When I was a very little girl, I was sure my house was going to burn down. I was SURE of it. I used to lie awake at night and think about it, run scenarios through my head -50% of which ended in the fatality of either me or one of my parents. My mother did her best to calm my fears. She taught a FHE about fire safety, she drew a fire-safety plan for our house. It hung on the inside of the breakfast cereal cupboard for years, and I studied it -memorized it.
I can still picture it in my mind's eye.
I slept with my shoes beside my bed every night because the one thing that scared me almost as much as a fire tearing through my home and flesh? getting stickers in my feet as I fled to safety outside.
"You worry too much," my mom said to me. It's funny: she was always saying that. She wasn't the only one. My aunts would say it to me, my brothers, my Dad, my grandma...
One Sunday evening, I was visiting my grandma. My beautiful aunt lived with her, and I loved to spend time with her. She always looked so pretty and smelled so wonderful. And she always had something for me -a piece of candy, a small toy, hand-me-down clothes...
"They're worry dolls," she said, placing two inside my palm, "You whisper your worries to them before you go to sleep at night, then you place them under your pillow, when you wake up... your worries are gone."
I was fascinated.
She gave some to my siblings and cousins and well, and she joked with us that the dolls were so hideous that they probably just scared worries away.
The brothers laughed at that... but I didn't. I took it as gospel. I'd do ANYTHING to stop worrying.
So, every night -FAITHFULLY -I'd whisper my fears and worries to my hideous dolls and I'd place them under my pillow.
I began developing another fear: the fear of losing the dolls. What would happen then?
Oh, the horror.
As I work on my Step 4 inventory, I see just how much fear has dominated my life -how debilitating it has been.
I think back to Step 2 -The Worry Doll Replacing Step. I don't need a tiny, ugly doll to scare my worries away. I only need my Savior to take them.
"I'm afraid if I tell my husband how I feel, he will react ________________."
"I'm afraid my first counselor thinks I'm inadequate in my calling."
"I'm afraid of rising food costs. What if I can't feed my children properly?"
"I'm afraid my Mom will never be pain-free."
And as I turn my fears over to Him, I whisper "Even if this happens, I will be all right because the Lord will always stand by me and sustain me."
Then I listen for his affirming love -his tangible embrace.
Sometimes it comes. Sometimes it doesn't need to. Sometimes the baby cries and I don't have time to focus on fear before falling asleep.
I don't want fear to rule my life anymore.
I don't want to ignore my gut and act to appease others.
I don't want to miss out on opportunities because I'm afraid to fail.
What do I want to do? Burn a few worry dolls.
Now if I could only find them...