The Illusion of Safety and Avoidance of Fear

When I lived in South Africa, the one thing I was told over and over by the natives was “Don’t travel after dark.” I said “okay,” and I really did try my best to accommodate that recommendation. Errands, particularly those that required a vehicle, were done in the morning or afternoon.

One day an out-of-town visit for some of the fellow missionaries and myself took longer than expected, and we were late getting back. The road that led to the very rural town we were staying in meandered through sugarcane fields, and there were no street lights. For the most part, there was no electricity of ANY kind where we were staying. (Living without a fridge was a new experience!)

Night fell.  Soon the headlights of the car were the only lights to be seen for miles around. Sugarcane loomed on each side, growing right up to the edge of the narrow, two lane road.

Suddenly and almost out of nowhere, there appeared a very large tree trunk in the road.  It was lying perpendicular to oncoming traffic and completely blocked the lane we were driving in.  We swerved the car to avoid it, but in the OTHER lane there was a small wall of boulders stacked to block traffic.  It was close – the sidewall of the tires scraped the edge of the rocks on one side – but we managed to navigate through.
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When Fear Holds You Back – How to Overcome Fear

When I was a kid I loved, loved, loved scary movies.  I STILL like scary movies, I prefer them over almost every other kind.  But as a kid I REALLY loved them, way more than a little kid should.

My mom was careful and conservative about our TV watching, but I always managed to sneak in the scary stuff anyways.  Occasionally I spent the night with friends or cousins whose families were more liberal with the television.  Also I had an Uncle Mike… he always liked to watch scary stuff, too, so when he was around and the TV was on I would …linger.  And wait, and watch, and hopefully I would see something frightening.  Something that made my heart race and blood pound in my ears.  The scarier the better.  I craved the adrenaline rush, the tingly thrill that started at the back of my neck then skittered down my spine, across my skin, and then exploded at the end of every finger and toe.
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What Does the Voice in Your Head Tell You? Discipline Your Inner Voice

I have voices in my head.

I think that makes me weird, and honestly I’m okay with that.  The Voices keep life interesting.  Their presence also makes me somewhat unique, if in no other way than the voices themselves are unique.

For a long time I thought there was something wrong with me.  I never really mentioned the Voices for fear of judgment, worry that no one will believe me, and (the biggest issue) lack of trust that anyone could possibly understand.  I don’t talk about the Voices with friends or at parties.  I don’t tell anyone that “the Voices helped me figure this out.”  The fact I HAVE Voices is permanently added to the list of “things you do not mention on the first date.”

It’s an act of consideration, really… I try to be fair and not creep people out.  Most would have a hard time understanding that my “sitting quietly and thinking” time is less like a single chair in an empty room, and more like a family meeting.  With eight people attending.  And they all have strong opinions, they all “know what’s best,” most of them dislike one another, and most of the time they’re fighting about something stupid.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more comfortable talking about the voices.  I think partly that’s due to being more comfortable with myself, my reality, and the cards I’ve been dealt, but even more than that my comfort level can be attributed to realizing just how much The Voices are a part of who I am.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and the world while listening to their dialogue.  They also help me to analyze all sides of a problem, to see multiple perspectives.  I’ve solved COUNTLESS problems that seemed impossible to resolve by letting The Erins argue it out during my otherwise preoccupied hours.

Over the last couple years I’ve learned to distinguish and identify the voices.  I read somewhere that having voices in your head is fairly normal, and you’re not really crazy unless you NAME THEM.  I totally named them.  Label me as you see fit because of it, but having named them helps me a lot to understand from which part of myself the thoughts are coming from.  I’m able to identify WHO is talking, to decide how much weight to give what is said, and what thoughts to dismiss when I hear things that aren’t productive or uplifting.

And now I’d like to introduce you to them.

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