We all have things that we worry about. Things we are fearful of. Stress over. For some of us, these fears and worries can become overpowering and can start to hold us back from fully living our lives. I’ve always been a worrier. I’m not really sure why, but I’ve always worried about things, from my family, to school, to relationships, to finances. Lately it’s been my health. I’m sure anyone with a chronic illness can relate to this. You worry about what each day will hold. You worry about flare-ups, when they will happen, how long they will last. You worry about affording medications. You worry about the future–how the disease will progress. Quality of life. The list of things there are to worry about is endless. One of the hardest things for me is making plans ahead of time, especially travelling. The thought of making plans for anything more than a couple of days in advance gives me instant anxiety because I never know how I’m going to be feeling. The last thing I want to do is ruin a family vacation or miss an important event because I’m sick.
Last weekend, I went to a bachelorette party in Sunriver for Memorial Day Weekend. I almost didn’t go. I had so much anxiety about the possibility of getting sick while I was there that I decided months beforehand that I wasn’t going to take that risk. I was going ensure that I had control of the situation and was going to stay in the comfort of my own house. I’m not in an active flare right now, but I still have a lot of days when I don’t feel well and it is definitely unpredictable. If you know me, you know that I am a planner. I like to know what to expect. I have never been and never will be a “fly by the seat of my pants” type of person. Being a planner and living with an unpredictable illness do not go hand in hand, so I’ve had to start rewiring how I think about situations.
Back to the bachelorette weekend. I decided to go after all, kind of at the last minute, after a text from a friend and a conversation with my hubs and my parents. My dad asked me, “What’s the worst-case scenario, that you’re feeling sick and miserable the whole time?” Something about this question made me think a little bit deeper. This was actually a good point. I had so much fear and anxiety wrapped up into the situation that I wasn’t thinking about it realistically in the sense that in the big scheme of things, it really wasn’t that big of a deal. Worst case scenario, I’m feeling sick the whole time I’m there and I’m not able to enjoy it. But we’re not talking life or death here. It’s just a weekend. Best case scenario, I go, and have an amazing time. So I went. And it was the best weekend I’ve had in a long time. I met some amazing girls and had an absolute blast. And my stomach actually felt better than it has in a long time, which I think has a lot to do with stress and the fact that I was letting go of the anxiety and stress that typically add to my symptoms. I can’t believe that I almost missed out on such a great time!
I know that God has been trying to teach me a lesson lately. It’s about letting go. Letting go of the need to control every situation. Letting go of the planner that I am and accepting that I don’t have to know the outcome of every situation before diving into it. Letting go of the constant fear and worry that have held me back many times from doing things I really want to do, and will keep us from enjoying life and appreciating life’s beautiful moments. One of my biggest fears with this illness is that it will keep me from living a full life. One thing I’ve realized is that by living in fear and worry about what will happen next, I am making my worst fear a reality, because when I let the fear and worry take over my life and hold me back from truly living it, I am allowing the disease to win.
Proverbs 31:25 says “She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” I’ve heard this verse a thousand times in my life but it’s only recently that it’s become so personal to me. To laugh without fear of the future is something that is just mind-blowing to me since being afraid of the future is something I’ve struggled with so much. Being able to live out this verse is what I strive for. I wonder how much more fulfilling our lives would be if we were all truly able to let go of everything we’re holding onto so tightly, every dream we have for ourselves, every worry, every fear and trust God completely with it all. I know I’m a long way from being at this point, but it is something I am working toward. One thing I know for sure: our circumstances in life may be unpredictable and ever-changing, but God’s love for us and His plan for our lives will always be constant and unshakeable, and for that I am very grateful. ❤