Fear is a word that fits quite naturally in company with the word, cancer. Before I could wring my hands in fear or be scheduled for surgery, I happen to come across this piece that addresses fear head on. I would like to share portions of it with you, layering it between my own words. Perhaps it will serve as a reminder, through the lens of my own experience, that fear can immobilize. (Citation is listed at the bottom.)
“A new president was about to take office. After Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in, he gave his inaugural address. One of the things he said as he tried to bolster the morale of his disheartened countrymen has become immortal. He said, ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself!’
“What a profound statement! Roosevelt knew what fear can do. Fear paralyzes us. It causes ambition and courage to leak out and leaves us without resources to face even the simplest situations. Fear is defined as ‘an emotion aroused by threatening evil or impending pain, accompanied by a desire to avoid or escape it; apprehension or dread.'”
I have something that looms large on the horizon. As I mentioned in a previous blog, it’s cancer. Should I fear it? I can’t say that it was ever on my bucket list, but then . . . neither was suicide. Surviving the loss of my firstborn to suicide shattered my heart and hobbled my soul, but I refuse to allow it to kill my spirit. I pray that cancer will not do me in either. I face both journeys in Christ.
For God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a good mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 NLV
“Fear is part of our Creator’s loving provision for us. Properly controlled, fear protects us from harm and motivates us toward positive action. If you were to see a bear in the woods, you wouldn’t go up and pet it—you’d flee as fast as you could. Your sensible fear protects you. Uncontrolled fear, however, can lock us into an emotional prison and stunt our personal and spiritual growth. Unrestrained fear darkens our lives; it colors everything we do. It is a great obstacle to our spiritual growth.”
Now I face surgery to remove the cancerous tumor. A portion of my feminine curves will be removed. That fact is certain. How this will impact me emotionally is uncertain. I assume that I will deal with it as I go along. But first, the scalpel in the hands of an experienced surgeon, who entrusts her work to the hands of my divine Physician, will remove the “enemy.” Then the long healing process can begin.
In this day and age one can look at anything on the internet, including breasts. In fact, did you know that you can look at hundreds of before-surgery and after-reconstruction pictures of breasts, and it’s not considered in poor taste? I am learning that the World Wide Web is yet another way to gain knowledge about my cancer surgery. I am both amazed and grateful to other women, diagnosed with breast cancer, who are willing to reveal their private selves to inform patients like me. I suppose I am also attempting to desensitize myself to my new reality. Actually the after pictures look quite normal. Perhaps I have nothing to fear, and in part, I have these brave women to thank for it.
“Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the most common type of noninvasive breast cancer, with about 60,000 new cases in the United States each year. About one in every five new breast cancer cases is ductal carcinoma in situ.” (Cancer Treatment Centers of America)
“If God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear and we know that He loves us perfectly, why are we still afraid? How can we be freed from the paralysis this kind of fear generates? We must learn to fight fear with fear—another kind of fear that is the antidote for our uncontrolled fears. It’s called the fear of the Lord.
“When we have the fear of the Lord, it means we look upon God with awe or reverence, an attitude accompanied by obedience, knowing, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10a NIV).”
I appreciate all the prayers from my readers as I embark on this new adventure into the unknown. Perhaps I will give an update in the future (at the one-year mark if not before), as the shock of surgery wears off, comfort returns, and I begin adjusting to yet another “new normal.”
Quotes from Lesson 5, “Nothing to Fear But Fear” in the series entitled “Facing Your Feelings” (“Bible dot org”)
Scripture quoted from New Life Version (NLV); New International Version (NIV)