A Punch in the Guts

lightWe all wrestle with our own darkness…our own demons…our own Fear.

Over the last year or so, I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to wrestle my big Fears into submission. That’s one of the biggest reasons I started this blog. Occasionally (or maybe not so occasionally), these Fears rear their nasty little heads and pull me under for a while. And it usually gets pretty ugly. Fear, to me, has always felt kind of like that feeling you get after a punch in the guts. After the initial jolt to your insides, comes the feeling of needing to catch your breath. You sort of stay doubled over, left with that sore feeling; flinching at the slightest shadow…anticipating another blow. It’s easier and safer feeling, in the aftermath, to slip quietly into the shadows, and into hiding.  Sometimes in that aftermath, a person can simply grow accustomed to the darkness…and forget they have the power to step back out into the light.

My absence the last few weeks is due to just such a punch to the guts. With job duty changes at work, the catching of a nasty cold and the appearance of some old ghosts of my less desirable self, I found it harder and harder to turn the light back on.

I’m supposed to be writing every day. I’m supposed to be working on and sending out a query letter for the novel I want published. I’m supposed to be training for a mud run coming up in March for my birthday. I’m supposed to be practicing my courage. I’m supposed to be living the dream.

But I haven’t written a word or stepped foot in my gym or done one thing outside my comfort zone in weeks.

I believe part of learning to brave is honesty. So I’m calling myself out. The truth is… I let myself get stuck. I admit it. It’s my own fault. I’m my own worst enemy. I chose to stay doubled over after one punch. I refused to stand back up and turn on the light.

Until today.

Today, I put pen to page. Today, I laced up my running shoes after work and took my lazy butt to the park for a brisk autumn walk instead of taking a nap on my couch. Today, I stepped out of myself.

Why today, you ask? What made me reach over and turn on the light? What made me choose to shake off the shadows again?

Well, it was actually a random text message from a dear old friend that simply said – I miss your words…And your face…You need to remedy this situation. 🙂

So, I remedied the situation. I sent her a goofy picture of my face and here I am writing words.

I’m more blessed than I could ever deserve. You see, I’ve got these incredible people in my life that refuse to leave me alone in the dark with my fears. They expect more out of me than I often expect of myself. They’re sort of like my own personal band of Merry Men. They smother me with demanding text messages and snap chats and stern looks and hugs and “You can do this” chants. We do life together, in darkness and in light, pulling each up and on along life’s journey, giving and taking as we need it.

Today’s text message, along with other encouragements I’ve received over the last several days, were just the nudges I needed to get over myself and turn the light back on.

We all get stuck. We all hide out in the dark at different times for different reasons. We all let our demons win sometimes. We’re human. But we don’t have to stay there. In my quest for courage, I’m learning it’s hardly ever the epic moments that make us brave. True courage comes with the little choices we make every day to not let the darkness win. True courage comes in choosing to listen to the voices of encouragement from those around you that love you and support you and want you to win. True courage comes in learning to discern between those voices and the voices in your head that lie and tell you there’s no way you can overcome.

So, with all of that ranting on darkness and courage I’ll end with two things…

One – If you know someone who is currently doubled over in the darkness with their fears, send them a text or an email or hand-written note. Give them a hug or a slap on the back. Or, even better, go to their house, drag them from their cave and take them out for a refreshing beverage. Shoot them some little spark of encouragement. You never know if that’s the spark that will give them courage to reach up, turn on the light and step out of the shadows again and do the thing they were meant to be doing.

Two – If you’re the one stuck in the shadows with your Fears….there is hope.

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