The challenges of fear

Fear is a weird emotion. In one way fear protects us when we are in trouble. When danger is looming and our instinct sends signals to our mind. A signal warns us and we get this ominous feeling inside, we get afraid. Somehow we need this kind of fear to remain alert. But sometimes fear walks out of hands. We cannot shake it off anymore. This is the other side of fear. A fear that is in our way. It became our enemy that we are fighting against every single day.

fear

Fear is a mechanism to protect us in times of danger but if we don’t  control it, it can become our greatest enemy. An enemy so difficult to get rid off that we need the help of therapists and psychologists and even then it is unclear whether we can ever truly overcome it.

But often the fear is not the greatest issue. The greatest issue with fear is the way our environment is dealing with it. If you are lucky, you have people around you who support you. Who cheer you on and help you with your anxiety. This is an ideal picture because in 80% of the cases it is the other way around. In so many of the cases people don’t understand. In their misunderstanding, they wonder why you just cannot get over it. Why you simply cannot ignore it. Why you are making such a problem of something that isn’t even scary or true. They get annoyed with you. Tired of all the times you bring it up again, as if it really is a personal choice. Often the people who should support us most, are our worst enemies, if it comes up to fear. Not because they want to be, or are, but because they don’t understand!

‘Just because you are not afraid, doesn’t mean somebody else cannot be’. 

For people who live with anxiety and fear, compassion and kindness is more than welcome. People who live in fear never made the choice to live this way. Things happened in life that hurt them so much. All there is left is fear.

Let me tell you about my personal situation. I have been diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder, in short it means that I have multiple fears at multiple places in my life. Growing up, I never had teachers who believed in me, in fact teachers saw me as a dumb girl and in my last class before going to middle (or High) school, they literally told me and my parents this. At home I was overprotected. My parents meant well but it had negative consequences for the future. I never had true friends. I was bullied. Even grown ups, who I was supposed to trust, turned against me. I have been through a lot. To deal with all of this and to improve myself, I have done 2 assertivity trainings, 1 anxiety course, I have had 3 psychologist and 1 therapist. Trust me, I have done my fair share of work to get rid of the fear. And still the fear is inside of me. Not because I choose to but because therapies either didn’t work or because they had a really bad effect on me. Life can be brutal to all of us, but sometimes we find ourselves in a place where letting go of the past isn’t as simple as it sounds.

And even now I have to say that the fear itself has never been my greatest hurt. My greatest hurt has been the way people deal with it. As a teenager I was very insecure. I was a wall-flower, a little grey mouse desperately trying to make herself invisible. It happened so often that, instead of supporting me, people took advantage of me by making fun of me. The times I have been made fun of, or laughed at, I cannot count them anymore. At home I was in a safe environment, where my parents, brothers and sisters-in-law definitely tried to help me, but out there in the world, I was an easy victim. Internship supervisors, grown ups who should know better, made fun of me and even bullied me. I was only 16-19 years old and I didn’t have the tools to stand up for myself as I have them right now. But it created a deep infectuous wound in my soul that I am still trying to mend.

All I ever needed was love, compassion and a helping hand but all I received was indifference. It is the very reason why I am writing this blog today. I want to make a plea to the world. Don’t hurt people with fear. Try to understand that some of us have a problem that we didn’t create and cannot overcome.

‘Instead of ridiculing people with fear, we should lend a helping hand’!

We cannot take the fear away. We cannot make the insecurity less, but we can be friendly. A smile is one of the easiest ways to make a person feel comfortable. A smile is a kiss of love that your heart gives to a stranger!
Greeting someone is not that difficult and can make such a difference. Simply saying ‘Hello’ to someone, even when we don’t like them, can make someone feel welcome and wanted. A feeling this person maybe never felt. People always feel that in order to make a difference in the world, they have to do missionary work in Afrika or Asia. But the greatest difference you can make is right where you are.

