Fear of the Unknown: Then vs. Now

– THEN –

I sat in my bedroom thinking that this time next week, I would be waiting in a hospital room. Waiting to be put to sleep for a short amount of time so they can hopefully find out what part of me isn’t working properly. Short story: yep, I am scared as all heck.

There’s something about the unknown that is, put simply – terrifying. I am a control freak. I want to know what is happening, where, why and when. I want to know everything. I don’t like surprises – unless that surprise has four legs and barks.

My journey with doctor visits and blood tests started roughly ten months ago. I made an appointment with a GP to merely have a chat and build a rapport with a female doctor. At the time, I didn’t really think there was anything wrong with me (albeit, my family and friends like to tell me there’s plenty!) Turns out they were partially right – although, in a different way to what they suggested.

Considering I never really had any record of my health on file, my new doctor suggested I get a blood test. Little did I know that my first blood test would lead to seven more, a diagnosis of iron deficiency, an ultrasound, a brain MRI, three stool tests and (this time next week) a hospital appointment for both a colonoscopy and gastroscopy. Basically: a tube up my bum and a tube down my throat – not at the same time and not the same tube (you know, in case you were wondering). Needless to say, this was all very unexpected and I’m sitting there like:

As you can tell, I try my hardest to make light of an incredibly dull and unexpected situation. The last couple of weeks have been a roller coaster of emotion. I celebrated my twenty-first birthday and started my final semester of university, but amid the excitement and celebration, I couldn’t seem to shake that feeling in the back of mind reminding me of what was just around the corner.

Time has a funny way of slowing down right before the things you don’t want to happen are about to happen. The months before your HSC exams or the days before you have to get your wisdom teeth removed – you just want it to be over, but it tends to feel like forever. That horrible and unsettling feeling inside you starts to bottle itself up. You begin to dread the days right beforehand. No matter how hard you try to direct your focus elsewhere – on happier things, it’s so hard not to revert back to consciously thinking about what is to come.

That’s exactly how I am feeling. Putting on a smile and trying to focus my attention and attitude on the positive by distracting myself by other things. But that’s all it is: a distraction. Focusing on these things isn’t going to do anything about what inevitably has to happen.

– NOW –

I arrived back home from the day surgery not very long ago and considering I was sedated about two hours ago, I am feeling pretty good. The results showed I had a 5mm polyp that the doctor froze off and due to some questions remaining unanswered, I have to complete a pill cam endoscopy test in a week’s time. While I have been feeling fairly bummed this whole time (last pun, I promise), I have learnt so much from this whole experience. The thing that put it all in perspective was the incredible sunrise on the way to the hospital and the amazing sunset that evening. The entire day I had been dreading had both begun and ended with His promise “I am with you, always” and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

sunset 2

These last ten months I have had to do things I haven’t wanted to – time and time again. I have been pushed outside my comfort zone and boy, was it uncomfortable. I whined and cried more than I probably should have, but it all boiled down to the fact that the unknown was well and truly freaking me out.

Another fun fact about me: I overthink everything. I made up situations in my head asking questions like, ‘what if they find something serious?’ or ‘what if this isn’t the end of it all?’ The biggest lesson I have learnt is that in reality, we have no idea what the future holds – whether it be tomorrow, next month or three years from now. But God is a loving and caring God and He knows. We can’t control what happens in life – no matter how much we wish to, but we can control the way we react to situations we face. Fear can paralyse you or mobilise you – it’s your choice.

I still don’t know if this hospital visit will be my first and last, and whether this pill cam endoscopy is the end of it all, but regardless, I am holding onto the promise that God is in control. I have no idea about what is going to happen in the future, but for once in my life, I am coming to terms with the fact that I am okay with that.

