Fearing the Unexpected

Welcome  It’s the reason we buy insurance for our cars, homes, health, even our lives.  It’s the fear of what could happen.  It’s what makes many of us toss and turn each night.  It’s the fear of the unexpected.  Call it worry, call it anxiety, call it paranoia.  Whatever you want to call it, you also have to call it real.  Here’s what I learned recently about my own fear of the unexpected.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission when you click on one of my Amazon product links and make a qualifying purchase.  There is no additional cost to you and it helps keep this site free from those pesky pop-up ads!  Thank you.

Food For Thought  I love to read and most of the books I choose to read are directed to a specific area I’m struggling with, so it makes sense that I recently read Max Lucado’s Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World.  This book easily makes my top ten favorite books EVER!  It’s probably even in the top five.  Yes, it IS that good!  It’s a great book to read, but it doesn’t stop there.  It has plenty of scripture references so it easily turns into a Bible study for individuals or groups.  There are also reflection questions at the end of the book.  I call it “therapy in a book.”

If you have not read this book yet, I definitely recommend it.  It’s available from Amazon through this link.

I added the reflection questions to my Bible study notebook, using it in conjunction with my daily Bible study time.  I finally confronted the chaos of the unexpected in chapter five and here’s what I learned:

I am terrible with the unexpected!  I have always tried so hard to plan ahead and be prepared.  I always thought this was the answer to make life go smoothly, leading to peace and happiness.  It has rarely worked out in my favor, though.  Even with all that planning, I still get it wrong.  A lot.  I still have to face hard circumstances and trying times (just like everyone else.)  Then, when the unexpected that I did not plan for comes along, I fall apart, showing my most ugly character traits.  I rehash the scenarios and ask all the why’s and how’s.  I don’t understand why or how this could happen with all of my planning and preparations.  I blame myself when bad things happen.  I label myself a failure.  I wrap myself in a blanket of shame, as though every terrible event that occurs has an invisible thread leading straight back to my very own hands.

Being a classic “Type A Personality,” I can have some pretty over-the-top reactions when facing the unexpected.  And it’s not just these potentially harmful gut reactions that cause problems.  I also spend way too much time in worry.  And not just worry, but actual fear.  I toss and turn every night, wondering if our house is okay or if anyone sinister is roaming the streets of our neighborhood.  I panic when my husband mentions a new pain, ache, or illness, fearful that our time together is going to be cut short.  I speculate about my own lumps, bumps, and weird body behaviors, contemplating the worst case scenario.  The strange sounds that come from my car or household appliances force me to hold my breath to confirm I actually heard something out of the ordinary.  I recheck insurance policies hoping to be fully aware and prepared for the long list of possibilities of what may go wrong.

Other “scary” things for me have included going to church, taking my daughter to a birthday party, attempting to sleep if my husband’s not here, attending a sporting event or concert at an unfamiliar venue, calling repair companies, and applying for jobs.  Not knowing what to expect from new or different situations can be scary.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m “crippled by fear” or trying to make light of those who have anxiety to the point of reducing their quality of life.  But I do get physically ill sometimes.  Or I get hives.  And I lose sleep.  Several times in my life I’ve gone through months of insomnia over fearing the unknown and unexpected.

I cannot control all situations and the unexpected will happen.  In the face of this inevitable fact, here’s what I need to do: Harness my gut reaction–I need to weigh my words and actions carefully.  I also need to process through the facts.  Unless it’s death or a true disaster, I need to sort reality from my perception.  Is this really the “worst that could happen”?  Finally, I need to let God have control of the situation.  I know, that’s not as easy as it sounds.  But if I do, I can release so much stress and anxiety while receiving peace and rest in return.

Today’s Scripture

 

Today’s Recipe  Do you love chocolate hazelnut spread, a.k.a. Nutella?  I do, SO MUCH!  Awhile back I saw a recipe from Celebrating Sweets for Nutella-Filled Cinnamon and Sugar Donut Holes.  They look and sound amazing, for sure.  I love the idea of a chocolate and hazelnut as filling.  I love the idea of combining that flavor with cinnamon.  I love the idea of using a mini-muffin pan for these treats.  I took the best features of this recipe and simplified it to make a recipe that works for our household.

My recipe layers the chocolate-hazelnut spread in the muffin batter, so no piping bag and tip required.  I also skipped the final step for rolling them in butter, cinnamon, and sugar.  My batter is more muffin-like than “donut hole.”  My recipe makes 15 mini-muffins and they were completely gone in less than 24 hours!  In our defense, though, we did share some with extended family.  Besides being crazy delicious and insanely easy, they work any time of day.  Breakfast, lunch, snack…whenever!  My family has already put in a request for make these again…SOON!

Nutella filled cinnamon muffins
Bite-size cinnamon muffins with a sweet surprise inside!

 

Nutella-Filled Cinnamon Mini-Muffins (makes 15 mini-muffins)

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Splenda (sucralose) or white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (I used Nutella and there will be some leftover)

 

Heat oven to 400 degrees and spray a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Tip: This recipe will only use 15 of the muffin cups in the pan.  Add a tablespoon of water to the remaining cups before placing in the oven to promote even baking.

In large bowl, whisk together the oil and two sugars.  Add the egg, cinnamon, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well.

Add 1/2 cup flour and the milk, folding with rubber spatula.  Gently fold in another half cup of flour.  If batter is still too loose, add another 1/4 cup of flour.

In prepared muffin pan, place 1/2 TABLESPOON of muffin batter in the bottom of 15 cups.  Add 1/2 TEASPOON of Nutella to each cup.

Top each of these cups with another 1/2 TABLESPOON of the muffin batter.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on cooling rack for 15 minutes and then remove muffins from cups.


 

`