Love, kindness and compassion are not that difficult, it just takes a willing heart!

If you read this blog, can I challenge you to be a little kinder to shy, insecure people and to people who are dealing with fear? Can I challenge you be kind to them and to help them? Can I challenge you to stop making fun of people? Trust me, with a little bit of kindness you can make such a big difference in a person’s life!

My kindness came from my last internship supervisor. A lady who went out of her way to give me a little bit of strength. After all of the unkind, and sometimes even mean, supervisors, she was a breath of fresh air. She taught me to stop seeing myself as a failure. She taught me perseverance. Don’t give up when you make a mistake but try again until you can do it. She made me feel one of a team, something I hadn’t felt…ever! She made a difference. A difference I will never forget!

Something to remember with Christmas!

It is December and Christmas is right around the corner. Christmas is my favorite time of year. All the lights are just mesmerizing, great food and there is a scent of joy that fills the entire world. Christmas is pure joy to me. It is the only time of year when I don’t mind to spend a whole three days in the kitchen. Then there are christmas songs. I love christmas songs since they are always so cheerful. I play flute, as a hobby, and I can’t wait until November arrives and it is allowed to play christmas music again. This time of year makes me happy and I just want to enjoy it.

The joy of Christmas is undeniable. Not just to me but to many in the whole world. And yet there are two things important to remember.

The first thing to remember is loneliness. Loneliness? Yes, loneliness! There are so many people in the world that are alone with Christmas. Whatever reason there is, some people spend Christmas all by themselves. And that just makes me sad. Christmas is about togetherness. Of course, we want to spend Christmas with our family and loved ones, but what about those who have no loved ones? Or elderly people? We live in a fast-paced world, where we are so focused on ourselves that we can sometimes forget others. Maybe you know someone in your own surroundings, who is alone with Christmas. Is it an idea to invite them and give them a Christmas they will always remember?

There is also another loneliness. Christmas is usually spend with children. The joy of children when they get to open their gifts on christmas morning and stay up late to watch christmas movies and eating together with the family. Christmas is a magical time of year for children and it is a true joy for parents to watch that. But for people without children, who really want kids but never got them, it is a very painful time of year. Like I told you before, I have no children or a boyfriend/husband. Jesus does not want that in my life. And even though I am okay with that, it is also very difficult sometimes. You know, I don’t know if I would make such a good girlfriend/wife, but I would have been such a great mom. And I do miss it at times. With Christmas and New Year’s Eve I watch my three brothers and their families and I get choked up. If only life would have been a little different. As much as I love Christmas, not having children or someone to spend my life with is not always easy. But there are so many people like me. Moms who never became a mom. Dads who never became a dad. Wives who never became a wife. Husbands who never became a husband. It doesn’t matter how much family and how many friends you have, it is an absence that no one can fill. An absence that fills you with a loneliness at certain occasions like Christmas.Please do not forget the lonely hearted this holiday season!

The second thing that I think is important to remember this holiday season, is Jesus Christ. Presents, great food, Christmas trees and decorations, yes it is all a part of christmas but it is not the most important part of it. Christmas is about togetherness and giving and joy. But most of all it is about Jesus. Jesus who came to this world for us. A little baby in a manger, with shepherds in a field, angels singing about the coming of the Messiah and three wise men bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh. It is about God the Father who loved the world so much that He gave is only Son, so we may have eternal life (John 3:16 in the bible). Let’s not forget that during Christmas.

And for the record, a Christmas tree, presents, great food and such things aren’t bad. Enjoy these things! I do to. Like I said, I love the lights, music and food. (We don’t do presents but I would have loved that too if we did!) All I am trying to say is not to forget what Christmas in the end is all about. Jesus is what makes Christmas…Christ-mas

A few years ago I wrote the next poem for Christmas. I hope you enjoy it!

The reality of Christmas

In advent weeks,
we buy a tree,
cover it with lights,
the decorations,
and candle light,
are a joyous fascination.
Many gifts,
in every size,
pile up underneath the tree,
with pretty bows,
and candy sticks,
it is our expectation.

