Fear Rush

When the path is blurry, be not afraid

In the past I’ve been called an adrenaline junkie. What causes an adrenaline rush? For me, and I think a lot of us, it is fear. Yes…I’m back to fear. I have found I still have lessons to learn on this subject.

In the past couple months I haven’t be able to post like I wanted. I thought about just picking up where I left off and go. It didn’t seem right. Then I ran into writer’s block. Yesterday I went to lunch and decided to write something…anything. Just to get the juices flowing.

I looked over my list of prompts (I make note whenever an idea flashes through my brain). I saw two words: Fear Rush. I know I wrote it down months ago when I was writing about fear. I looked at the words and realized I have been living with a fear rush since March. I like to start by defining my ideas, concerns, findings, etc. Here I go:

Adrenaline: a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, especially in conditions of stress, increasing rates of blood circulation, breathing, and carbohydrate metabolism and preparing muscles for exertion. [Oxford Dictionaries]

Fear: an unpleasant feeling of anxiety or apprehension caused by the presence or anticipation of danger [Encarta Dictionary]

Rush: In this context I am using these definitions: sudden feeling; sudden pleasurable sensation; [Encarta Dictionary]

Here in the U.S.A., the fear rush is all around us. Movies, media, and books from suspense to mystery, horror, commentaries, and even documentaries play off our need for adrenaline. I actually enjoy biting my nails through a good suspense or mystery story. Or I will watch the endless news cycle too much. Milly look away from the screen! Here’s an example: This week I got the familiar fear rush as I watched an interview speculating on the possibility of a certain rogue nation using their satellites to detonate an EMP. An EMP could send the U.S. technology back to the 1800s for as much as a year.

I said to my husband, “Where is that magazine on prepping for a blackout or EMP pulse?”

“What? What are you talking about?”

I sighed and waved at the TV. “We need to prepare.”

He laughed. “They can’t get a missile of the ground.”

“Thank God for that.” I muttered under my breath. But I did realize I was not putting this in God’s hands. I was trying to fix it.

Here’s the background: At the beginning of March, I learned my husband had not one but two blocked carotid arteries. He needed two surgeries. The fear rush started. I have been blessed with a great imagination. I also have been blessed with a mind that can track out future ramifications. My fear was a stroke.

While his family does not have history of strokes, mine does. Growing up I watched the devastation and long-term care needed for a stroke patient. It is sheer hard work for the patient and their family. Blocked carotid arteries have a major stroke risk if the plaque breaks free. If an artery became completely blocked he could have had another heart attack. Been there, done that…got the postcard, don’t need another one!

Remember, adrenaline feels great! It’s a powerful drug in our body. It powers us up to take on the world! Grrr! We are strong and invincible! “Go Go Power…” Oh sorry…Flashback to endless hours of kids TV in the 90s. It’s is a rush…in this case a fear rush and it feels good. The deception is: I tell myself I can handle it.

However, God handled the process the entire time. Some of His work I saw right away. Like my husband’s cardiologist wanting a sonogram of his carotid arteries with no firm symptoms. The surgeon was surprised that he had not been dizzy, light-headed, or in pain. He was in surgery for the left carotid within two weeks of the diagnosis.

As we found out after a tough surgery, the left side was almost 100% blocked. I wanted to know, how my husband could think with almost no blood going to his brain. My cavalier husband laughed at that. He’s special you know {wink}. The doctor said an amazing thing happened in my husband’s brain. His body built a network of smaller arteries on the left side bypassing the blockage. Wow! Our God is awesome! It is not unusual for this to happen but, since we are biological beings it does not happen in every case. I could blame it on the luck of his Irish mother but, I really believe it was God’s hand here (and I like to think my Irish mother-in-law was also praying for her son!).

After the second surgery the doctor came out to tell me all was well and the surgery went as planned. I felt relief flood my senses. I noticed the tingling under my skin had stopped. As I waited to be told they were moving him to ICU, I looked back over the last two months. I realized some kind of energy was under my skin the entire time. I had not slept well, and I’d had a lot of chronic pain. Suddenly I was so tired. Like a rag doll finally tossed onto the bed. I flopped onto the waiting room couch thanking God and then staring off into space. He’s okay, he’s safe. I can finally relax.

Yesterday I realized that energy sensation was a chronic fear rush. I had been living on adrenaline for ten weeks. This time I did better at not playing the “what if” game. I spent a lot of time in prayer. I actually didn’t worry this time (much {eye roll}). When I started to worry, I turned to prayer. I have come a long way in the last two years walking with my Savior. The sensation under my skin was my underlying concern for my husband. Obviously I still need to work on my addiction to adrenaline. I now realize the rush leaves me fatigued and in pain.

Here’s the thing. I have recently found, when I sit in God’s presence, I feel peaceful and calm. There is a stillness that infuses me with a different kind of “rush.” I am growing to crave the Peace Rush from the Holy Spirit. I learned I can put away my fear rush like the young adult puts away their childhood toys. Adrenaline is just a hormone. It can help us in times of actual danger and tragedy. But an imagined adrenaline rush can be destructive to our health.

Almost two years ago, a friend and doctor said to me, “I am going to ask you a question, there is no right or wrong answer, will you choose health?” I chose health that day. It has been a long road but so worth it. Daily I have to make choices for my health. Somedays I do really well…Somedays not so much. Today I choose health by setting aside the rush I get from fear.

A few of the antonyms to fear are faith, love, and joy. May you increase in faith. And may the love and joy of the Lord fill your heart.

Love Milly

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:27 (NIV)

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