That’s a word we don’t want to address or think about. I want to pretend that I don’t have fear, I formerly thought it was a sign of weakness or that I was doing something wrong. For many years, my personal strategy was to turn my back on it and not pay it any attention. When I taught first grade, there was always the one child that wanted attention and would do anything to have more of it. The best way to quiet the attention seeker, was to not engage when they were the most disruptive. Instead, pay attention to that child when they were on task. That is harder than it sounds, but that is a teaching truth. The trick is remembering that at the moment. How does that relate to overcoming fear? There came a season (or few seasons) of life where it felt like there wasn’t just one attention getting student in the class, rather a classroom full of them. Fear was growing in size, and not paying attention to it, wasn’t working.
In some spaces, if you admit to having fear, a well-wisher may suggest that you do don’t have enough faith, that ends me. I do have faith but that doesn’t change the fact that there are different seasons of life where holding onto it is a lot like cupping your hands under running water and trying to capture the water without letting any spill through your fingers. You can always go back to the faucet for more water but the fact remains that you can never hold onto all of it.
The truth, fear is a part of life. There are times when you have the strength to ignore it and move on. There are other seasons in life when it feels like fear is all there is and it is a constant battle to overcome. What do you then? How do you navigate that time of life?
I have a friend, Jessica, who is one of my greatest inspirations. You will come to know her through this journey, but she told me once that she wanted to know the stuff in my head. She would love to hear how I think about things, she said there was value there. So here it is. How I overcome fear…daily, especially in this season of life.
I love the phrase, “You don’t want to be in my head after dark, it’s a scary place.” Having said that, if my sharing of my fear list triggers you, skip that part.
My list is like yours, I am sure. It reads like this: “Will they grow up to be great adults? Will everyone make it back to their bed tonight safe and healthy? Am I giving my family enough of me? Will we reach our goals? Will we always be striving? How can I fit all of this in? When do we slow down a minute to catch our breath, is that a thing? Can I build my dream and still be a good mother, even during the hard-working seasons? Why should I do this, someone else has already done it better. If I do this, and fail, will my children and family think I am not a woman of my word? I am not good enough to be doing this. I am a phony. It has been done before. Why would someone what my take? I will fail. I am not interesting enough. Will it pay off?
How do I conquer this fear?
I found WHEN fear tries to find me:
FEAR wants me in the morning. I am too physically and mentally tired for fear to play with me at night but morning, that is its playground with me. It took years to identify that. I suggest you start by asking yourself when FEAR prowls around you the most. That is when you need to be ready, the trick is, everyone is different. My time will be different than you, but we can all do something about it during the trigger time. I must quickly realize that I am waking up and THINK ABOUT WHAT I AM THINKING ABOUT. Please don’t believe for a minute that I am great at this day after day. I at good at this most days. The single activity that will chase fear is Gratitude. Joy comes from gratitude ( I tell myself that ). I begin listing in my brain what I am grateful for and I go basic. I’ll tell you my list, you will laugh at where it starts. This works for me.
- Batteries ~ That’s always my first. The fact that I can buy something important, yet in my mind frivolous, grounds my heart and brain. I am really really grateful that we have batteries.
- Light bulbs… that’s next. I am grateful that we can buy light bulbs & have them. It’s a reminder.
- Heads in beds ~ I am grateful to my loves that found their way back to their beds the night prior safe and healthy.
- The Inn~ We refer to our home as the Inn. If we have extra heads in beds, I am grateful for the space for them to join us and hopefully sleep in a way that they feel restored.
My list of gratitude goes from there, but that is my daily start. That gratitude list quiets fear.
“Be Inspired Do Not Compare”
Another way I battle fear is to take my FEARS and look at them. When a child is afraid of the monster under the bed, we turn on the lights and look for it. Same deal.
Someone else has already done it and done it better, who am I to do this? Well, that’s a lie. Someone else HAS likely done it, but not in the way that you will or that I will. This is where I hope you are still reading. “Be inspired do not compare”. Look at what they accomplished as evidence that there is room for you and be inspired that it can be done. That phrase is POWERFUL in adjusting fear.
Comparison is the thief of joy and is rooted in fear. Someone wants you to show up. You are here to show up for your life. Don’t shrink back. Show up. If someone else is doing what you want to be doing, be inspired.
Cancel The Obsession With What Other People Think
I have to get real here. I tell my kids that the other kids are not thinking about you. They are thinking about themselves, just like you are thinking about yourself. That lesson is so hard to get across. Those 6th grade years when you feel the pressure to be liked and fit in, and always concerned with, “what will THEY think” seems to be a common struggle among the adults. The mix between people pleasing, wanting to be liked, but remaining authentic is a delicate balance. FEAR of what others think is a thing. It’s a real thing that most of us want to sweep under the rug. There came this time when I realized that it was time to cancel my obsession with what other people think. You know you are a good person, you know you have character and integrity, you know that your end goal is to add value. You are good! What other’s think about you or what you are doing is none of your business.
SERVICE TO COUNTRY
I’ll take this in a direction you don’t expect. I will literally tell my self that I am not going into a physical battle. I am not headed to war to storm the beaches of Normandy. I am not putting my life on the line with my personal day in day out life. Those of you who are servicemen and women (or family members who are sacrificing for my freedom) I salute you, honor you, want you to know my gratitude, and because of you, I put fear in its place. This works for me and fear. When I really feel hesitant, this is an incredibly helpful mindset.
When in doubt. MOVE. The endorphins, community, blood flow are so good for distracting from the mental battle that FEAR can cause. This can give a needed break from the struggle. Exercise has that way of physically distracting us from our own thoughts, and if you are like most (me), that short break can give just enough of a brain vacation to gain a different perspective. I know most grownups are short on time and this is a luxury, but 5 minutes of “pretend” jumping rope can be done anywhere. 50 pushups and sit-ups can be done just about anywhere. Those basic gym class moves are physically challenging, don’t require much time, and can be just enough to activate the endorphins and provide a fresh outlook or perspective to what felt so heavy and challenging just minutes prior.
Originally posted 2019-10-20 16:57:41.