and grief; and that I started this blog in hopes to help others heal emotionally and physically; and to be encouraged. You might also remember that I was incredibly fearful of my husbands upcoming deployment, due to already losing Tyler in Afghanistan (see About Me page).

In the months that I have been absent from my little blog 'garden' I have learned so much and grown into a much stronger person than I dare say I've ever been before. I have been determined to face my fears with authority and learn the art of positive thinking and speaking.

I am now in the midst of my husband's and my first deployment together; and though it is hard to be away from him, I know that I am more than able to get though these months and not just by barely surviving them. It is a trilling feeling to be able to look at yourself and know you have conquered a variety of fears and worries.

To be completely honest, it wasn't until a few days after my husband 'Kiwi' had deployed that I realized how much stronger I had become. I was a little concerned that I was emotionally detached and not processing things in a healthy way. I completely expected to feel as though I was unraveling at both ends, but I was quite calm and collected in the days and weeks after we said "see you later" (I refused to say "goodbye") and he boarded the bus. I flew home to the States the next day to be with my family for a while and I kept thinking I would finally break down when I got there, because surely there would be a point when this odd peace would dissipate...right?!

When I was finally with my family and I had a couple days to settle in I began to try and process what the peace was I was feeling; and more importantly if it was either visiting me for a short season or a permanent resident in my heart and mind. I had asked a group of close friends to committ to keeping Kiwi, and me, in their prayers during the deployment. Mostly I just wanted to know that other people were praying for his safety while he was deployed. I had also asked that they would keep me in their prayers as well and pray specifically that I would feel strength and peace during the deployment. I know without a doubt that the prayers of these women are circled around me and my husband each and every day as we push through this deployment; and they play a huge role in my new found strength.

However, I felt there was something else that had helped to set my mind free from all the worry that had plagued me the past few years. Not only did I not feel as much fear about the deployment as I expected, but I also didn't feel as bound by fear about my physical issues of randomly almost passing out, panic attacks, etc. I had been reading so many books on positive thinking and the art of taming my fearful thoughts and worry (Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer); as well as pouring over bible verses promising God's rest and peace. Had I finally mastered it? As I started to think back through the months before the deployment I realized there was something that had helped me let go of the worry I had been holding onto, and it might sound quite odd at first...

When my hubby and I went to Thailand on our pre deployment vacation we decided to sign up for scuba diving lessons...well Kiwi signed up and then somehow convinced me it would be an adventure of a lifetime and that I should consider doing it with him! Originally the scuba diving certification course was supposed to be his birthday gift because it was going to take him away from me for 3 days on our vacation. Kiwi kept encouraging me that I should talk to the dive instructor and consider trying at least the first day. All I could think about was the fact that I had 5 major fears (1. fear of sharks 2. claustrophobia with all the gear on and feeling trapped under water 3. fear of drowning due to a close call on a rafting trip 4. having a panick attack under water 5. blood pressure issues...which the doctors were starting to think were causing my passing out episodes.) that were telling me this was a very bad idea and there was no way I could do it.

The short version of the story is that I somehow worked up enough courage to give it a try, mostly thanks to my persistant husband and a awesome dive instructor that offered to give me a free little lesson in the pool to build up my courage before I committed to signing up for the class which started the next day. After working on calm and collected breathing underwater with the instructor, and keeping a small panic attack at bay, I was swimming around on my own on the bottom of the pool 30 minutes later! I was still super nervous the next day when we had to actually start the course and perform various tasks underwater; and even more anxious the second day when we went diving for the first time in the open water with the fish. All I could think about when we were headed out to the diving site were the 5 major fears I listed above. However, I pushed through each fear one at a time and by the time I came up to the surface I was a new woman. I just didn't know how vastly that one activity had now changed my life...until I found myself in those first few days of the deployment!

What I have realized is that because I pushed through all those fears, during a single activity I might add, I was able to prove to myself very quickly just how much strength I have in me. I left my worries at the bottom of the ocean with the little fish, and they will never surface so easily again. It's so powerful when your mind is able to prove to you what your spirit has always known!

The reason I am sharing all of this is because I have now realized that I conquered a whole other fear, my biggest fear, when I conquered those other 5. I realized in those first few days of the deployment that I wasn't falling apart, and the reason was because I had- hope. I have hope that I will make it through this deployment emotionally and that my husband will indeed come home alive to me. I feel strong and enabled by my faith to face these months with the strength God is pouring into my heart and soul each day. I am not frail and fearful as I was before; because I have proven to myself that I absolutely can make the choice to override ANY fear.

(This isn't the most flattering picture but hey, what can a girl do on a rainy and windy diving day ;).

We all have to power to make that choice each day. We can either live in the fearfulness that binds our hearts and chokes our minds, or we can decide to push through and maybe do something crazy...we can have hope and faith that we are strong enough to get through with God's help and live in victory as we were always destined to do :).

Of course I'm not saying you have to go on a diving excursion in order to be freed from your fears, but what I am saying is that I have learned how important it is to push yourself out of your comfort zone in order to override a fear. Sometimes proving to yourself that your courage is bigger than your fear will remind you that God is bigger than YOU, and able to do far more in your life than you could ever imagine!

"God can do anything , you know- far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us," - Ephesians 3:20 (The Message)

Be Encouraged, Meg