What are you afraid of? What causes you to go into fight, flight or freeze mode? Sorry if the picture unsettles you! We visit the Hibernaculum every year and I find the garter snakes fascinating. But many are afraid of them.
For some it’s snakes, spiders or mice. For others it’s heights, public bathrooms, or tests! But all of us have something that makes us behave irrationally! Some embrace the fact that they will shriek and leave the room at the sight of a spider, and others are mortally embarrassed at their reactions to the things they fear. But all of us can admit that fear is a powerful emotion!
Sometimes we don’t recognize fear because it isn’t an irrational reaction to something that startles us but just a subtle avoidance of the unknown. Fear is waiting for all of us just outside our comfort zone! Have a look at this video from my favourite Life Mastery Coach (who also happens to be my cousin) and her thoughts on stepping out of our comfort zone.
This summer we dropped off our kids at Summer Camp. A first for them, and the first time they had been separated for more than a day. A brave endeavor! Our bio kids all went to summer camp and they never went with a friend but they also weren’t new to our home and uncertain of their future. As I looked at the cabin full of other kids and leaders through their eyes I admired their bravery. Facing new things is scary! They willingly chose to step out of their comfort zone over and over again in the last 3 months. They have done this because they have the hope of a life that is more and so they are willing to face the unknown. When is the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?
It is so easy to sit comfortably within our safe world and criticize those who aren’t getting a job, paying their bills on time or raising their children “right” (aka like we would). We have no idea how much fear is sabotaging their efforts to succeed. We might not run screaming from the room at the thought of turning in a resume or walking into that new exercise class but we still have to walk through fear to do it. For some that seems impossible. When is the last time you did something that scared you? Tried a new activity? Talked to someone new? Dared to dream again?
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”Eleanor Roosevelt
The small steps I have watched these kids take in the last 3 months are gigantic in moving them towards their future. They could not get there without being willing to be “comfortable being uncomfortable”. We need to acknowledge and celebrate each of those steps!
As a new school year begins we need to acknowledge that our kids are all stepping into the unknown. They will face the uncomfortable and the unfamiliar with varying degrees of courage and with mixed results. Lets give them some grace. Be a safe place for them to share their fears and cheer them on as they walk towards their future. Remember, we are asking them to cheerfully do what many adults cannot do; face their fears and step into the unknown.
What about the people who can’t step out of their comfort zone… the ones who are trapped in today and cannot make the changes that will make a better future possible?
The other mother of the children we care for has not yet found the courage to step out of what she knows and trust that the future holds something better. So we will continue to love her children for her and pray she finds a thread of courage and steps into the unknown where there is a future and a hope.
In the midst of the mess