Putting the brakes on fear.


Spring break went by in the blink of an eye. This year my family had a one week stay-cation. The days were jammed packed with a visit from Nana and Pap, DIY projects, baseball practices, jumping on the trampoline, bike rides and some brown cows (FYI – it’s ROOT beer and vanilla ice cream). “Yummy!”

Bike riding with my family is always a challenging task because my son is afraid to ride a bike. I remember the day I first decided to take off the training wheels for my twins. I gave my daughter a push and she just kept going. She is the ultimate daredevil. 

 My son, on the other hand, pedaled and screamed hysterically as I let him go the first time. Don’t worry…  I only let go for a second!
We have been practicing since he was four, although he still looks like a baby deer taking its first steps. I try to be patient with him, but there are times my frustration builds because he does not seem to try. Argh!!!  

“Seriously put your butt on the seat and pedal the bike. It shouldn’t be that hard, right?” 

Okay. I could feel it in the air. I knew this week was going to be the week. I could see it happening – he was going to hop on the bike and zoom off down the street. I just knew it.

 As I held the back of him so he would feel safe he was yelling “Please get me off, Just get me off, I am going to die.” “You are trying to kill me.” “Not!” I took Ben off the bike and we sat in the grass and I showed him how flat the road was and how far away the trees were. But to no avail.  

He tried once more but was done, my expectations were shattered.

As I worked with Ben this week I kept thinking about his FEAR. I realized how FEAR can either prevent us from doing things or can challenge us to do better.  

We all are afraid of something. Were my other kids FEARS holding them back from things as well?

On our morning drive to school, I decided to ask my kids what their fears were. Not surprised at all, Ben was afraid of bikes. Natalee was afraid of heights and Sophia had a fear of taking tests at school. (I hate timed tests too, YUCK!)  

But, what was my biggest FEAR? (Hairy Spiders, Heights, Being a Good Mom)

Even better… one of my biggest fears is rejection.  

As a little girl I loved to talk and speak in front of people. As I became as college student I grew to hate it. Each public engagement or job interview I attended felt like riding a bike for the first time. My palms would sweat, my words felt like they were jibberish. The moments blinked before my eyes and I felt like a Mac truck ran me over me by the end. I always assumed the worst.

If there was a show for worst first dates I would have been on it. I always spent time worrying about how I looked. I didn’t ever truly meet the person and take the time to find out about them. I was to busy wondering, “What were they thinking?” Most of the time I rejected them first because I knew the time would come… EVENTUALLY!

I just wanted to fit the mold. If I bought the newest trends then I would be like the girl next door. But, I really just wanted to be me. (College Course : Finding You 101- should be mandatory)  

I have already begun to tackle my fears as I have found some self-confidence. But there are still things I hold back from doing. So now I have to ask myself two questions,

“What do I really want?”

“What is the worst thing that can happen?”

I just took the chance of putting my life on paper for everyone to judge. As I have written personal stories and shared photos, some people have questioned why? Others have enjoyed the posts, even though I have had many flops. By completing this a huge weight was lifted. 

 Some of the rejections in my life have been disapointing.  Let’s face it God never gave me the body of an Olympic Gold medalist! 

With each rejection it has only made me try again. Every single time I was rejected from a job, a piece of writing, or a relationship, I believe it was God’s way of telling me that path was not the right path for me. It forced me to reevaluate myself and learn from the experience.

Nowadays, I am not as concerned with what other people think. I don’t worry about having my makeup on every time I step out the door or the cutest shirt from the local boutique.  

The fear of rejection shows itself today when I say YES to everything to try to make people happy even though it can be at times stressful. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to bring cookies to school. I just don’t bake them – I BUY THEM. And I still might buy those cute shoes someone else is wearing.  But it’s now because I like them.  

Ben and I are now in training together. We all have fears we have to face, it is how we react to a failure that determines whether we are a winner or a loser. If we listen to the FEAR it will completely control us, but if we choose to face the FEAR we keep going forward.  

 

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

 

How suffering can bring JOY.

 

A woman fell down to her knees sobbing. She looked up to the heavens and prayed. She begged God to save her little girl. She promised she would do anything if he would allow her child to live.

 “Why was God punishing her?” 

“Why wouldn’t God help protect an innocent child?”   

 The mother stood up and looked out the window of the hospital room where she sat night after night with her daughter. The rain was pouring down from the sky as the tears streamed down her cheeks. The perfect storm just hit all around them and she was struggling to hold it all together.      

On that dark night she closed her eyes and her mind drifted off thinking about her favorite movie, Ben Hur. She thought about the rain healing the leper’s in the movie. And, for a brief moment, she thought of running out into the storm with her badly burned baby. Maybe the rain would wash away the burns that covered her tiny body. Her dream was as vivid as in the movie Ben Hur when the rain fell and healed the Leper’s. 

She opened her eyes and reality sunk in. Her dream had vanished like a cloud of smoke. This was not a movie and the rain was not going to heal her daughter. She had no control of the situation and her only hope was God.

She prayed…

Thirty six years ago my mother fought her battles with God. She couldn’t stand to see her child suffer.  Every parent wants their child’s life to be filled with joy. I know she has had more battles throughout her life. Over time she acknowledged that consistent faith could help her find Joy. 

There are days when life seems unbearable, when everything seems to unravel. Everyone faces struggles in their lives. They are all different. Maybe we have lost a loved one, or are fighting addiction. Possibly we have been injured or are facing divorce. It may be that we are just trying to parent our children. We see our scars each and every day when we look in the mirror.

I have realized we have to withstand and wait out each storm. As a storm comes our way we have to face it. Sometimes when a storm comes, it can bring about destruction in our lives. But the important part is rebuilding and finding joy again. 

Rebuilding is a path that takes the most courage. It takes perseverance, strength, and faith. There were many days I lie in bed and prayed for God to “transform” me into a new self. Praying for God to give me another teenage body.  I struggled to parent three children under the age of three. 

My next struggle could be a mid-life crisis… UGH… Then my husband will be praying!

When we need God the most, his presence is unmistakable. He can give us strength, it is often the only way to survive. These are times when it is difficult to find Joy, but knowing that God is by your side can help you get through the tough times.

“You are one of the lucky ones.”

My mom told me this when I was younger. 

“LUCKY!!!” “REALLY??”   

 It took me a very long time to understand why I was so lucky. But I now get it. Those who never suffer, may never come to fully know God. The people that turn to God with their pain, can find true Joy. I will still have pain in my life. I know this to be true. And during the most challenging moments I know God alone can fill us with his Joy.

I can’t fathom the pain my mother went through so many years ago, but I know God answered her prayers on that day. It takes time but Joy will come through pain. I watch my children and pray each day for that they have Joy in their lives.  Life is full of challenges that I know they will have to face.  My hope is for all those who are suffering that they find Joy with God’s unending love in their own circumstances. 

 

 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”           James 1:2-3