Dark alleys, leering stares, gossipy rumors, circled fat, salmonella poisoning, terrorist attacks, rapists, murderers, abusers, molesters, cultures that devalue women, risk of having Alzheimer’s, child getting Lyme disease, genocide, female mutilation, the sex trade, child getting West Nile virus, gangs, child developing Autism, mafia, house catching on fire, disease ravaging our bodies, kidnappers, exploited on social networking sites, Big Brother, germs, spiritual warfare, noises in the woods, getting lost…This is an incomplete list of what we fear. Barely scratching the surface with those.
I took your comments from Friday’s post titled, “What DoWomen Want” and found the most prevalent answer kept focusing on security. Based on your input it became obvious—women want to feel safe.Time for a little psychology 101. Did you know that on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid the need listed just above our basic physiological needs being met (hunger, sleep, etc.) is safety?
What threatens our safety as women—what weakens our ability to feel secure?Besides the very real danger some men present, and even some women offenders, our greatest opposition when we’re fighting to feel safe is oftentimes our own fear.
Women are masterminds at worrying. Michael Hyatt wrote a thought-provoking post about how worry and imagination are like two sides of the same coin and he also highlights the profound differences between the two.I wonder if some of us cry wolf in particular scenarios so habitually that we play out, in twisted strokes of misfortune, our own self-fulfilling prophesy. We imagine ourselves to death. There are proven statistics detailing how much damage stress can do to the body.
All this to say there’s no denying horrific events occur every second. The world can go dark in a flash. Our fears are grounded in glimpses of reality.There’s a book every woman would benefit from reading called, The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. The book helps educate women about the difference between true fear and unwarranted fear. I’ve reflected on this book numerous times when I’ve faced potentially precarious situations.
Because I love advocating for women I’m wrapping up today’s post with a list of things that contribute to women feeling safe.
KnowledgeStatistics, resources, places to go for help, the unlikelihood of acquiring said disease or having our child kidnapped can diffuse the firestorm of worry that explodes in our minds. Understanding what we need to focus on helps us let go of all of the extraneous weight on our shoulders.
Strength in NumbersWomen, we are such a phenomenal and valuable resource for one another. We’d benefit beyond belief by uplifting and encouraging one another in lieu of playing competitive, jealousy-based games.
PerspectiveEvery so often repeat these two words: Reality check. One of the best ways to face down our fears is to gain a sense of perspective.
HonestyOne of hardest, but most important ones. Truth really does set us free. You are not alone. And you need not stay stuck.
EmpowermentMartial arts, yoga, kickboxing classes, schooling, learning to read, speaking out on behalf of women, telling the truth, writing stories communicating issues and themes important to women, volunteering, giving, giving, giving.
Hope & FaithThis one goes deep for me. My way of viewing the world changed drastically when I understood for the first time this is not my home. And as hope flaps its wings inside me I embrace and live in the truth that nothing can stop me. Including fear.
What makes you feel secure? Insecure? Are you able to turn worry into creative and positive visualizing?
*photo by stock.XCHNG
Things that make me feel secure are my Women's Ministry in my church (because I feel that is a place I can go to for anything and also hear God's word) and also my education (I feel secure knowing I could support myself if anything should happen to my husband)ReplyDelete
I think what has changed my view of worrying (which to me means we are trying to control things by worrying about them) is that there really is not much in this life we do have control over. None of us knows how many days or moments we have left on this earth. We cannot control an accident. We cannot control how other people act.ReplyDelete
1. I know that when this life is over I will be with Jesus in heaven for eternity.
2. For the limited time I have on this earth what has He called me to do. The brief life I've been given is not really my own, I am His servant and He has work for me to do while here.
When I have those worrisome thoughts that are beginning to build, I immediately pray "I'm turning this over to you Lord."
Thank you for the encouragement, Wendy. I have been thinking along similar lines as I am reading Freedom From Fear by Neil Anderson and Rich Miller. I grew up in a household saturated with fear and worry, and as an adult, am working to shake the residual effects. Thanks also for the links.ReplyDelete
Have a great week,
What a great post, Wendy! I was crazily blessed to grow up with parents who taught me pretty much from the day I was born that I can trust God and he has a plan. Those words can sound so trite sometimes, but the truth of them really is embedded on my heart. I really do believe it...I can trust God and he has a plan. I find security in that truth.ReplyDelete
And then also, in my family.
This is all so true. I think being thankful helps me. There is always something to be thankful for, and it changes my focus from fear of losing something in the future to appreciation that something is in my life now.ReplyDelete
Love this, Wendy. Especially that end bit about fear not stopping us.Delete
Great stuff! Especially faith and hope! :)ReplyDelete
My rock solid faith gives me security. Like minded friends add to the goodness.ReplyDelete
Worry..how I hate it. Argh. Totally believe in the value of women sticking together though! Going through something write now and women together...let's just say we rock. :-)ReplyDelete
I knew about the security thing. Young, unmarried women tend to be Democrats because the Democratic party offers more security in their philosophies. It's an interesting analysis, actually. Anyhoo..good post!
Yes, yes, yes!! Love all your thoughts here and I soooo relate. Faith and trust in the Lord is the only thing that can truly keep my fears at bay. It doesn't mean bad things won't happen to me...but it does mean that He'll be there to comfort and hold me when they do.ReplyDelete
Wow, wonderful post, Wendy! I totally find security in God's promises--the ones that have been fulfilled and the ones that are yet to come!ReplyDelete
~Thanks so much for your sweet message on my blog this morning. :)
Wendy, I can't tell you how much I relate to your post. As a writer, I've been blessed with a great imagination, but until I started using it to write, I would often get myself into trouble (still do, but not as much). Man, can I worry and fear and fret! I remember once I was fretting over something stupid (and sharing my fear with my husband) and he said: "What if a huge astroid broke through the atmosphere and landed right on our house? That's about as likely as what you're worried about." It was true - and I can't even remember what it was that I was worried about! It was exactly what I needed to hear (and be reminded of time and time again). I loved Michael Hyatt's post, too.ReplyDelete
A great author you need to check out is Dr. Caroline Leaf. She's a brain specialist and her books are FABULOUS in understanding the power of our minds. One is called "Who Switched Off My Brain" and the other is "The Gift in You." Both are excellent.
I've noticed that my own fears have a mind/body connection. When I'm feeling physically unwell or unhealthy I'm much more prone to rampant worry and fear.ReplyDelete
I stopped watching the news (and reading the local news online) at my husband's pleading, and I am SO much better off for having done so. The downside to the Information Age is that we hear about every little crime, disease, scandal, betrayal, etc., etc. these days. For my own sanity I had to learn to turn away, otherwise I'd turn inward with worry.ReplyDelete
Empowerment (via truth-telling) is a biggie, but most of all, embracing God's sovereignty has been life-changing for me. Excellent post with things to ponder all week long. ;-)
I faced something along these lines with a friend last week who was awaiting test results and feared the worst-case-scenario. I love the comment about how worry and imagination are connected. I've often said my novelist's brain makes me think the worst instead of embracing reality. :)ReplyDelete
The imagination/fear connection makes sense. I imagine all the things I can do to my imaginary (but real to me) characters, so it makes sense I do the same in my own life, envisioning all kinds of scenarios that are unlikely to play out. Fear robs me of joy, so I need to turn it over to the Lord and spend my time imagining the freedom I'll feel when I do so.ReplyDelete
I think you've nailed what women desire, Wendy. I can let my mind wander down a spiral of fear, so yes, worry and imagination are so intricately connected. Hope and faith are big ones for me when it comes to overcoming fears.ReplyDelete