Fear is something we develop at a very young age.
Most of the time it is triggered by some event in our life where we recognize that things not only can go wrong, something we were naive to before, but that at some point they will go wrong.
It’s a behavior that is demonstrated to us by those around us and we cling to it as truth.
For my girls when their dad left, mom, who was home for the last few years, went back to work too. They didn’t just lose 1 parent they lost both of us at once, in a sense. All this happened while living in a new area and having strangers, to them, watch them.
There was so much “New” going on around them that they naturally developed some fear and anxiety of the day-to-day chaos and unknown that became our lives.
Once we got into a rhythm, and things became more consistent some of that anxiety had subsided. It was then that I started them in extra circular activities. My oldest is brave and more into trying new things than than my youngest, and chose to do gymnastics, while my little picked dance.
The first few dance classes my Little was fearless and pranced right in there, hands on hips, and did everything requested of here. We did this for about 1 month and then with the craze of summer took a month off.
When we came back from our break something had changed. She no longer wanted to go to class. The first class back was a welcome class where the parents were encouraged to stay. A few of the kids clung to their mommies refusing to join the group.
Mine was one of them.
As I watched the other parents pleading with their kids to join the class, while trying to hide their embarrassment. I quietly joined the class without my little and followed the teacher. She soon joined in.
Then next week parents were not invited. She whined and clung and despite my efforts of bribing with Cheetos, cookies and anything else I thought might work, she just wouldn’t go in. My initial thought was anger.
You wanted to do this.
You’re the one who asked to join dance.
All that money!
What about all that money!
As all these thoughts ran through my head I took a step outside of myself.
Yes, I paid all that money and it wasn’t cheap. So that meant we would keep our commitment whether she danced or not.
We talked about it every day before class and she told me how brave she would be, only to watch her turn to a puddle right as we walked in the door. We spent that time, for the next two weeks, cuddling in the waiting room until dance class was over.
After that month we stopped paying for dance and I told her that when she was ready to join dance again, or something else to let me know.
Six months later she chose to join gymnastics like sissy, and she is bold and confident and enjoys every second of it.
I’m grateful that I chose not to push my own agenda with her and was able to love her and accept her in her fear. I became a safe, constant for her and she has naturally overcome it on her own. If I would have allowed myself to focus on what was at stake for me, (the cost of leotards, tutus, legwarmers, and tuition…Ugh) instead of a little girl who needed to be able to express herself and be loved and supported in it, I would have missed the opportunity to watch her overcome her fears later on. And the opportunity to show her that I am safe for her to share those fears with.
Most of the times our fears are irrational, in fact 85% of what we actually worry about never happens. Yet even as adults we tend to face fear.
Fear of failure.
Fear of the unknown.
Yet just like my little, we have a safe haven to whine and cling to, who lovingly holds us in the midst of our fear.
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.Psalms 27:1The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.