Christmas is,
a feast of light,
but somehow more important,
is a table,
packed with food,
than a savior in a stable.
How can it be,
that our greatest gift,
is something bought in stores,
and not a Son,
who gave His life,
to open Heaven’s doors.

During Christmas,
every year,
my goal is to remember,
that Christmas is,
togetherness,
not just in December,
Love and peace,
for near and far,
given us,
that Christmas day.
A feast of light,
through Jesus Christ,
a baby born in hay.

 

A shield of faith

The poem ‘A shield of faith’ was the very first poem that I wrote after my seven year break (read the ‘About me’ section of my page!). It is based on Ephesians 6:10-20. Writing this first poem after such a long time, felt like someone breathed fresh air into my lungs. As if someone gave me back my life! Poetry is my thing. It makes me happy. It inspires me. And it is a way for me and God (the Father, Jesus & The Holy Spirit) to communicate. Poetry ended up becoming so much more than I ever thought it would be. It truly was God’s gift for me.

I hope this poem will inspire you too!

Shield of Faith

Many arrows I saw coming
Of hurt and grief and pain
A deep and evil longing
Planted deep within my vein

One mistake was all it took
One misstep so to say
An isolated broken look
at a world so far away

The only One who had compassion
Who saw the truth so deep inside
Loved me with the greatest passion
And told me not to hide

A shield was what He gave to me
to protect me from the flames
A shield of faith to set me free
from all the painful shames

The shield of faith is for protection
The helmet sets you free
The sword is His affection
He prays for you and me

From the heart

On the news this afternoon I saw a piece about the Rohingya refugees. Unicef called for help because so many children in camps in Bangladesh are hungry, traumatized, sick and alone. In the footage they showed, I saw a long line of children. They all had a cup or a plate in their hands and a small portion of food was scooped on it for every child. This one particular little girl begged for a little more. Even though she was given a little, she was immediately pushed away. The helplessness in her eyes touched my heart. All she wanted was food but there was simply not enough to give her. Not even enough for one more scoop. This reminded me of a poem I wrote a couple of years ago.

When I wrote this poem, I had also seen similar footage on TV. I don’t know from which organization this was but that doesn’t matter! In the footage I saw back then, there was a little boy. Same conditions but then in Africa, I believe. The look in his eyes touched my heart so much that I immediately wrote a poem about him. And not just about him but about all the children around the world who are suffering. Whether it is from hunger, sickness, trauma or loneliness, there are too many children still suffering around the world. And not just children, but adults and elderly too. So many people who are living in totally different circumstances than me and you. For a while I worked for an organization called ‘TEAR’. This is an organization that fights poverty. My work was mainly administration but it felt so rewarding.

The reward is the help that you give people. Even if it is just a small gift, it makes a great difference. For a while I felt that my administration work didn’t matter that much, because I wasn’t helping anyone hands on. But little by little I started to see the difference my small contribution made. Today it is my dream and deepest wish to help people through my writings. It is the only prayer that I hope God will answer for me one day. Because when I see these children, my heart goes out to them and I wish that I could do so much more than I am able to do today!

Here is the poem I wrote:

Unanswered

 Your eyes,
pierce through my flesh,
like burning arrows.
I feel your pain,
and my eyes shed the tears,
that you cannot give.
In a moment of despair,
my heart breaks.
To read is unnecessary.
Prevention too late.
For your eyes,
scream the questions,
left unanswered.

Hope, I call you!
Compassion, where have you gone?
Give me the names,
of the helpless hands,
the eyes that closed,
and the mouth that didn’t speak.
For the Heavens cry,
and the angels shout,
but nobody heard,
nobody answered.

Bless the soul that sees,
bless the hero that helps,
but glory to Him,
who answers the prayers,
and leaves the selfish,
unanswered.