Archives For fear

Overcoming Your Fear

stacynewell —  January 27, 2014 — Leave a comment

Sunday was my youngest daughter’s very first gymnastics meet, and if you read my previous blog post, you know that there was a lot at stake that had very little to do with gymnastics.  It was my child’s day to face her fear.

Overcoming fear looks much more gritty than the movies make it out to be.  In fact, it happens to be a lot like childbirth…ugly and beautiful all at the same time.

If this was a movie, Kennedy would have bounded out of bed, took the bull by the horns and charged out on that gym floor to handspring herself to a gold medal.  However, facing fear isn’t that easy and it certainly isn’t that pretty.  It wasn’t pretty in our house Sunday morning.

The raw reality of this story is that when I told Kennedy it was time to put on her leotard, she began crying and screaming.  The kind of cry that is irrational and inconsolable.  It was real, wrenching, and painful to watch.  She was simply terrified of failing at her handspring and didn’t want to even attempt anything.  Tears rolled out of her eyes as she trembled from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet.

As a mother, I was sad, angry, frustrated, and confused all at the same time.  Was I really going to have to FORCE her to face this?  But I already knew the answer…yes.  As parents, our job is to be the strong one when our child is weak.  Our job is to KNOW when our child is capable, but incapacitated by fear.  Our job is to know when to push and when to stand off.  It is a cruel calling on so many levels, but also is a profound lesson all in itself.  If you feel like God is “pushing” you face difficult things, it’s because He probably is.  This was one of those times when I was called to push as well.

After a treacherous few minutes of getting Kennedy in the car, the ride to the gym was silent other than the hum of the radio.  The song played, “I know who goes before me, I know Who stands behind.  The God of angel armies, He’s always by my side…”  I watched in the rearview mirror as Kennedy mouthed the words to the music.  I breathed a sigh of relief that she has the foundation of Christ in her life.  He can lead her where I cannot.  My own personal helplessness subsided a bit.

Thankfully by the time we arrived, she had gathered herself and put a smile on her face when she saw her gym friends.  That was the end of ugly part.  The beautiful part is that Kennedy ended up having an amazing morning on a gymnastics level and a personal level.  Without the option to quit, she did what she knew to do.  In the end, she medaled in all four events and nailed the handspring she so dreaded.  She took 3rd in her age group for the All Around score, and out of the nearly 60 competitors, she landed with the 8th highest score.  For her first meet, she knocked it out of the park.

But you all know that her medals are but dust compared to the step she took within her own confidence.  What mattered to me most was that she showed up to her life.  She didn’t stay on the couch wrapped in a blanket.  In spite of all of the ugliness of fear tumbling out in a haphazard and uncontrollable way, she persevered and made it happen.

For all of you who went on this journey with us, my hope is that you face your fear as well…even if that means you go in kicking and screaming.  Sometimes I wonder if greatness never happens because we are most afraid of the process.  So cry if you have to, scream if you must, but when that is all over, my hope for you is that you will do what you have to do to fulfill your dreams.

And to my Kennedy…I’m so proud of you, Baby.  You have always been one of my greatest teachers and my greatest treasures.  I love you!

 

Here’s a link to her floor video if you’d like to see the moment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk3SrGYqZXU&feature=youtu.be

 

It’s All In Your Head

stacynewell —  January 22, 2014 — 6 Comments

IMG_1438On top of ministry, I am also the mother of a Competitive Gymnast.  It’s been the trip of a lifetime as I went from absolutely no knowledge of gymnastics to developing a working knowledge of technique, apparatus, and scoring.  I am in way over my head, but loving every minute of the lessons I am learning!

At Kennedy’s level one of the necessary skills is a back handspring.  It looks pretty simple until you think about running full speed, doing a roundoff, and then flinging your body backwards end over end.  (I can’t even imagine!)

At first, Kennedy picked up the skill in good time and seemed to be going about it flawlessly.  She is a powerful runner and her movements are impeccably precise.  All in all, she looked like she was on the right track.

And then one day she fell.

As she landed, her neck took the brunt of the fall and the pain shattered through her little body.

