On Facing Fears

I like to think I'm pretty tough.  Brave to the core and unshakeable in my courage.  Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

(Don't laugh.)

But in actuality, I'm a big wimp.  Numerous things scare me:

Air turbulence while flying.  Roller coasters.  E.T.  Spiders.  Being in the woods at night.  (Some people call this camping...HA!)  "Life in the E.R." documentaries.  Unsolved Mysterious.  Deep, dark, lake water.  (Who knows WHAT is in there, buzzing your butt cheeks!)  Cockroaches.  Moldy leftovers.  Ski lifts.  (I KNOW the day I ride one is the day the cable breaks.)  Throw up.  Going to the dentist.  LARRY KING!

See?  WIMPY!  My little Lilly Girl also has fears.  She hates butterflies, is scared of the dark, and doesn't like to go too fast on her bike.  Her BIGGEST fear to date is being in front of crowds of people.  Like on a stage.  In some kind of performance.  That kind of attention makes her nervous; large groups staring at her make her cry.

As you can imagine, I was just as nervous as she was about her "end of the year," western-themed, kindergarten program.  She had expressed her anxieties about singing and dancing "in front of all those parents," and I had prayed and prayed to be able to take her fear away.  I didn't know what to expect.  Would she freeze?  Would she hide her face in her shirt?  Would she be able to stay on stage, or would she have to come sit in the audience with me?

Oh my goodness, you guys!!!  She was AMAZING!  She sang, she danced, she waved, she smiled.  My mama heart filled with pride to the point of almost bursting.

Later, as we celebrated with Slurpees at the 7-11, she turned to me and said, "Mom, isn't this the best day?  It's MY day!"

"It sure is, Lil!  You did a great job in your program.  I'm so proud of you!"

"I'm proud too," she replied, "I'm proud because I did it...I faced my fear."

Her response stopped me in my tracks.  I had never heard her say anything like that before.  I had never used those words, "face your fear," with her.  I could only assume it was the work of her brilliant kindergarten teacher--eagerly thwarting Lil's panic attacks with motivating words the week before showtime.

There will be moments in our lives when we will be forced to confront our fears.  As we prepare to face them head on--mustering all the much-needed courage our bodies can contain--it is vital to remember that the things we fear hold no power.  WE are the ones who give those fears power, merely by being afraid of them.  It is a Japanese proverb that reminds us that our fears are only as deep as our minds allow.

Thank you, Lilly Girl, for your example!  For every scary "hurdle" we successfully leap over, we gain a little more confidence, a little more perspective, a little more courage.  When we stare fear in the face and conquer it--thus experiencing sweet success--we realize that we can do anything.

So...if I ever happen to meet the formidable and "owlish" Larry King in a dark alley in the middle of the night, I don't have to run away, screaming; terrified.  I have other options.

I could simply smile.
I could even say hi.


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