I sometimes imagine that venting my emotions to another person is like handing them a scoop of oatmeal without a bowl. It’s messy and confusing and awkward, and only my very best friends are usually up to the challenge.

Today, I’m embarrassed to say, I’m branching out. If you’re uncomfortable with emotional women, move along. If you’re brave enough to stick around, welcome to the inside of my brain.

This is Amanda: Character Development Edition.

I’m over it. I’m done.

I’m kind of angry. It’s a good anger though. A get-stuff-done, not-taking-crap-from-anyone, this-is-ending-here-and-now kind of anger.

I’m over being afraid of money. I’m sick of it. In a world where money is so fickle, where it can be salvation one minute and destruction the next, where everything depends on it, I’m saying no. If I have to have money, if I have to deal with money, if I have to rely on money, I REFUSE to be defeated by it anymore. If I don’t have enough food, I don’t have enough food. If I can’t pay for my car, I can’t pay for my car. If my health insurance lapses, my health insurance lapses. Obviously I don’t want any of these things to happen, but if they must happen, I’ll face them courageously. I can’t snap my fingers and magically make jobs appear where there are none. I can’t make a wish and lower taxes. I can’t summon a genie to pay off my debts. There are no magical pantry-filling fairies.

But I can refuse to be afraid. I can refuse to bow to fear. My fear will not fix my problems. If I’m going to take the same action, do the same amount of work, and face the same monsters, then the emotion itself is superfluous. It’s unnecessary. And it’s not welcome in my life or my mind anymore.

I wanted to be free. I thought that freedom meant downsizing my stuff beyond all recognition, getting out of debt, and finding a job that I love. To an extent, all of those things do contribute to my freedom. But I miscalculated. My biggest chain, and heaviest weight, is this. Fear keeps me from believing that amazing things can come from catastrophe. Fear prevents me from aiming higher, from trying harder, from wanting more. Fear is my jailor, and it’s so crafty and so sneaky that I didn’t, until now, know that I was imprisoned.

So here’s my decision: I’m not going to stop playing the “what if” game – I’m just going to change the rules. From now on, instead of asking myself “what if the worst happens?” I’m going to ask “what if the best happens?” Instead of entertaining thoughts like “what if I don’t get a miracle?” I’m going to think “what if I do?” If – no, when – against all odds, everything works out in the end, I want everyone to think that it was all on purpose. I want the world to believe that it was all just a part of the plan.

And I’m going to cling to the belief that God does not punish His children for trying and failing. I’m choosing to believe that, like any good father, He’s cheering me on.

So, I’m done with fear.

Thank you for listening. Let me get you some napkins for that oatmeal.

33 thoughts on “Fear

  1. The day I made this choice for myself was the day my life started anew. The road is going to have ups and downs, but I am so excited for what it has in store for you along the way!!

    Rock on!!!

    • I’d heard of him, but didn’t know he had a website! That’s really amazing. I’ll be honest – I don’t see myself living completely without money (although, who knows? :)) but I am so done living in fear over it. 🙂

  2. Amanda, thank you very much for this post. I have very similar feelings, living alone with 2 children, counting every single krona now, when they are too small to let me come back to work. You helped me very much to understand that it is fear, not money, that is biggest problem. Feeling that intuitively, i just could not formulate it, and you did it very clearly. Thank you so much for that.

    • Sometimes it’s just comforting to know that others deal with the same struggles we do. Thank you for sharing this! It’s encouraging to me to know that sometimes what I need to say is what someone else needs to hear. 🙂

  3. Fear. What’s it good for? Nothing. Say it again! (It’s WAR isn’t it. Fear works better though, right? Instead of WAR?)

    Forging Earnestly Always Rewards.

    I just thought of that after reading your piece. Well written. Much luck. I think I am pulling for you.

  4. I have experienced those same fears. I wanted to share with you my favorite set of verses in the Bible. Just remember that God always has a plan for you and that if you are struggling in one aspect of life, not to get down. Maybe this is a time for God to reveal himself more to you, or have you learn something from your experience. I have gone through much of those types of concerns, but what I remember is Matthew 6 and the fact that God has never not provided. He is a loving Father and always, ALWAYS, provides. (: I will be praying for you!
    Matthew 6:25-34
    Do Not Worry

    25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

    28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

  5. I think one of the reasons some of us take on the approach of minimalist life is to reject the notion that money buys you happiness and security. All money buys you is stuff. And stuff doesn’t make you happy or secure. Tricky thing is that the fear can keep popping up. Don’t be surprised if you have to have this same vent a few more times before it starts to feel natural. Good luck girl! You will get through this to the other side. 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Pegahoot. This sort of encouragement means so much from you, because I know that you get where I’m coming from right now. 🙂 It’s so wonderful to have the support of friends!

      More than anything, I want to have the life that people can point to and say “she walked away from fear, and refused to be a slave to money. I can do it too.” I think you’re exactly right that it will take me a while to get there, but if I can succeed, it’ll be so worth it.

  6. I relate with this so much. I am finishing up my freshman year in college and I have come to the realization that issues are going to be following me for a while. I also have many fears too, but with God’s help, I am trying to realize His plan for me. I definitely think we all need to have the mentality of the best happening to us and not settling for less. I’m pulling for you too : )

  7. This is just what I needed to end my night. Thanks so much for reading my mind and sharing! Fear is our worst enemy as humans and it takes a toll on me daily. I know it feels great to break free! God Bless 🙂

  8. WoW! good stuff, kiddo! I especially like your intro with the oatmeal metaphor…I’m a youth counsellor and sometimes things can get messy but talking/writing seems to help clear things up. Thanks for sharing your insights…

  9. Awesome piece, you have explained the day to day struggles that we all face very brilliantly.

    I just wanted to add “for a freethinker his/her ultimate enemy is fear and fear can be of financial independence, losing love, friends etc. Fear just blocks the ground-breaking and new thoughts. It takes great courage to challenge fear and emerge victorious”.

    • “Fear just blocks the ground-breaking and new thoughts. It takes great courage to challenge fear and emerge victorious”

      I love this! I’ve been reading about the “ceiling” that we tend to inflict on ourselves. Our limits stem from our own minds. I feel like this is the start of something big for me. Thank you for the support!

  10. Letting go of fear and taking a leap of faith is cleansing and therapeutic. I’m in the process of doing the same; packing up what I can and selling the rest to move overseas. Life should be a journey, not a prison….unless you’re a criminal. 😉

  11. It is the fear, that’s the thing that has power over us. I do this at 3 in the morning, lie in bed and worry about all the “what-if’s”, often money, sometimes everything else. And you know, we’ve made it for over twenty-five years now and I still worry!! Crazy. I’m also trying to shed the fear and trust that everything will be okay.

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