My two year old daughter is terrified of all things that make noise. Anything can send her into hysterics- the garbage disposal, the bathroom fan, the ice machine on the fridge, half of the toys she owns…
In order to contain the terror, my husband and I have a phrase we keep repeating whenever she is screaming in terror… not scary- FUN! She dutifully repeats this back to us- not scary… fun… This pattern has repeated itself over and over often enough that now, whenever she hears a loud noise, she comes sprinting towards us, hysterically half-laughing, half-crying, screaming NOT SCARY- FUN at the top of her lungs. Other times, she buries her head in my shoulder, weeping, repeating not scary- fun. Sometimes I wonder what kind of psychological damage we are inflicting upon her young mind.
Then I shrug, and turn back on the hair dryer.
I may not be afraid of household appliances (with the exception to the vacuum cleaner) but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that send me into hysterical fits. Things like walking into a room of people I only know marginally well, and being expected to socialize. Buying airplane tickets. Making decisions that will affect other people. Leaning in and engaging in conflict. Adulting in general.
There is so much about living life as a human that feels terrifying and unpredictable. The stakes can feel so high. Decisions, even tiny ones, can have huge consequences. If you allow yourself to feel truly alone in the midst of this, the weight can be crushing.
I cannot count the times in my life that I wanted to run and bury my head in someone’s shoulder, to be held and reassured. But we are all trying too hard to seem confident and put together to allow ourselves to do this.
Today, I was reflecting on some of my life mottoes- quotes and phrases that stick with me. and I noticed a common theme:
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every situation where you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
Fake it ’til you make it.
Here is the World.
Beautiful and Terrible Things will Happen.
Don’t be Afraid.
Get it Done.
When I stop to think about it, all of these quotes lead towards the central truth in one of my favorite passages of scripture…
You have not been given a spirit of timidity and fear, but one of power, love, and self control.
2 Timothy 1:7
The spirit in you, it is created in the image of God. We live our lives in full view of the loving eyes of our Savior. Every day is written in his book. Every tear is collected in his bottle. There is nothing that can hide us, remove us, or exclude us from His love.
We feel timid, we feel fearful, but this is not who we are. We are immortal souls, who have one shot at this life we have been given. It’s a divine opportunity to do our best, to give our all. To love big, fail big, and learn and to stretch our wings. The Spirit that is in us is greater than the spirit that is in the world.
Who would you be, if you were freed from the spirit of fear that is holding you captive? What would you do, if you were unleashed to be the person you truly are on the inside? How would the world change if we gave ourselves permission to really try? Perhaps then, the words would ring true…
Not scary- FUN!