14 Shvat 5781 / Wednesday, January 27, 2021 | Torah Reading: Beshalah
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What Might Go Wrong?    

What Might Go Wrong?

Many people struggle, but their lives are actually very nice indeed, Baruch Hashem. Their fear of ‘what could go wrong’ tortures them every day...


Fallen Fears, Part 2

Hashem has been very kind to me. He’s helped me to unravel what’s been going on in my neshama over a period of time, so that I haven’t had to cope with too much at once. As I wrote last week, I’ve always had a serious problem with fear, and it’s affected and permeated every aspect of my life.
I tried neuro-linguistic programming; expensive holidays; good books; incredibly expensive psychotherapists – and the only thing that has ever really helped me in a lasting way to cope with my fear is emuna and prayer.
When the fear would hit me, I’d run off and talk to Hashem, and nine times out of ten, I’d feel instantly better. The tenth time – when I wasn’t feeling noticeably better after a session of hitbodedut – I realised that usually, it was because I’d hit a ‘mother-lode’ of stress and anxiety, that was going to need a bit more intense hitbodedut to shift. But sooner or later, as I worked on building up my emuna and putting more and more of what was bothering me on Hashem, it disappeared.
So it’s been for the last four years, until the beginning of 2010. At the beginning of 2010, my oldest daughter caught swine flu (which I’ll write about elsewhere) - which sparked off the most fearful time of my whole life.
You see, G-d has been so kind to me, I’ve hardly ever had something ‘real’ to worry about. Nearly all my fears have been imaginary ‘what ifs’ that never happened – or if they did happen, I very quickly saw why it was all for the best. I think it’s a modern disease – I know a whole bunch of people who struggle with exactly the same problem. Their lives are actually very nice indeed, Baruch Hashem – but their fear of ‘what could go wrong’ tortures them every day.
With Hashem’s help, I’ve stopped being fearful about livelihood; about moving house, about being secretly ill with some terrible disease (that one used to get me ALL THE TIME) – about a whole bunch of things.
The one thing left was my kids. Not being able to have more kids has made me appreciate my two daughters so very much, I simply can’t bear the thought of anything happening to them, G-d forbid. It’s my Achilles heel in my emuna – and it’s where I’ve been having the fight of my life over the last few months.
Because for once, there was actually the nub of something ‘real’ to fear. I had a daughter who was unwell for months, miserable, full of aches and pains – some real and some imaginary – and I simply couldn’t cope.
I’d hit the bedrock of my fear, and I had to look it straight in the face and ask myself some incredibly difficult questions. Do I really believe that everything comes from Hashem, and that everything is for the good? Do I really trust Hashem, that He won’t break me, and my faith in Him, by bending me too far? Do I really believe that Hashem can do anything, and that this whole world is an illusion, projected by G-d, to help us to fix our souls and get to know Him?
I don’t know if there is something in the air at the moment, because I know of at least three other people who were having the same paralysing attacks of fear, albeit for different reasons. But all my usual ways of coping with it simply weren’t working. I prayed for hours and hours and hours – and I knew the fear was still there.
Thank G-d, my oldest daughter started to feel much, much better a couple of weeks ago – but my fear was still there. If anyone in my family so much as coughed or had bags under their eyes, the fear roared back at 300 miles per hour.
I prayed and prayed and prayed that Hashem would make my family healthy, and heal whatever was ailing them – and the fear was still there. Until yesterday. Yesterday, I was doing my hitbodedut, and I was trying to fight the fear by going on about making my kids healthy again – when it suddenly hit me that my kids weren’t the problem. My kids were OK, thank G-d – which is why all my prayers to ‘make them healthy’ weren’t getting rid of the fear. I was the one who was sick. Soul sick. Worrying about things that weren’t even there, worrying about all the things that had never, ever happened, because G-d had always come through for me, even at the darkest times, and turned the situation around for the best.
I was the one who was sick! So I started to ask Hashem to heal my soul from its soul-sickness – and for the first time in ages, I could feel that the prayer was working. My fear is still lurking around – it’s such a deep-seated thing that I know it’s going to take me some time to fully eradicate it, with Hashem’s help. But now, every time it starts to grab me by the throat, I know what I need to be asking for: that Hashem should heal my soul, and the faster the better.

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  6 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  In the same boat
Tuviah Sussman6/20/2016 4:38:33 PM
  Thank you for your advice
Tuviah8/21/2015 12:10:22 AM
  Rifka's article on fear
Tuviah6/24/2014 10:01:36 PM
  The Only Cure for My Fears Would Be Hearing Hashem Speak to Me.
Tuviah5/21/2014 11:52:44 PM
  Thank you too!
Leah2/16/2011 5:56:22 PM
  Thank you!
Anonymous,10/22/2010 5:11:43 AM

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