Sunday, May 15, 2016

Finding Freedom

Have you ever been so intimidated by your own fears, apprehensions and anxieties that you lost track of your goals, perhaps even your spirit or soul?

Many times in my life, I've opted for what might appear as the easy way out. I've let fear overtake my deeper desires and sense of self. It hasn't always been as clear or easy a choice as it may seem. I've struggled. Tossed and turned, whether asleep or awake, with the questions. Prayed over it. Rarely released it.

Then there have been those times when the decision to move forward, to move in the direction of the fear rather than away from it, was clearly the best choice. Wow! Tough options to feel my way through.

One of those decisions happened shortly after a cross-country move. I was married at the time of the move. My husband had many challenges in his life. He was depressed and an alcoholic-addict. These things weren't evident to my young adult self when we met, dated and married. They blossomed after we went through an emotionally traumatic year when his father was diagnosed with cancer, my father died suddenly of a heart attack, then his father died after a brief and brutal period with the cancer. I became stronger from the experiences. He, on the other hand, lost himself. So when we moved cross-country, away from our support systems, we intended to start afresh. That didn't work. The pain within him traveled cross-country with us. Before we had been there a year, I moved out and filed for divorce. It was not an easy decision. I knew he was in pain. I knew my strength could support him. I loved him dearly. I was afraid of the judgment others would pass on me for divorcing him. There was no single determining factor in my decision. I only knew, deep in my soul, that I could not carry him to wholeness. He had to do it on his own. Or not. Depending on me would not help him heal. My decision freed us both to move on to a new life.

Another decision stemmed from a co-worker suggesting that I go overseas to teach. He told me about his time teaching in Germany and said it was a great experience. At the time, I was single and he thought that would be a good move for me. Within a month of his suggestion, I was heading to an international schools hiring conference in New Orleans. By the end of the weekend, I had a contract to teach computer tech in Cairo, Egypt. I'd never taught computer tech before, but I convinced the interviewers that I could. I was going to live in Cairo! Doing that on my own, I was later to find, was the most wild and wonderful adventure I could ever have chosen. But what it meant in the short-term as I prepped to go was facing a lot of apprehensions and fears. What would I need to take? Where would I live? Would I be able to teach the full range of students? What support would the staff require? Where would I store the things I was leaving behind? How would I continue to pay my bills? The list went on and on. One by one, I faced them down and never looked back.

What decision points have you faced in your life? What part has fear or anxiety played in your decision? Have you discovered a place of freedom from your choice? Do you have any regrets? How do you deal with those?

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