When is the last time you conquered a major fear? How did you feel? Were you on top of the world? Did you stand in one place for an hour waiting for your knees to stop shaking? Did you think, “Why in the world was I so afraid of that all these years?” (Details! I need details! [Comment below!])
The last time I did something that truly freaked me out was when I held the snake last year. As the pet-shop worker handed the scaly ball of snakey-ness to me, I felt my eyes well up with tears. The horror! (I have had nightmares about these critters since I was a little girl and here I am about to hold one!)
But, in fact, I got through it and came out alive. It felt good to take one more step towards getting over my phobia. In fact, I recently dreamed Eric put a snake under the covers of our bed while I was in it, and though I did not like my cuddle companion, I did not freak out and throw him across the room – so maybe the snake handling venture was a success!
Last week, we were contacted by a woman in New York who wanted to interview me for a podcast. When Eric read the e-mail to me, I think he expected me to be excited (or at least somewhat interested). But, what did I do?
I sobbed hot, freaked-out tears. Before I sobbed, I sat there with my face in my hands not knowing what to say. (I know he wants me to do this. But, I don’t want to do this. You need to get comfortable with such events. You may have to do more of them someday. What if I don’t want to do more of them? It is okay to say no sometimes.)
This response was difficult for Eric to understand. “It is just talking to someone. What is so scary about that?” It was not his most empathetic moment. ~smile~ What is so scary about that? That is a good question. (“What if I lose my train of thought and look like an idiot? What if I am boring and uninteresting in comparison to the other ladies she interviews? What if I have to be vulnerable about a very personal part of my heart? What if I cry and cannot control it?!”)
Oh, to have Eric’s “It Is No Big Deal” personality! What I would give! When life runs at him like a vicious dog, he runs towards it – daring it to bite him. He is ready for the next big project or event. He enjoys communicating verbally. He emerges from coaching sessions tired but fulfilled, especially after helping couples make breakthroughs in their relationships. I do thank God for his personality, although it occasionally inconveniences me! (Love you, Honey!)
After a week of putting it off, I finally went online and signed up for a podcast time slot. I thought, “Heather, if it scares you, you should probably conquer it.” Then I went on her website and got a closer look at the content of her podcasts. Wow. Most of them are personal – quite personal. (“Why did I not research this more before I agreed to the interview?!”)
I panicked. Again, with the hot tears! (“Should I cancel? I cannot talk about these topics to a bunch of strangers. I do not know what to do!”)
At the moment, I am in the midst of so many emotions. I know I am not seeing the situation clearly because I am sitting in the middle of an emotional haze. Tomorrow, I will likely feel much better about it. Sometimes all you need is time to make you a little bit braver.
Is Fear Your Constant Companion?
Fear is so powerful. Until last year, I did not realize what a major companion it was in my life. All those times I said No to new adventures when deep down I really wanted to say Yes: fear. Those occasions when I knew the Holy Spirit was leading me to share the gospel with someone but I froze: fear. The opportunities I had to reach out and create new friendships but I stayed quietly in the background: fear.
Fear has stuck closer to me than any friend, any relative, or any blood sucking insect. Fear has had its claws in me far too long. As I sit here tired and overwhelmed, still pondering (i.e., panicking) about my decision to be interviewed on this podcast, I am not coming from a place of strength. I do not feel like an overcomer right now. Right now I just want to say, “It is too hard. I will continue to be afraid. That is so much easier than putting my mind and body through this torture.” I want to reach out and confidently proclaim, “No! I will not let fear get the better of me! I will boldly vanquish my oppressors!”
I want to.
Rome Was Not Built in a Day
It is a trite and true phrase. Overcoming fears, which are rooted in our beliefs, does not happen overnight. I have years of negative self-talk, faulty beliefs, and “bad” (at least in my own head) experiences to overcome. Why then do I expect myself to effortlessly release them all right now – in the blink of an eye? Why am I angry with myself for their presence in my life?
Instead of asking the question, “Heather, why are you still dealing with this?” I should be asking, “Heather, what steps are you taking to move past this stumbling block for good?”
What fears grip you and leave you paralyzed? How long have they plagued you? Have you spent your life ignoring them and hoping they will go away? Are you ready to take that first step towards a confident, freedom-filled life?
I am. I am ready. I can taste it. I am weary with the struggle.
Rome was not built in a day, but it was built. It was built because the work continued until the process was complete.
Give Your Loved One a Helping Hand and Sturdy Shoulder
Even though it is difficult to remember as I sit in this whirlwind of emotions, I have overcome many fears this past year. Much of my success in this arena is due to my husband. He can see the fear in me and he knows I will never live up to my potential as long as I let it rule me. Not only that, but if fear is ruling me, God is not. I cannot bow down to fear and still bow down in full surrender to God. It is not possible.
Whether you are the one battling fear, or your boyfriend or girlfriend, your relationship can be a vehicle for change. Having Eric in my life has required me to face some inconvenient truths about myself – and as unpleasant as it has been at times, I know I need him to nudge me forward occasionally. If your sweetheart has giants facing him or her and he or she is standing frozen in fear, be a source of encouragement. Be willing to walk through the valleys. Put your energy into helping him or her step over the “snakes” and reach the top of the mountain. You can be instrumental in cultivating a life-changing breakthrough for the man or woman in your life.
If you are struggling and your boyfriend or girlfriend cannot be bothered with your needs, consider that a red flag. Marriage only increases a couple’s dependence on each other. If he or she refuses to be there for you now, do not expect a switch to flip on after marriage.
So, I am calming down a bit. ~smile~ I am still feeling somewhat uneasy, but the vice has loosened and I do not want to scream anymore! (Success!) Time can be a powerful ally. If you are overwhelmed and cannot think clearly, give yourself some time to process before making decisions. (Apparently, writing can be therapeutic as well!)
What fear do you need to overcome? What fear have you helped your significant other overcome? [Comment below!]