Fear … Is It Holding You Back?


Fight your fears and you’ll be in battle forever; face your fears and you’ll be free forever. — Lucas Jonkman

Everything you want is on the other side of fear. — Jack Canfield

We stopped checking for monsters under the bed when we realized they were inside of us. — Charles Darwin

Fear is only temporary. Regret lasts forever!

Fear is the brain’s way of saying that there is something important for you to overcome. — Rachel Huber

What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fear is a powerful thing. Depending upon how we view it, it can paralyze us or spur us on to greater things.

I have a dear friend who is terrified of intimacy in relationships. He wasn’t always this way. He met a girl once whom he fell head-over-heels in love with, so much so that it scared him. He had been in love before but never to such a degree that he felt out of control, and it was that lack of emotional control he couldn’t handle. The relationship lasted for about four years, until the girl finally got tired of his shenanigans of pulling away and saying they needed to see other people. She decided that could go on forever and decided it was time to let go.

Now, 25 years later, the girl is back. She contacted my friend, whom she never stopped loving, in an attempt to restore the relationship they could have had if both of them hadn’t messed it up so badly. He wants nothing to do with her, not because he doesn’t still love her, but because he went through hell the first time he lost her and doesn’t want to experience that feeling again. He also doesn’t want to go back to having no control over his emotions.  The thought terrifies him.

I find their whole situation so sad. They both care deeply for each other, but he is so paralyzed by his fear that he won’t even communicate with the girl anymore. Think of what they are both missing out on … perhaps the greatest joy either one of them has ever known.

My problem is public speaking. The thought of getting up in front of people and speaking brings back fresh memories of 7th-grade speech class, when my voice shook so uncontrollably that everyone watching me was embarrassed for me. They were probably just as uncomfortable watching me as I was standing up there in front of them. My fear of public speaking is unfortunate, especially because I’m fairly certain my future dream job will require me to have this skill. I’ve spent my whole life avoiding it, but it’s time to stop running. It’s time to turn around and face this thing once and for all.

I’ve gone back to grad school after 30 years. I absolutely love it! The problem is, I have to do a YouTube interview with a classmate where we each take turns pretending to be a journalist and a PR professional discussing a crisis situation. Doesn’t sound too bad, unless you have an extreme aversion to being on camera. My first thought was, “I’ve got to drop this class.” I immediately rejected that idea because, as I said, I love the class.  My second thought was, “I’m going to contact the professor and tell her I’ll take an F on this assignment.” Unfortunately, that idea seems pretty stupid even to me. I finally came to the conclusion that as much as I hate the thought of actually doing this assignment, I want to get past the brick wall my fear has succeeded in putting in front of me for so many years.  It’s time to break through that wall. I may not like the process, and it may hurt; but I am doing this thing.  It’s time.

How about you? Is fear holding you back from something you want more than anything? What are you going to do about it? I would encourage you to not let it define you. Get help. Move past your fear. Your greatest accomplishment/love relationship/purpose may be on the other side. Don’t miss out! As Joyce Meyer says a friend of hers once said to her, “Why don’t you do it afraid?”

You’ve got this. Get going! 🙂
Lori Lynn

Dear LORD … when we are too afraid to follow through on your best for us, give us a nudge. Help us to visualize what is there on the other side of our fear and to want it so badly that we’re willing to do whatever it takes to make it a reality. Give us the courage to knock down our brick walls of fear knowing that You are there with us every step of the way. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

 

 

Life Lesson #5: Communication is Key


“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.”  Henry Winkler

“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky

You know how they say if you assume anything, it makes an “a**” of “u” and “me”.  Well, I can attest to that; and it all could have been avoided …

For the past year or so, I have been trying to reestablish a relationship with a dear friend whom I knew years ago and with whom I had lost contact. Things started out relatively well until I started searching for answers to questions my friend was not willing to answer. Instead of leaving things lie and allowing my friend to talk to me in his own time, I became pushy in my desperation to get answers I thought I needed. In the process, I wound up pushing my friend away, and he accused me of having no respect for other people’s boundaries. My mouth dropped to the floor in righteous indignation.  “What? ME?!? No concept of other people’s boundaries?” What in the world was he talking about. I have a history of letting people walk all over me. I have a history of letting people bleed me dry … people who take and don’t give much in return. I knew I had boundary issues when it came to establishing my own boundaries, but I was taken aback by the accusation that I have no respect for the boundaries of others.

