If you will follow me on social media you will already know that this weekend has been full of facing that which I fear.
What you may not know is I spent the week before, in my various groups in schools, talking about fear. Through it, I taught myself some lessons.
Fear Is a Lie
I see this on a load of posts, mostly Hillsong related so I am guessing it might be one of their sayings, and to an extent, yes it is true. Fear is needed, as is every emotion, this is part of what I spend my time talking to teenagers about. Fear is needed, it keeps us alive, it tells us something is wrong. Fear prepares our adrenaline responses, our survival mode: fight, flight freeze, flock etc… Fear is good when it is in response to a genuine threat. However fear can respond to threats that are socio-emotionally driven and they can respond to threats which aren’t actually threats. This is where some of the ‘lie’ takes root.
Facing The Beast
I’ve just written about my Spring Favourites, yet I purposefully left one out, so as to use it here. Boot Camp happened! 8 Weeks, 6 Ladies, 4 Goals, 2 Sessions per week, 1 hour per day, 0 excuses with KCL Fitness. If that wasn’t mad enough, someone (ummm me) decided to suggest we took on The Beast at Betteshanger; a whopping 384m long inflatable obstacle course!
The Fear Set in
Fear is a lie – I realised that I only knew fear because I was placing my identity in how I would look and how I fare. Instead of changing my mind and pulling out, I chose to change my mindset and push forward. I chose joy, I chose to put my hope and my identity back into God. Yes, I was still nervous – but I treated it as performance anxiety: this will fuel me, not hinder me. Here I place faith, here I find freedom.
The day before this event, I received a letter. The letter was related to an event that happened earlier this year, which I wrote about in this post. I didn’t include in that post the spiralling that took over my mind now and then, causing fear to grab a foothold.
I went back for another appointment, and in this appointment, they showed me what was going on in my eye. The optician played everything down but suggested it needed further investiigation. My analytical brain searched for answers and came face to face with the worst case scenario. Walking to my car, holding back tears I phoned my dad. Calmly he talked me back to earth and told me “if the worst happens, we will deal with it when it happens, not now”. I kept coming back to this phrase but it didn’t mean in the process I catastrophised several times in the lead up to my hospital appointment.
The Tapestry of Victories
The day before Facing the Beast, I gave a school talk using lyrics from You’re Welcome.
In the song, Maui says the line “and the tapestry here in my skin, is a map of the victories I win”. The third point of fear is a war I haven’t yet won so I won’t go into much detail, but this weekend I won a battle, I gained a victory and so I am marking it as a reminder when fear alerts me again.
I know that my fear about this is a lie. I know fear when I am placing my identity in how I would look and how I fare. Instead of changing my mind, I am learning to change my mindset and push forward. I chose joy, I chose to put my hope and my identity back into God. Yes, I may still be nervous, but this will fuel me, not hinder me. Here I place faith, here I find freedom.
…and here I find family propels me as I face my fears. Running the gauntlet of The Beast was only possible because I was with a team and with a PT who instructed us, cheered us on, ran with us, laughed with us, lifted us, reached out a hand to us and celebrated with us! Together we made it.
I believe God gives us the blessing of ‘families’ whether literal or spiritual to help us face our fears and run with us as we battle them. To this I am thankful.
Be encouraged as you face your fears, be alert when your fear kicks in, seek out why it is there and get family around you as complete your tapestry of victories.