Hey there beautiful, I have a question for you. WHAT DOES FEAR LOOK LIKE TO YOU? You might be thinking “Oh I’ve got so many fears I can’t even list them all. I'm afraid of flying, spiders, heights, and so much more.” Well yeah, I am too. But I’m not talking about those kinds of fears. What fear keeps you from doing the thing that you love the most? What fear is keeping you from doing that thing that will take you a step closer to your future? What fear is keeping you from talking to your long-time crush? What fear is holding you back from being all who God created you to be? It could be fear of disappointing people, not being good enough, scared of failing that big thing… anything that is keeping you from doing something is a nasty fear.
I have a confession. I’ve given into those fears, on multiple occasions. But here's just one specific time that I did. I have been a competitive dancer for the past six years. My second year competing as a soloist, I wasn't so sure of myself. This was also my first year going up against someone from my studio in the same age division as me, and it was definitely messing with me. I had a LOT of self-doubt, insecurity, feeling like I wasn't good enough, and fearing I was going to fail. I was overthinking everything. “I’m going to mess up. The judges are going to think I’m terrible. I should have practiced more. I’m not going to be as good as her and lose to her. I’m not nailing all my tricks. I’m scared I'm going to fail. I can’t do this.”
I was filling my mind with negative thoughts for weeks before our first competition of the year. I had convinced myself that I was going to fail either way, and I was starting to not want to compete at all. We got to our competition, and all our group dances were first and then my solo was in the evening. If you know me, I much prefer to get the hard things over with first. So, of course this made me 10 times more nervous. I got all my group dances over with; they went great. I felt good. But in the back of my mind I was still telling myself I wasn’t going to be able to do this.
After our awards were presented for our group dances, I had about a 5-hour break until I performed. Isn’t that just great for someone who was already overthinking everything? My dad tried everything to keep me distracted. We went to the mall, we shopped, ate lunch, but it just wasn’t working. It was too late. About two hours before I was meant to go on stage, i was bawling in the lobby of the competition telling my dad I was not going to do it. I couldn't. He had to call my coach and explain to her what was going on. She wanted us to wait for her to come back so she could talk to me, but I was too humiliated to stay and we ended up leaving and going all the way home with me not performing that day.
I knew I had disappointed my team, my teacher, my dad, but especially myself. Why did I do that knowing how I would feel in the end? Because I gave into my FEARS! I let my overthinking, self doubt, and fear of failing take over me. Something my dad said to me that day has stuck with me ever since that happened. He said “Lauren, how do you know you’re going to fail if you don’t even try? You didn’t even give yourself a chance. Even if you did go out there and mess up or even lose to the other girl, at least you went out there and you TRIED!”
After that weekend, I had a decision to make. Was I going to give into my self doubting thoughts and fears, OR was I going to rise up, not let the fears and doubts bring me down, and next time go out there and give it my all ?? Well, I’m sure you can guess what i did.
I went to my family counselor, who has been treating me for about five years now and explained to her what happened and why it did. She told me why I was feeling that way and gave me some pretty awesome tools to use for the next time I was going to perform. The one that helped me the most was self talk. It didn’t matter if it was out loud or in my mind, as long as I was saying positive things to myself to give me the confidence to go out there and do the best I can. She encouraged me to have a list of quotes or things I say to myself that give me that confidence, so my dad whipped me up one real quick. I now carry it with me to any competition I have and read it before every performance.
The rest of that season, I got up on that stage and gave it my all. I didn't let my fear get the best of me again. Even though I got out there and performed, I didn't do too hot in awards. I got the lowest placement in adjudication awards and did not place all season. Did I let that pull me down again? It may have discouraged me a bit, but what it really did was make me push harder. I trained like I never had and pushed to be the best I could be and made sure I was feeding myself positivity. The next year, with a whole new solo, at the competition I had backed out of, I went out there with all the nerves I was having and gave the best performance I could give. It may have not been perfect but let me tell you it felt so good to go out there and overcome all those fears. I was so overwhelmed with emotions that I started crying the moment I got off stage. I ran to my dad and hugged him and he thought I was disappointed in myself, but I told him, “I went out there and I did it.” Let me tell you, the amount of relief was unexplainable. And all that hard work paid off because I placed 6th overall and got the second highest adjudication award. It wasn’t amazing, but it was so much better than the year before and it felt so good. Ever since that one performance, I have never let my fear get to me again, no matter how hard it was, and it has paid off.
What am I trying to get across here? Am i telling you that it will all just go away if you just do those things and not let your fears get the best of you? Sadly, no. I still get extremely nervous on the days I have to compete my solo and my fears start pouring into my head. But you know how I stop it? Prayer. Worship. Self talk. I now listen to worship music until I get backstage and then I pray to God to give me the strength I need until the moment I walk out on stage. One of the things that helped me the most to find my confidence again was the scripture Philippians 4:13. It says “I can do ALL things through Christ who STRENGTHENS me.” God gave me the strength I needed to push through the things I was most afraid of, and He still does to this day.
The devil preys on your fears. It says in 1 Peter 5:8 that the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. He feeds you lies, and those lies fill your head and make you back away from things that you're most afraid of. Don’t give into it. Put on the helmet of salvation and keep a sound and peaceful mind; steer clear of the enemy's attacks.
To close I'd like to tell you this. I never thought I would get back up on that stage again; I had lost all faith in myself. But guess what?? God restored me of my strength; He gave me the motivation and drive to be all He created me to be. Maybe it's not getting up on stage for you, maybe it's something completely different. Whatever the devil is trying to tell you, whatever lies he's feeding you, DON’T LISTEN!! Listen to your God, fully trust in Him, and know He has an amazing breakthrough planned for you if you just fully submit yourself to Him.
So what about you? What kind of fears have you faced and how have you dealt with them? Tell me about it either on the Facebook, Instagram, or website page! All can be found under Girl, You’re Not Alone. I would love to hear your testimony! Always remember these things and know that Girl, You’re Not Alone!
~ Check out this song for a little extra encouragement! ~