Last week I let my fears get the best of me — and it’s not the first time.
Many of my bad decisions over the years have come from a place of fear. I wish the fears were related to grizzly bears or insects because it’s pretty easy to rid yourself of those types of fears since they’re obvious.
My fearful tendencies are usually more subtle because I’m great at rationalizing them or ignoring the deeper causes all together.
A few weeks back my husband got me a pony (actually a mini horse) and I was thrilled for about three days.
Here’s what triggered an insane panic attack that also lasted about three days (not including the physical recovery time):
- When the lady dropped off Hobbes he was much bigger than I imagined he would be — and to be fair — much cuter. He was also skittish and head shy. This we had been warned about but it was still unnerving since he was at least a hundred pounds bigger than I thought he would be. The kind lady had spent a year working to get him used to people and did a great job but he still has a long way to go. The FEAR set in when she mentioned he needed his hooves trimmed ASAP.
- I called a vet-recommended farrier whose tone let me know right away that he thought I was an idiot for taking in an unknown rescue animal. The more he talked the more I could feel my excitement draining from me while fear flooded in. He said he’d come by in a few weeks. That meant each day that I woke in dread of his call since Hobbes was just barely letting me touch him.
- Randomly, this other lady who I’d been talking to over the last few months who does Christ-based equine therapy for humans called me about something. When I told her I had a mini horse now she was super excited for me, but warned me that if there was one thing I should know it was that Hobbes should NEVER EVER be given second cut hay because it is too rich and the horse could die from founder (which is a sort of fever in the feet). She continued to give good advice that I don’t remember because I was pacing the floor waiting for her to hang up. As soon as she did I raced to the barn and tore the second cut hay outta there.
- I spent the day driving around to all the places in the county that I could think of that had first cut hay to no avail. I also forgot to eat. By nightfall I was a mess and spread the lovely anxiety all through the house as my husband called the guy he knew — but the guy was drunk and didn’t have any hay.
Did I mention that I burst out crying to a few people I didn’t really know over the course of the day?
Now here’s the part I find so amazing. I had been praying to God to reveal my weaknesses and also to make it clear that the revelation would be from Him. I assumed if ever I got an answer it would be something about impatience.
As I walked through the two days of hell that I basically created I felt in my soul that God was answering the prayer: FEAR OF MAN IS MY IDOL OF CHOICE
The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted. Proverbs 29:25
You shall not fear man, for the judgment is God’s The case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it. Deuteronomy 1:17
If I were to say to you that I was afraid for Hobbes and his health that would only be the side of the thing I wanted you to see and maybe applaud me for, but the truth is as I ran around all day my thoughts were about the condemnation and shame I would feel if it were exposed to the unknown farrier and the unknown imaginary judges that I was imperfect and in way over my head.
Fear and shame run rife in my family, but that doesn’t mean I get to wallow in it. I wallowed for a little while until I remembered a sign advertising hay I’d passed many times. This is silly but even at my age I still feel a strong anxiety about phone calls especially when I’m in need, but I knew that I could not let my husband make the call. I knew God was basically saying that fear just wasn’t a foolish thing but a total lack of faith in Him and an idol that kept me from living a victorious life (church speak).
But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”Matthew 16:23
I called and the guy on the other end answered.
“I’m really hoping you have hay because I’m desperate and freaking out because we have a mini horse and there’s no way he’ll lift his feet for the farrier and I’m irrationally afraid that he’s going to die of founder by tomorrow morning — he won’t right???”
There was a long pause. “Hey, take a deep breath. Your horse will be fine. Okay, what I want you to do is enjoy tonight with your family. I’ll set a few bales of hay out tomorrow morning and you come by and I’ll give you some help since I have a few minis myself.”
There was something in his voice that was super Zen.
I was shaking on the phone because as he was speaking I knew God was showing me what life could be like if I didn’t carry around a whole ton of pride and shame.
When I got off the phone I burst into tears. Our adopted daughter came beside me and said, “I didn’t know you were anxious like me. That’s another way that we are like twins.”
Apparently she was happy about it.
When I got to the horse barn the next day I was a lot calmer. I realized that if Hobbes didn’t get his feet done right away it wasn’t all my fault — after only a few days of knowing him. I wasn’t a superstar trainer. This would be a huge learning season for me. The man with the hay took time out to show me ways to calm Hobbes (and me) down. He was so kind and not judgemental!
It reminded me of how in elementary school I was so humiliated that I didn’t already know the stuff the teacher was being paid to teach me. Irrational but me — STILL.
The lady who gave us the horse called and offered to come show me how to handle the hoof situation (this also made me cry because she offered to drive an hour and a half for free!). When she came Hobbes was a brute and didn’t let her do a thing which was oddly comforting.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has to do with punishment. He that fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18