My daughter’s first backpacking trip was when she was four years old. She and her dad hiked in one mile. She carried couple of stuffed animals in her backpack, while her dad carried the rest of the gear. It was love at first sight for her. Every summer since then the two of them have gone backpacking together. When she was nine years old, she wanted to go out for three nights and four days and cover more miles than she had ever done before.
The night before their trip reality set in and I began thinking about my nine year old out in the wilderness beyond the safety of cell phone reception. What if something happened to her? Even worse, what if something happened to her dad and she was left all alone?
As my husband and I talked that night I told him had knots in my stomach about their trip. He simply asked, “Do you think it’s your intuition or nerves?” That was a great question. Was it some sort of warning or premonition, or was it my anxiety about the unknown? Was this the Spirit warning me?
“Faith is reaching for things you feel are good and right even though it might scare you.”Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife
Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife teaches a class called The Art of Desire. In that class she talks about developing the a solid sense of self. A strong sense of self or a solid sense of self is primarily the deepening ability to self reference in evaluating what is good and what is right. A solid self is someone who is able to manage their life through internally referencing their values, views, opinions, and beliefs rather than managing their life by outward referencing what they think they should do and like and how they should act and what they should choose.
“Learn to do what you believe is the most right thing irrespective of how it reflects upon you. How you are seen should not be the primary driver in your decisions…Stand up and do what is good even when it is inconvenient or even if it is disappoints someone or does not make you look good in others eyes…When you align yourself with what you truly feel is fair and good and decent you are stronger for it. We are strengthened because we are being true to our best selves, your own sense of right and wrong. Faith is reaching for things you feel are good and right even though it might scare us. It’s about doing what we think is right and willing to act in the world without reassurance at every turn. We need to figure out what we believe is most right and have the moral courage to stand by our choice and not hold others responsible for them.”Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, The Art of Desire
It was late September, and we were headed to rustic cabin tucked away in the Ashley National Forest. As we pulled off the main highway and onto the Forest Service road it was started to lightly snow. We were in our mini van with our three young kids and with each mile that took us deeper into the forest and further away from the main road, I grew more and more uneasy. By the time we arrived at the cabin, I could not even feel the cool crisp autumn air or see the rich colors that glowed in the aspen leaves from the evening light.
As we started to unload the car my stomach grew more and more tight. What if it snowed a lot during the night? We had no cell reception and had not seen another person since we left the main road 20 miles ago. Everyone seemed to be excited to be there, except for me. Was I overreacting? It was getting late and if we decided to leave the cabin we would have to choose to either spend our limited finical resources on a hotel or drive the four hours back home. Both options were unfavorable. Was this anxiety or was this a divine warning? Anxiety or Intuition? Premonitions or Fears?
I’ve been wanting to get a Master’s degree for a long time. Initially I wanted to get a Masters in Religious Studies, but the Masters programs I found were all out of state, and the one online Master’s Program that fit what I was looking for was out our finical ability (especially since I don’t have a career option at the end of my degree). Accepting this reality was disappointing but I also knew that it was the most right decision for me and my family at the time.
Recently I discovered a Masters of Philosophy program that is offered at a local University which is in alignment with the things I want to study and that works with my and my families current situation.
Applications are due in four months, and all I have left to do is take the GRE and wait for the third letter of recommendation to get turned. But as the deadline gets closer, I find that I am starting to wonder if I am making a good choice. I am concerned about the demand on my time that going back to school will make on my life and the life of my family. I enjoy being home when my kids are here and spending time with them. I enjoy our relaxed evening when we sit in the backyard eating ice cream. Reading to and with my kids at night is a huge priority that I hold sacred. It’s my one-on-one time with each of my kids where I sit with them for 15-20 minutes in the room and read or talk. What will happen to that time when I have the demands of homework hanging over my head. I am nervous about my daughter starting jr high next year and the challenges she is likely to face, and I want to be emotionally present in her life. But I wonder if I am hiding behind motherhood because of nerves about the unknown. I can’t decide if I am getting stage fright. What concerns are legitimate and what concerns are distractions?
Why is it so hard to tell the difference between reasoning that is formed by anxiety and fear and reasoning that is arrived at by good judgment and divine inspiration?
September 26, 2019
Time writing this piece: 1 hour
Total time writing on this blog: 24 hours and 30 minutes