I live outside a small town of 7,000 in the Blue Ridge mountains of SW Virginia. The town goes asleep at 9:30, so when it is dark; it is dark. The road I live on is an old cow path, honest. This means it hugs the contour of the terrain; meaning there are fifteen curves in the two mile stretch from the main road. I am painting a picture so you understand what inspired this post.
At night it is dark, the only light is from my headlights. Headlights illuminate about 35 feet in front of you. This means, as I navigate the cow path at night, I am doing so 35 feet at a time. What lies beyond my headlights is an unknown until it is known (Donald Rumsfeld). See. LIFE is like driving in the dark.
None of us knows 100% of what lies ahead. We all live 35 feet at any given time. Decisions made get based on what we see in front of us. Familiar environments, like an old cow path, are predictable but not certain. That is because life is a series of random events that typically go together so they seem predictable but sometimes an event doesn’t fit. Lightening is a predictable event but a strike is not.
The road behind us is already navigated. Few people get out of their car to go back and dissect ever twist and turn. However, a majority of my patients do exactly that; spend so much time dissecting the past that they never get anywhere. No, for better or worse, we live 35 feet at a time. I think it is important that we collective realize and except this because I believe it makes u better drivers
We are driven by faith. I write a lot about faith because I believe it is the number one tool in the shed. Sadly, I noticed many do not consider it. That would be ironic if it weren’t sad. Those familiar with a tool but are too lazy or don’t care enough to consider it’s usefulness are like those that use a butter knife instead of getting a screwdriver.
The fact: FAITH drives us, otherwise, we stay in our 35 feet.
People gripped by anxiety are afraid of the dark. I say gripped. We are all weary of the unknown and carrry our fair share of anxiety. A certain amount of anxiety is healthy but it should only make you a better driver, NOT stop the journey. Agoraphobics are extreme cases of those gripped by anxiety.
Agoraphobia (ag-uh-ruh-FOE-be-uh) is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed. You fear an anticipated situation.
What drives you forward? I hope you said faith. There is a creek that runs besides that curvy road I take home every night. When it rains, the creek swells over the road. My desire to get home, to reach my destination, is driven by faith that I will make it safely and that overcomes any fear.
I trust you get the point. ANXIETY is fear of the unknown. It is caused by fooling ourselves that we know th unknowable. People gripped with anxiety, fear what lies beyond the 35 feet. So much so that they never make it to their destination, never realize what they could be. They want assurance of their safety before they venture outside their 35 feet of comfort. They rely on trust more than faith and never leave that 35 foot leash.
FAITH trumps anxiety.
How do you get faith? Start by BELIEVING in yourself more than fear. Fear is a feeling of the unknown. Belief is a feeling of the unknown. Both are unknowns that lie beyond the 35 feet. The difference is in the story. One story is full of pessimism, dread and regret and the other of optimism, comfort, and contentment. Guess what? YOU are the author of both stories. Soooo … What story are you telling yourself?
– Reluctant Therapist