I have a blog post called Do It Scared. It’s a motto for my own life that I encourage my children towards. I have worked hard to overcome so much fear that I refuse to let them, or I, be held back because of it. Fear is an enemy in our home. A foe that must always be reconciled face to face. Accomplishing anything involves a level of tenacity. Congrats to you if you aren’t one that has to work through stuff to get somewhere. That’s never been me. I’ve always had to conquer myself before I could conquer the goal at hand.
I also, find it interesting that when we set out to accomplish something in our lives it’s as though our decision is tested. For example, you decide to get up early in the morning to have your coffee in silence and suddenly your toddler is waking up at 4 am and not going back to sleep till the others are awake. You decide to start working out every morning and you twist your ankle on the first run. You decide to stop using a credit card and an unexpected need arises. You get my point.
So, we step out, step over fear, and then BAM the universe says, “are you sure?”
It’s as though the universe wants to know if you really mean it. No, I do not believe the “universe” is a person… I’m simply pointing to a repeating occurrence I see.
There are legitimate fears though. I’m afraid to not tithe (because of Mal 3:10). I’m afraid to drive on the wrong side of the road in the dark with no headlights on. I’m afraid to fall off of a tall building (you know… gravity.) I’m afraid to leave my coffee unattended in the dining room or on coffee tables. I’m afraid of scissors and markers being within reach of my toddler. I’m afraid to leave my two and four-year-olds alone while I take a shower. Duh! Those things are just dumb. SomeONE or someTHING is going to get hurt!
Let’s talk about fear that robs from us instead of protecting us. Here are a few…
- I’m afraid of being alone.
- I’m afraid of failure.
- I’m afraid of embarrassment.
- I’m afraid of exposure.
- I’m afraid of death.
- I’m afraid I won’t be loved.
- I’m afraid I won’t feel love for someone else.
- I’m afraid I’ll never move forward.
- I’m afraid I’ll be pigeon-holed.
- I’m afraid I won’t be valued.
- I’m afraid I’ll be controlled.
- I’m afraid I’ll get hurt.
- I’m afraid I’ll feel sad.
- I’m afraid I’ll lose again.
- I’m afraid I’ll be abused again.
- I’m afraid I’ll lose my power.
- I’m afraid I won’t heal.
I think we spend most of our lives avoiding feelings that situations might cause. We aren’t actually avoiding situations… we’re avoiding the feelings that may or may not come as a result of a situation. The bottom line is though, if you never step up to bat, you’ll never hit the ball. Ever.
Side note: The only physical harm feelings can cause is the kind that happens on the inside. The decline of your health because you’re holding in so much negative stress is legitimate and something to consider.
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Today I thought I would tell you my “do it scared” scenario this week.
Many of you already know that my daughter died in June. (You can find the stories here: Please Let Me Get To Hold Her & Grieve. But Grieve in Truth) She wrapped herself in her umbilical cord, cutting off her oxygen and passed at 22 weeks gestation. After sharing my story over the last few months I’ve come to realize how many have gone through similar situations and how many of those beautiful ladies did it completely alone. It makes my heart ache to imagine any of you crying alone, going home exhausted day after day from holding in all of the emotions while you were around other people and never getting to pour out your heart so that it could be filled back up with people who love you. I’d hug you right now if I could.
After this tragic experience, it would have been very easy for me to decide we aren’t having any more kids. I have four at home. They are definitely a hand and house full. Even in the moments that my arms ached to hold a little one again… I was tempted to not.
Today I write from a comfy chair in my living room with a rainbow baby growing inside. Can I confess some of the fears that I’ve had?
- What if this one dies too?
- What if it’s a boy and I never get my girl that I’ve planned and hoped for, for many years?
- What if I’m really sick and in a lot of pain and my kids get tired of seeing their mom sick?
- What if they fall behind in school because I can’t get off the couch?
- What if this baby is sick?
- What if it’s harder than I imagined?
- What if I spend the next nine months in consuming torture trying to get from one ultrasound to the next just to make sure the baby is still ok?
- What if I never have a rainbow baby?
- What if the pain consumes me?
- What if I don’t recover from another loss?
- What if I can’t get excited because of fear?
- What if this crushes the faith of my children, who have already grieved so much?
I could guard my heart, and theirs, not imagine the baby girl in my arms, not plan at all and get four months down the road and have missed out on the joy of pregnancy. Pregnancy, especially in this day and age, is both an honor and a privilege. Too many of my friends have tirelessly worked just to conceive. I have made a choice. I could either live in all of those what-ifs or I could not. I choose not to.
I choose joy. In the face of impending (imagined) doom. In the face of painful what-ifs. I choose to receive life. I choose to be thankful that I get to experience growing a baby one more time. I choose to walk it out in peace. I will do it scared if that’s what it takes to do it at all and as I step out, in my heart, I’ll step over fear each day. I’ll imagine it under my feet. If I were to lose this baby in a week or a month, how I live today and tomorrow, won’t change. Fear of my tomorrow only steals from my today.
Imagine if we lived today as though nothing bad could happen tomorrow!
So, to the universe, I say, go ahead, challenge me. I choose the fullness of life. I choose faith and faithfulness. I choose to not live under a rock. I choose to not hide behind cynicism and sarcasm. I choose to be open and to let myself enjoy the process of simply living and living well because that is my motto and how I want my children to see their mother live.
I have been writing a digital booklet on overcoming grief and healing as a family. I hope to release it soon and then update it after this pregnancy!
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