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02 June 2011

Facing my fear.

We had gone to the Outer Banks about 8 years ago.  So when our friends called to invite us to go again, I knew what to expect.

I remembered the lighthouses and the wild horses. 
The beautiful, natural beaches and the dunes.

And the tunnel. 
The dreaded, underwater tunnel. 

I hyperventilated eight years ago while riding through this tunnel and now I was faced with taking my children through it.  Seriously, I considered not going just because of this tunnel. 

Running a close second to the tunnel....bridges!  Not just any bridges - long bridges that seemed as if they were sitting on top of the ocean with big hills in the middle of them. 

That seems to be a common thing when you choose to vacation on an island.  Seeing how it is an island.  You know, land surrounded by a body of water.  That kind of island.

So, what to do?  I knew we would never have an opportunity to stay for free at an oceanfront beach house anytime soon.  I knew that the boys, especially Joshua, had been hounding me to go to the beach for two years.  I knew that a vacation was something that we all needed. 

I knew that while I'm great at spouting off the perfect "church" answer to other peoples problems or quoting just the right bible verse for a situation, this situation would make me face the real deal.  My fears.  As unrealistic as they may be.

I'm afraid of tunnels, and bridges, and small spaces.  There, I said it.  And instead of "growing out of it" or getting better at dealing with my fears with age, I was actually getting worse. 

I packed my only, lonely Xanax that I had left over from an MRI on my shoulder two years ago.  I was ready to face the tunnel.

Then, it happened.

Have you ever been listening to the radio and had a song stuck in your head?  That's what happened to me, only I wasn't listening to the radio.  On the nine hour drive down, one thing kept popping into my head.

 "Fear not, for I am with you
do not be dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strenthen you, I will help you'
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10

When the time came, I drove through the tunnel and over the bridges.  And while, in the interest of honesty, I did still take some deep breaths and white knuckle the steering wheel - I made it.  And I did it without pharmacological help.

I love that I serve a God who cares so much about me.

Irrational fears and all.


Erica said...

Isaiah 41:10 is one of my favorite verses and I really need it today. I think labor may be starting I'm definitely feeling anxious. I will make this my mantra!

Anonymous said...

Charli- you don't know me well, but I go to church with your in-laws. I love your blog and am inspired by your honesty and desire to be all that you can be for God. Keep blogging, keep trusting, keep growing - I'll keep reading! :)
~Shannon Messenger

Yonna said...

Charli, we all have fears of all shapes and sizes. The fact that you faced your fears for the benefit of your family, makes you brave. I approach situations like this in a logical manner. The thing to do is look up the specifications on the bridge or tunnel. When it was constructed, the designed weight strength, how often is it maintained. This will give you some confidence in the structure. The psychological approach is to de-sensitize yourself. This means to purposely drive over bridges and through tunnels as often as you can, The fear will disappear. You remind me of your grandfather. A hard working, brave man who was dedicated to his children. Be proud!