Faith in the Midst of Fear

Faith in the Midst of Fear

I woke up this morning feeling like my brain was receiving a download from the universe. I laid there in bed for almost an hour with my eyes closed, just trying to cement what I was learning into my conscious brain. It was a beautiful experience. I wanted to share those thoughts with you today.

Perhaps you, like me, have felt the feelings of uncertainty or fear creeping up on the periphery. With grocery store pandemonium, business closures, and voluntary quarantine the future certainly looks uncertain.

First of all, that is a NORMAL human response to the unknown. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you’re feeling a little anxious or uncertain…or even downright afraid.

And while fear is a normal emotional reaction to the unknown, the growth we’re after in life, in relationships, in business doesn’t come from this place.

Growth comes from a place of faith

The growth we’re after comes from a place of abundance, of hope…or dare I say it, faith?

I don’t mean faith in the religious sense of the word.

What I mean is much more general.

I BELIEVE THAT FAITH IS WHAT WE EXPERIENCE WHEN WE LOOK AT THE PAST FOR EVIDENCE THAT THERE IS HOPE FOR THE FUTURE.

Examples of everyday faith

For instance, every evening when the sun sets, do we worry that it won’t come back up again tomorrow morning? Of course not. For our entire lives, the sun has risen each morning. We have faith that it likely will again tomorrow too.

We have faith that the people we love will continue to love us, even when we disappoint them or annoy them because they’ve proven it time after time.

There is evidence everywhere we look that while the world might get crazy and buy up all of the toilet paper, pasta, and eggs in the stores, that there are plenty of people that are looking out for their neighbors, looking out for local businesses, and helping those in need. We can have faith that when the time comes, there will be helpers.

And of course, when we look over the course of our lives, we have evidence that while we’ve experienced hard times, we have the means to survive them. Over and over again, we’ve proven to ourselves that we are adaptive. We’re resilient and we will find a way through this challenge as well.

Different dilemma, same skill set

I can almost hear you saying, “But I’ve never gone through THIS challenge before. How can I have faith about this?”

It’s true, most of us have never been quarantined before. We’ve never seen this kind of global event in the course of our lives. We’ve never been mandated to close the doors to our businesses for an indefinite amount of time…or to work purely online.

But we have been through hard financial times before. We’ve survived illness. We’ve survived isolation in some form or another. We’ve proven that we’re intelligent, creative problem-solvers. We’ve recreated ourselves countless times before.

And I believe that when we look for the evidence of how resilient, strong, and capable we are, we’ll see evidence that will give us faith that we’ll make it through this as well.

Reframing Failure

Reframing Failure

You always start as a beginner

Have you ever desperately wanted to do something new, but you were SUPER afraid that you’d suck at it?

Yup. Me too.

Have you ever worried so much that you’d make mistakes or make a fool of yourself that you let that fear keep you from even showing up and trying?

Again. Guilty as well.

The next thing I’m going to say will feel like a “duh” comment, but I believe more of us need to hear it and let it really sink in. When it really sinks in, it’ll change the game in every aspect of your life.

EVERYONE IS A BEGINNER AT THE BEGINNING.

I know…I know…you’re having a “thanks for stating the obvious, Einstein” kind of a moment right now. (At least, I did when I first heard it). But when you really allow yourself to be ok being a beginner, understanding that it’s not just you, it’s EVERYONE that fumbles in the beginning, it’s easier to give yourself grace to learn.

Learning involves making mistakes

I want you to picture yourself as a small child. (You’re pretty freaking adorable, right?)

Think of all of the things you learned when you were little. You had to learn to roll over, sit up, walk, sleep through the night, sleep alone, feed yourself, dress yourself, talk.

Did you do ANY of these things perfectly the first time or even the hundredth time?

Did you come out of the womb able to hold adult conversations? or regulate your emotions? or articulate your desires? Um, no.

We come out of the womb LEARNING, which ironically looks a whole lot like making mistakes and then course correcting.

We come into the world eager to try out new things, make mistakes, and learn from them. And the world is eager for us to do the same.

Our parents clap for us when we struggle to roll over or take our first Frankenstein steps on our own. We smile and shriek in delight at our first feeble efforts. Why?

Because we understand that this is how we learn, by trying. This is the ONLY way to learn.

And it feels pretty freaking amazing to grow and expand our abilities. It feels like victory to take those first few steps and to continue to become coordinated enough to walk seamlessly and eventually run.

Learning in a shame-free environment is expansive and freeing. It makes us feel like we can do anything.

Shedding the shame

So, what changed between that adorable, chubby faced time in your life and now?

Even though no one meant to, somewhere along the way, your mistakes began to be corrected with shame. Shame was used because it’s a POWERFUL motivator to correct behavior. As humans, we’re wired to connect and be accepted. For our ancestors, being cast out of the tribe meant certain death. So, shame and guilt are literally hardwired into us to alert us when we’re doing something that could ostracize us from our chosen community or close relationships.

But, society is only JUST starting to understand how detrimental shame can be to the learning process. (We’re talking this stuff started being researched only in the past few decades. We have hundreds if not thousands of years of unlearning to do in this area).

So, if you can remember being shamed for breaking something, saying the wrong thing, forgetting to turn in your homework, or just not showering enough…you’re right there with the rest of us awkward humans. We’ve all made mistakes. And we’ve all been accidentally shamed for those mistakes because it’s all humanity has known.

Until now….

Not mistakes; learning opportunities

You were built to learn through doing, making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes. What if we reframed the idea of making mistakes or even failure?

What if from now on, we called the times when we fall down learning opportunities?

Would that change how you view your journey into the unknown?

Nelson Mandela said, “I never lose. I either win or I learn.”

What if from now on, you determined that there was no shame in the process of learning. What if you considered all of the experiences opportunities to either “win or learn”?

You could accomplish just about ANYTHING you put your mind to!

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