Be Not Afraid

31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 18 Clear Eyes, Full Heart

(Thank you to my wonderful husband, Mike, for the following guest post:)

For the first time in a while, maybe ever, I don’t know the next step.

Until I was twenty-five, I was a continuous student, with always another school year to tackle.  My first two jobs I lined up over a year in advance.  A year ago, we were moving across country and expecting a baby.  Eight months ago, we found out Ali had cancer.  Last week, we found out that the cancer is gone.  Now, we have no immediate decision to make, and no obvious path.  I’m not really sure what to do.

Over the past few days I struggled a lot with this feeling, but yesterday I came to terms with it.  And here’s why:  I realized that the most important and wonderful turning point in my life was completely unexpected and unplanned.

Many of you know that Allison and I met on the first day of class during our freshman year at Notre Dame.  The nine years since then have been unquestionably better than the eighteen before.  Looking back, then, on the single most important change in my life, what can I learn from my own experience?

When I met Ali, I was open and unafraid.  I was at a new place, with all new people.  Yet, for some reason I felt no hesitation in introducing myself to the beautiful girl sitting next to me in class.  And once we started dating, plenty of my friends suggested that I should avoid tying myself down (I was at a school with four thousand college-aged women, after all).  But, it didn’t bother me that I was taking a chance on this one relationship that felt right.  Had I approached the situation rationally, or with some sort of plan in place, things could have worked out completely different — and I am certain not nearly as well.

So, it seems that my lack of anxiety about the future, is precisely what created my future.  A second before I walked into O’Shaughnessy Hall in August 2002, I had no clue what was about to happen.  Now, I get to spend every day with the incredible woman who writes this blog because I wasn’t afraid to ask her out — even when I was a dorky, awkward eighteen year-old, six hundred miles from home — and because I wasn’t scared to throw myself 100% into a relationship, even though I was warned otherwise.

Drawing of Allison and me for our wedding program by the amazing Molly McAuley:
Wedding Program Drawing

Why then, should I ever spend time worrying about what will happen next?  Instead,  I should only be concerned with how I’ll handle whatever happens next.

I know it’s hokey, and sports analogies aren’t exactly this blog’s stock in trade, but I want to share the mantra of my favorite fictional football coach, Eric Taylor, of the TV show Friday Night Lights, because I think it hits this point on the head.  Before leaving the locker room, Coach Taylor always has his players repeat the mantra, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”  When I think about this mindset beyond the immediate gridiron implications, I am reminded to actually see what life is giving me, without the cloud of fear or anxiety.  I am reminded to live life with passion, and to not worry about whether each step is the “right” one.  I am reminded rather to trust that with clear eyes and a full heart, I will learn from each step, and end up fulfilled, even if the destination is a different place than what I ever imagined.

My prayer for you today is that you embrace the unknown next step.  Don’t waste time worrying about what’s going to happen next, just be ready to face it when it comes — whatever it is — with clear eyes and a full heart.

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17 comments

  1. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 19 Strength, Wisdom, Courage, and Clarity | Be Not Afraid

  2. Mike, I love this post! As a fellow ‘planner’, I really appreciate the reminder that the best things in my life have ALWAYS been the ones I could never have planned or imagined.

    I will continue to pray for you and Alli in your next steps, surprises and all. 🙂

  3. This morning (the morning following Mike’s post) I read this beautiful passage from Lamentations (3:28-30 MSG). As soon as I read it, I thought of the beautiful words that Mike shared yesterday. Truly, we are never alone. What a blessing you two are to each other.
    “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst.

  4. Marjorie, thank you for sharing such beautiful words of the Bible. It is so good to be reminded of God’s words. I often especially need the reminder of entering the silence. And yes, Mike and I are so very blessed to have one another!! I pray in thanksgiving for him so often!

  5. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 20-22 Facing the End of Things | Be Not Afraid

  6. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 23 Showing Delight in Others | Be Not Afraid

  7. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 24 Embracing the Dawn | Be Not Afraid

  8. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 25 Saying No and Letting Go of the Guilt | Be Not Afraid

  9. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 26 Find Love, then Give it All Away | Be Not Afraid

  10. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 27 Doing what I Have to Do | Be Not Afraid

  11. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 28 Snow in October | Be Not Afraid

  12. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 29 People Should Know | Be Not Afraid

  13. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 30 Finding Myself Surrounded in Beauty | Be Not Afraid

  14. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 31 Keeping Faith and Hope Alive | Be Not Afraid

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