At first, I was furious.  How dare he! How dare he accuse me of being presumptuous, judgmental, and righteous to boot.  Who did he think he was? Did he not realize he was being the very things he accused me of being? To top it all off, he accused me of having a hard time understanding other people and their issues (something I happen to be very good at, which those who know me well will attest to).

It would have been so easy to lash out, but I didn’t. I realized there was some truth in what he said. I hadn’t respected his boundaries in this particular instance. He had given me fair warning but had failed to explain himself in the process (kind of like someone yelling “STOP!” as you’re driving along about to collide with a train bearing down at full speed, but you’re too busy talking to notice). Nonetheless, I knew by his tone and by his choice of words that I had crossed the line. He was hurt and feeling attacked. Defense mechanisms kicked in, shields went up, and arrows began flying.

Instead of shooting arrows back, it was time for me to apologize. As badly as I wanted answers to my questions, it was not worth the price of losing an extremely important relationship with someone I dearly cared about. The apology came easy. I meant it. I was sincere. The agony of wondering if the relationship has been irreparably damaged … not so easy to bear.

Had my friend explained a little bit about all the things going on in his life, I wouldn’t have continued to pester him with questions he simply couldn’t deal with on top of everything else. Although I’m very good at understanding the undercurrents behind people’s behavior, I’m a terrible mind reader; so if you’re unwilling to share anything, I’m afraid I will fail miserably. In this case, I hurt my friend deeply and that, in turn, hurt me.

Communication is so extremely vital. When communication breaks down, I don’t know about you, but I do start to assume. My mind kicks into overdrive, and I begin imagining all sorts of scenarios. Satan has a heyday inside my head … feeding me lies that trigger my insecurity and make me start doubting and worrying and second-guessing. It takes concentrated effort to remind myself that just because someone isn’t willing to communicate with me doesn’t mean they don’t like me; it may just mean they have to process things themselves first or they may just have a lot their plate at the moment.

Take my friend, for example.  Over the past year, he:

  1. sold his house,
  2. moved,
  3. started a new job,
  4. had his company file Chapter 11 bankruptcy,
  5. had been dealing with an ill family member.

As my former brother-in-law told me upon hearing I had lost my first baby in utero, “How can people pray for you if they don’t know what’s going on?” How can people walk alongside you as you struggle through life if they don’t know you are struggling? How can people share in your joy if they don’t know you are rejoicing?

Bottom line: Talk to one another!

In this most recent experience with my friend, yes, I was way out of line. I barreled my way past my friend’s boundaries oblivious to the consequences. My need to know something made me blind to the fact that my friend couldn’t handle my questions right now. When he screamed “STOP”, I finally could see the train in my peripheral vision. Suddenly the answers I thought I so desperately needed aren’t that important. What’s more important is that my friend is hurting, and it all could have been avoided if:

  1. my friend had just conversed with me instead of remaining silent, and
  2. I had not jumped to conclusions and made my own assumptions.

I forgive my friend for lashing out at me (stress makes us do crazy things), and I hope he will forgive me in time. In the meantime, I will pray for him … that his stress level will diminish and that lines of communication will once again open up.

Two-way communication fixes so much.  It alleviates stress, corrects misunderstandings, avoids assumptions (and the consequences that go along with them), and fosters intimacy and warmth. It may not happen immediately, but keep at it. Don’t give up. A good relationship deserves the hard work of pressing through and keeping the lines of communication open.

Talk to me …

Lori Lynn

Father … You bring people into our lives for a reason. When we mess up those relationships, may we do all we can to break through the miscommunication and hurt feelings by talking to each other openly until the issue is resolved. Life is too short to be angry and upset. It ruins our health and causes sleepless nights. Grant us grace to be more loving. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.