I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. — Nelson Mandela
I don’t deal well with life changes. I find them stressful on several levels. I have learned to deal with change by getting to the root of the problem—fear of the unknown. At the moment, I’m facing a couple of big changes in my life, and I’m actually dealing with it all very well. Surprise, surprise! Maybe my almost 61 years has taught me a few things after all. I allowed myself about 30 seconds of sheer panic, and then I asked myself why I was afraid. The obvious answer was that I don’t know what’s next.
Once I realized that my panic was simply because I don’t know what the future holds, I was able to talk myself down. Do I really want to know the future? A figurative crystal ball might seem like a good idea, but it sure would take the excitement out of life.
At this point in my life, I know that whatever I do will revolve around my love for the gospel of Jesus Christ and my love for my family. What can possibly be fretful about that?
We can be blessed to hush our fears as we firmly establish our desires and deeds upon the sure foundation of the Savior through our ordinances and covenants (Elder David A. Bednar, “Therefore They Hushed Their Fears, Apr. 2015 General Conference).
I’m dealing with my present life changes well because my fears have been hushed by my Savior. If I put Christ in the center of my life, all will be well—no matter what the future holds for me. I’ve made a conscious choice to embrace the Savior instead of my fear of the unknown.
Life is full of variables. While we have a good idea of what we are doing today, tomorrow, next week, and maybe even five years from now, at any given moment it all can change through some unexpected event. Embrace the change; not the fear.
Not all change is easy, and some of it involves adversity. Car accidents happen, illness strikes, jobs are lost, houses are foreclosed upon, and sometimes life is just plain hard. However, if Christ is the center of your life, your fears can be hushed. We know that everything will work out for our good.
I was not active in church for about 20 years, and coming back was a big life change. There was a lot of fear involved, because I didn’t want to fail. I didn’t want to hurt my family by committing to come back and then failing at the attempt. The fear lingered for much longer than it should have because I didn’t allow Christ to heal my heart. There was so much hurt, sorrow, and guilt that it was hard to focus on what was really important.
Many months went by, and I still was not allowing myself to partake of the sacrament. When I finally poured my heart out to my kind bishop, he told me that Heavenly Father had forgiven me long ago, and now I must forgive myself. It was only then that I finally allowed the atonement of Jesus Christ to work in my life, and I partook of the sacrament for the first time in many years. My fears were finally hushed, and I moved on and was able to be sealed to my family in the temple for time and all eternity.
Putting Christ as the focus of my life and receiving sealing ordinances in the temple have allowed me to put a lot of fears to rest. My perspective is much different now from what it was back then. I now look at this life on a different scale as I look forward to what is beyond this life. My fears about the future seem relatively insignificant in terms of eternity.
I still have moments of fear for what my future will bring, but I’m able to conquer those fears by concentrating on eternal principles. I know I can use the atonement of Christ to bear up my burdens—whatever they may be—in the coming days. I can rely on the Holy Ghost to comfort me in times of anxiety. I can pour out my heart to my Heavenly Father in prayer and know that all will be well.
Conquering fear is using the atonement of Jesus Christ to heal my heart and release the pain and anxiety. Stress and fear need not be permanent fixtures in my life. I have the power to remove them by the simple act of moving closer to God instead of running from Him.
As these changes in my life are beginning to happen, I’m actually excited now for what lies ahead. My fears have been hushed. I’m okay with my life—whatever it may bring. That’s a great gift. My heart is filled with gratitude for the peace that has been with me as I begin to move forward.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.