When Fear Overwhelms

My body tensed up. Short shallow breaths. My thinking is blocked like groping your way out of a hazy maze. What is happening to me?

Girl, you're overreacting! Well, I've always been intense with my emotions, at least at home. But it's not like I can't apply self-control whenever we have visitors or when we're outside, especially at the theatre. No horror or thriller films for me unless I'm holding the remote control.

With teasing laughter still lingering on my husband’s mouth, he made a comment one day, "Why do you react that way like your part of the scene or a member of the cast."

"No, I think you're mistaken." I retorted. "I don't experience the story as an actor but as the character." lol

So what's the cause of the agitation that I hindered me to think clearly? It’s not a lion gaping its powerful jaws before me. I live in the city. It’s not even a thief threatening with a weapon. (Yep, this happened on public transportation back when I was in university. Gratefully, I’ve survived that!) There are no threats really. So what's throwing me off-balance? What am I scared for?

when fear overwhelms | life lesson

Believe it or not, it's simply because I sign up for a writer's training group? (This is your cue to laugh at how silly it is.)

Here's the thing, it may not be a writer's training for you. It could be that you're asked to take on a big project or requested to lead worship at church (scares me every time) or scheduled to speak before tens or hundreds of people or in the team meeting. What will you do? How will you deal with your pounding heart even before the event?

Take a Pause And Assess Your Thoughts

I know I have to deal with this heart crippling fear. Thus, I drop the book I'm holding, ambled my way to the privacy of our bedroom, and took a deep breath. "Girl, what's holding you back?”

It’s my incompetence. The fear is due to my inability to write like a professional. What if they found out I suck, that I’m not cut to be a writer, that it’s better for me to drop out of training and try something else. 

The husband would counter this argument by stating, "What about your blog posts? Doesn't it cause an alarm to publish your thoughts for the world to see?"

"That's different! Nobody reads my blog!" I shot back to vindicate the fear. “There’s no judgment in that little corner of the web.”

That’s it! Judgment. I see me as incompetent so I projected that idea in my situation, on people’s heads, imaginary or not.

I signed up for the training because I wanted to improve. If I see me as incompetent, then this is the perfect place for people to constructively critic my work. This is necessary for growth if that’s what I’m aiming for.

And just because I feel unqualified, doesn’t mean I'm inadequate as a person. I have to learn to separate my work from my personhood. I’ve written about this before in my post, 7 Things To Remember When You Feel Discouraged. It’s important we be clear on that.

Feedback is necessary for growth. Stepping out is necessary for progress. It’s scary to confront your fears but there’s no other way to get to the other side but to face them. There are no short cuts.

Though my heart races to advance to the next step, though I may get hurt receiving people’s feedback. I have to steel myself to face the challenge. As the quote goes, "Do it scared!

My body started to relax. My breathing went back to normal. My mind calmed down. It’s okay, I can do this one step at a time though overwhelmed. I’ll hit the milestones little by little, word after word, with a dash of perseverance. And...

I may not be able to fight against my raging emotions, but at least I can learn to manage them.

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