Friday, December 6, 2013

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

Gorgeous Tennessee 

Some times doing something that isn't in your norm is scary.  Some times?  Why did I say some times?  I should say ALL the time.  I am not a go out of my comfort zone type of person.  I have a lot of anxiety issues and for me some times just the thought of doing something (hello roller coasters?) will set off a panic attack! I want to share two stories with you about a couple of times I stepped out of my comfort zone.  One changed my life and the other, well . . . I felt like a failure but I did my best!

The first story goes along with the above picture. This past spring I took the kids and went south for spring break.  We have family that lives in Tennessee and they were kind enough to put us up for a few nights and show us around town.  The one day was cool and rainy and my Aunt said we should go explore her Uncle's cave.  You read that right!  On her Uncle's land is a cave! A real live, bats, water, DARKNESS filled cave.  The kids were beyond excited.  I will give you one guess as to how I was feeling.  Terrified isn't quite the word but it's somewhere around there.  But being the mediocre good mom that I am, I said LETS GO!  So we all get flashlights and head off down the road to the cave.  The picture is from the front yard of my Aunt's parent's house.  It's all nothing but country and mountains and amazingness all around. Very beautiful and peaceful.  So we get to the cave and panic absolutely sets in.  I start envisioning my 3 year old not making out of the cave or me breaking my leg or who knows! But my mind is running wild.  I stopped just inside the cave and took some deep breathes.  Thankfully my Aunt's Dad took Miss V's hand and never let go!  I felt better that he had her and would keep her safe (he is such a sweet man!). The boys I made sure stayed close and once we were in the cave there was only 1 other part (a very steep climb down some rocks that ended in an underground river) that scared me.  The coolest part? I did it!  I got to see an underground river!  I got to see a bat (even though he scared me at first!)  I saw little holes in the walls that if you were a spelunker you could climb in and look around.  I generally enjoyed myself.  And can I tell you two things?  One I was SO proud of myself (and still am!) that I made my Aunt swear to tell my husband how brave I was.  And Two?  I totally hiked that cave in my silver sparkly Toms!  YES I DID! Diva alert.   But if I would have let MY fear take over me, not only would I have missed out but my kids would have too.  They enjoyed it SO much and ask all the time when we can go back.  Miss V loved my Aunt's Dad so much she wants to stay with them the next time we visit!  I'm still proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone.  Normally dark (anywhere) and small spaces (which thankfully most of this cave was pretty open) would have sent me into a tail spin.  But I tried and found I was really happy.  

The second story comes from a little more resent.  A few weeks back someone asked me to speak at a meeting.  I'm not sure if you have heard of MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers) but it's a great organization to help mom's get through the preschool years and give them a break.  So this person asked if I would like to speak to the women about meal planning & money saving grocery tips.  Now, I meal plan & I grocery shop but I am NOT an expert!  I am in no way a pro at it and did NOT feel like I could speak to a group of women about it.  So I asked her if I could pray about it and let her know.  I started praying, "Dear God give me a reason not to do this!"  Well He never gave me a reason not to but gave me a few of why I should.  What if you help someone through a hard time? What if your knowledge helps another person with their shopping or preparation? What if seeing your plan gives someone hope? FINE!  So I let this person know that yes in fact I would speak.  As the days got closer for me to share I got more and more nervous.  I made notes of the general things I wanted to talk about and even talked to myself in the mirror several times about a certain topic.  Then the evening before and the morning of I was a wreck.  I'm surprised I slept at all.  My nerves just got the better of me (hello anxiety!) But I got up, started praying and didn't stop until way after I was done sharing.  I felt like I talked 90 mph.  I used my hands all the time and I swear at one point I think I started to levitate I was flapping around so much.  BUT I got through it!  I shared most everything I wanted to share and answered a few questions (including how to milk a corn cob!).  I got to spend a little time with some friends I haven't seen in ages & suck back enough coffee to fuel a small car.

I'm saying all of this to maybe encourage someone to step out and do something you wouldn't normally do. If you have been wanting to do something or feel like you should do something, GO DO IT!  This is your sign, your encouraging word, your hit on the head.  YOU need to go do that thing you have been scared of and putting off.  It will change your life or someone else's life!  You never know what your courage can mean to someone close (or far) from you. 

Phil 4:6&7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Love, Lacey