A couple of nights ago, my ten year old daughter was hovered over the toilet feeling so sick but terrified to actually throw up. Through her tears she kept saying, “I think it’ll make me feel better but I’m just so scared!” At one point as I was sitting next to her on the bathroom floor, she asked me to pray with her. I offered a prayer that my girl would be able to be brave, and to start to feel better soon. She kept saying she was so scared, so I asked her what she was afraid of. “It might hurt my throat. I just hate throwing up!” Instead of trying to fix it for her, I asked her what was wrong with being afraid. Is it ok to feel scared? She calmed down a bit and answered that it wasn’t that bad to feel afraid and that she was ok with it. After awhile she wanted to go to bed, and a couple hours later she woke up, threw up, and went back to sleep.
This got me thinking about how we totally freak ourselves out around perceived danger. We get ourselves so worked up that it can even make us more physically sick than we were before! Think of having a bad headache. We are so anxious about going to work with a bad headache that we tie our stomach all in knots with anxiety about it, and we still have the headache! With my daughter, once she just settled into feeling uncomfortable, she was able to rest, and allow her body to do its thing.
Is there something you want or need to do but are tied up in knots about it? What if you just felt the fear, allowed the process to unfold and ripped off the band-aid? What’s the worst thing that can happen? Can you handle that worst thing? I think you can. And think how much your confidence in your ability to do hard things will grow.
I have had lots of opportunities lately to feel very uncomfortable (we are in the midst of multiple life-changes) and am doing my best to just feel it. It’s ok to feel yucky sometimes, and to move forward anyway. I’m grateful for the constant examples kids give us to grow and improve by their own examples of courage!