“Why would I fear the future? For I am being pursued only by your goodness and unfailing love.” – Psalm 23:6

Whatever you are going through right now – a relationship breakup, hurt within the family, financial struggles, work stress, health problems, battles with your insecurities, whatever – you will make it. You have made it this far already, so I promise you that you will make it. Stop dwelling on the past or the pain that you are feeling now. Focus all of your energy on the good; no matter how small or insignificant you may think it is compared to your struggles. Don’t let fear of the unknown or your doubt and uncertainties cloud your hope or positive energy. Wake up and choose happiness. Stop letting your emotions overpower you. Instead, let God’s unfailing love and abundance of grace overpower your fear.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” – Matthew 6:34

Keep smiling. x

Future Avenue

So I recently got my P plates and have come to the conclusion that despite that awesome feeling of finally having freedom, I actually prefer driving with other people in the car. I love driving and being in control, but I feel more secure when I have someone in the passenger seat. Probably because there is actually someone there listening to me talk. Driving by yourself can be daunting when you don’t know how to get somewhere. No road map or GPS. It’s just you and the road. All of a sudden, your mind starts to become hazy and you are unsure of where you are. You are lost and you don’t know what’s going to happen next.

Don’t get me wrong, the fact that the future is unknown is exciting, but it scares me too. We spend all our childhood years wishing that we were all grown up and out there in the real world. Then we finally get there and can’t help but ask ourselves why we were so silly. We long for the days of being six-years-old again, where tying our shoe laces was the biggest of our problems.

I wish life had a pause button, so I could really soak in and enjoy what life has to offer at the moment. Before I know it, all my friends will be going their separate ways, ready to embark on their own amazing journeys. Some will go overseas, for a short time or maybe forever; others might stay here, score their dream job and raise a family. Truth is, I have no idea where my friends will be in the next five years, let alone this time next year, but I know for sure that God has some incredible plans for them.

I guess it is hard to comprehend how little we actually know. I suppose I find it difficult to get my head around the uncertainty. The possibilities are endless. If someone came up to me right now and asked me where I see myself in the next couple of years, I would probably answer something along the lines of “I would love to inspire people through what I write, because I love making people smile.” I honestly don’t know if I have any other talents or if God can use me through writing. It’s times like that where I need to stop and think; if God has a plan and a purpose for everyone, He definitely knows what He is doing with my life. I just need to let Him jump in the passenger seat beside me and be the GPS. And yes, sometimes there will be dirt roads along the way and I will lose satellite reception or I will run out of fuel and have to get out and push, but those are the times I will need God the most. Those are the times I need to let Him take the wheel and trust that He knows the way.

Keep smiling. x

Roller coaster ride anyone?

I’m scared of roller coasters. They legitimately freak me out. I will sit down and either:
a) scream the whole way or b) say nothing and be completely still, because I am afraid that I am going to die. Despite this, somehow I still manage to enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes along with the screaming. This said, I only realise I enjoyed it after I have come to the conclusion that I survived the ride. The first roller coaster I ever went on was one in Movie World aimed for six year olds. I was thirteen at the time…

I don’t know why, but roller coasters are so scary. I have never been able to completely understand the concept of “having fun” while you are being thrown around at the speed of light. You can’t see anything, because everything is either a blur or you have your eyes shut. The only things you can hear are people screaming or being violently ill in the seats behind you. You line up in queues for what seems like days just to get on a ride that lasts a minute. I probably could have walked the entire theme park three times in the period of time it takes to wait your turn. This is why they have never made sense to me. 

Three years later, however, I am proud to say that I have been forcefully dragged, pulled and pushed on to plenty more roller coasters after a holiday to America where we spent a few days in Disney World. 

I have come to realise that life is very much like a roller coaster. One day you can be so happy, then without warning, in the blink of an eye everything changes. It’s as if we are given a compulsory ticket to get on this crazy upside-down, curvy roller coaster we call ‘life’. There is no escaping it. Once you sit down, you are strapped in for good and you have to wait til it is over. 

If there is one thing I have learnt about my roller coaster ride so far, it is that I couldn’t have done it alone. Roller coasters aren’t fun without your friends beside you; there would be no one to potentially make deaf through the constant yelling. You need to be surrounded by other people in life for both support and encouragement. They are the ones screaming next to you; they make you feel better and help you remember that they are always going to be there for you, through the ups and downs.

But you also need to lower the handle bars. They keep you safe and protect you. God protects me. He looks after me and He is my handle bar. I can hold on to Him when I need Him the most. And you know what the best part is? Even if I throw my hands up in the air and scream the loudest, it’s okay, because He will always hold on to me. I have learnt that there is no reason to be scared of life’s roller coasters, because God will never let me go.

Keep smiling. x