How a Mama Can Do Scary Things Anyway

I have fear on my mind a lot these days. Seems like there are oodles of things taking me out of my comfort zone. 

For starters, we are thinking about moving. The realities of packing up and downsizing a family and a farm, plus finding a suitable home in a fairly high-priced market have virtually paralyzed me. How can I get it all done? How will we ever find the right house? Is this really the best thing for our family? It’s an annoying subconscious soundtrack.

Then there are the movies. No, not watching movies. Being in movies. Gah! Abbie is our resident actress, and has been on the stage since she was six. Now we are trying to find ways for her to begin to explore film acting, and have fallen into several situations where we were able to be extras in movies. Yes, me too.

*cue heart palpitations and sweaty palms*

Camera on a track for panning shots

And today, Abbie and I attended a self defense class at our awesome local jiujitsu studio. Good grief, talk about being out of my comfort zone. I clearly need to get my act together with exercise because I do not want to stay in a place where the anticipation of being thrown to the floor (a well padded floor at that) had me in tears at home this morning. Be still my beating, terrified heart. 

A blurry iPhone picture of us flipping each other

Yep, I have been pretty steadily out of my comfort zone for the past two weeks. Do you ever find yourself there?

I am pretty much a hobbit. I would far rather stay at home and have my friends over for an endless parade of teas and pastries than do scary things. I’ll admit I am a bit of a Baggins-ish hobbit because I do enjoy traveling adventures (ask me about my 4000 mile road trips with my kids). But I am still a homebody on a regular day. Risk-taking is not in my DNA.

Still, I have learned that letting fear rule my decision making almost always results in regret. And I have also learned that forcing myself to do the scary things almost always results in joy.

It’s like a tidy equation:

decision making + fear = regret
scary things + courage = joy

Does that even make sense? I don’t know, it isn’t especially logical, but it accurately reflects my experience.

I am so glad I readjusted my plans, got off my hiney, and got the kids out the door to the film sets. We made memories that will last a lifetime. What would I have done if I had stayed home? Sat on the couch surfing Facebook? Cleaned something for the one millionth time? Bleh.

The self-defense class showed me some useful things:
  1. It is not as scary as I think to fall on a rubber mat (yes it does hurt a bit).
  2. I have more natural aggression than I realized.
  3. All the stuff I learn goes right out of my head when I am put on the spot (that was valuable but uncomfortable to experience).
  4. I need and actually want to practice this stuff.

There is something exhilarating about facing the things you are afraid of and conquering them!

So how does a mama make herself do scary things? My scary things might be different from your scary things, but I’ll bet we have the same motivator to push through our issues: our kids.

My children make me brave. Bravery isn’t about not being afraid. Bravery is being afraid and doing the thing anyway.

All of the scary events of the past few weeks were important for my children’s sake. My love for them helped push me out of my comfort zone and ultimately into the joy zone (thanks to that simple equation: scary things + courage = joy)

This is just another way that love leads to joy. Even if you don’t have kids, I’ll bet there is someone in your life you love who can inspire you to do scary things.

And while at first pass this may sound kitschy and cliche, if you are a Christian, your love for Jesus is probably the greatest motivator of all.

There are terrifying things I have done only because I love Jesus. Writing Bible studies, leading women’s groups, asking a stranger if I can pray for them, wearing a head covering, reading the Bible out loud at our church service, oh goodness, so many things for this introvert.

I am really just a trembling little girl in a grown-up body. But love can super-size me. It pushes me and pushes me until I am right out of my hobbit hole and quivering on the edge of some new and uncomfortable experience, ready to slog through fear to reach the joy on the other side.

Do you have a scary thing facing you right now? Whom will you love and bless by walking right into it? I would be my privilege to pray for you, for abounding love and for the courage to go forward. Leave me a comment or send me an email (patti @ joyfulmama dot com).

Let’s add courage-because-love to our scary things, and reap the joy! 
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