Since that moment those pesky back handsprings have haunted her.  The soreness has long since subsided, and she could physically do a back handspring with no problem.  Her muscles are strong enough to do that and much more, but she continues to struggle.  Why?

It’s all in her head.  On the way down that day, she let doubt, insecurity, and uncertainty move in where boldness, bravery, and courage once lived.  She started renting the space in her head to fear.

At practice yesterday her coach had her do at least 30 back handsprings on the safety of a mat.  Then when she moved Kennedy to the floor, she said, “Kenny!  Can you do a back handspring?”

Of course she can.  She just did dozens of them.

But in that moment, silence filled the enormous gym.  I watched as that same fear bubbled up in her little heart.  There she stood alone on the floor, her shoulders fighting not to slump.  Her bright smile turned down into a nervous, uncertain frown.  She shrugged and said, “I don’t know.”

My mother’s heart wanted to scream from my bench, “Baby!  You can do this and SO, SO much more!  You’ve just gotta believe what I believe about you.  It’s all in your head.  Don’t let fear live there and rob you of flying!”

And then that voice whispered from Heaven.  “That’s how I feel, too.  If my children believed what I believe about them, they would be fearless.”

Yes, Lord.  You do know that longing in a parent’s heart.  Not for perfect children, but children who UNDERSTAND how strong they are and use that strength to live out the miraculous.

But, Lord, You’re not just talking about Kennedy right now, are you?

I get it.  I have so many of those moments as well.  Moments where I should be brave enough, but past hurts, memories, and insecurities turn into a wall of fear within me.  Lord, let me hear Your voice and not allow fear to hold me back, either.  The lost potential is too much to bear…

And in that moment, I saw the benefit of Kennedy’s struggle.  If, at seven years old, she learns that the voice of fear is the wrong voice, then she can learn that the voice of God is the right voice.  And I bet that God’s voice sounds strikingly similar to a desperate parent, sitting on the side of gym floor, staring at the face of fear trapped in their child and wanting the breathless words to set them free…

“You can do this and SO, SO much more!  You’ve just gotta believe what I believe about you.  It’s all in your head.  Don’t let fear live there and rob you of flying!”

A few nights ago I had a dream that a crustacean was sitting next to me in bed.  You know the kind…some odd underwater creature with those antennae that wave around in search of a victim.  This one had prickles like a porcupine, but a very thin body.  He was freaky looking, and in my dream, he was TERRIFYING.

All I can remember was desperately needing to get away from this little urchin as quickly as possible.  Still asleep I began screaming at the top of my lungs while literally diving across the bed with my full body and onto the unsuspecting chest of my husband.  From his dead sleep, my weight and ear-piercing cries for help were unwelcome at best.  I kept staring at the imaginary crustacean and yelling for rescue.  Why wasn’t Mark beating that thing to death???

Finally Mark’s voice broke through my brain to let me know that I was dreaming and did not indeed need to claw my way out of the bed.  I woke up just enough to calm down and see my cat staring back at me in place of my false reality.

Stop laughing at me.  You’ve been there, too.  And dare I say that some of us are afraid of things that aren’t real, but we’re not even sleeping?

Maybe you are afraid of doing the ministry idea that God put in your heart because you are afraid of failure?  Maybe you won’t go to the doctor because your afraid of bad news?  Maybe you won’t ask that girl out because you are afraid of rejection?  Now, granted, sometimes what isn’t real might become real down the road, but for now, it’s just….well…fear.  And a very unproductive fear at that.

We so often go through life making decisions based on realities that we believe might be true, but really aren’t.  And even if the end of the story has some hard realities, knowing sooner usually leads us to the right path, the right decision, and the right truth.  Failure is usually used by God in mighty ways, health issues are cured more often when faced early, rejection by one usually allows us to find the other…and so on.

Truth is our friend, whether that truth turns out to be a creepy crustacean or a friendly cat.

So, what is causing you to be fearful in your life and how much reality is really in those fears?  What you’ll probably find is the voice of Jesus waking you up to truth and leading you back to peace and comfort.

Good night and sweet dreams! 😉