These were all thoughts that popped into my head after I was invited to speak a message for my church community. These thoughts had the potential to be limiting beliefs, dream busters, or as Brene Brown calls them, “gremlins.” All different ways to describe the Fear that arises when we take a step of faith towards the directions of our dreams. If left unchecked, the Fear has the power to stop us in our tracks and stay in the “comfort zone” of our unfulfilled desires.
If you’re still not sure what I’m talking about, let’s play a little game I like to call, “Have you ever thought…” I’ll list a few examples Fear statements, and give me a virtual head nod or say, “yes!” if the mentioned thought has ever crossed your mind.
“I don’t know how to do that.” “I don’t have enough money.” “I am not good enough to do that.” “I’m too old / I’m too young.” “I don’t have time to do this.” “I never finish what I start.” “I already tried that, and it didn't work.” “I’ll do it when I have _______.” “What will people think?”
Chances are, a few, if not all, of these have crossed your mind before.
Take action! Try for yourself. What are some Fear thoughts that are coming to mind, for you? Grab a journal and jot them down. If it helps, think about a dream or goal you’ve had in mind for a while, and write down any excuses that pop up that are keeping you from achieving the goal. Remember, Fear is any thought that keeps you from living out your best intended life.
The thing is, Fear has a positive intention in our lives. If we’re “brain smart,” Fear lives in the lower area of our brains, in the brain stem. This part of our brains is responsible for survival instincts, and the “fight or flight” response. When we were threatened, this part of our brain tells us to “Go for it!” or “Run for your life!” Even though we have upgraded to more modern-day stimuli, Fear still has a positive intention: to protect us from harm.
When I thought about it, my 3 gremlin-y thoughts about public speaking was to protect me from the harm of embarrassing myself in front of people. You know, real people with real thoughts, and actual ears to hear what I’m saying.
But I would rather try something meaningful and embarrass myself than to live a life wondering: “What if?”
So, I turned my limiting beliefs into empowering ones, but asking myself a couple of key questions. I looked for the truth, and the motivating thoughts that would align to my goal of public speaking.
“I don’t have enough experience.” What experience do I have? Empowering Thought: I’ve had plenty of speaking engagements in various leadership roles. Plus, I was a teacher for 4 years…I was speaking to a group on a daily basis.
“I didn’t go to Bible school.” What resources do I have access to? Empowering Thought: I read the Bible on a regular basis. There are plenty of resources, like books and references to help me. Also, I can ask other speakers for resources and recommendations.
“I’m a GIRL!” What do I have to believe in order to move forward? Empowering Thought: Yes, I am. So what?
Take action! Try for yourself. Go back to your list of Fears. Ask yourself some empowering questions like: where can I go for help? or what can I do to move past this? Write down some empowering thoughts, and share with a friend or family member.
The reality is, we may never get rid of our Fears, but we can recognize its positive intentions, and challenge ourselves to find the truth that will motivate us towards taking action towards our dreams.
The end of my story is that I spoke a couple of message for my church community. Ironically, my first message was about the story of David and Goliath, and how the Isrealites lived in fear and not the way God intended for them to live. I had a blast and learned so much, and practiced this way of positively engaging in Fear and continuing to do the work.
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