We started swimming lessons yesterday. I've got a 14 month old that is fearless around the water and an almost 5 year old that cries in terror when his face gets wet in the bathtub. Both of them need the lessons for different reasons.
I've been mentally preparing G-Man for swimming lessons for a couple weeks. He talks a lot about how he's scared to go in the water. I talk a lot about how he needs to do it anyway (Feel the fear and do it anyway! Robisons can do hard things!). But the other day, I felt I needed to say something different. We talked about how when he was feeling afraid, he needed to remember that I wouldn't put him in a situation where he was in danger of getting hurt. And that when he felt afraid, he needed to listen to his swimming teacher and do exactly what she says. That he really needed to believe in her - because like me, she wasn't going to put him in a situation where he was in danger of getting hurt. I told him that if he could count on her and trust her, that he didn't need to feel afraid.
And as he neared the end of the swimming lesson where everyone jumps in the pool to the teacher and swims across the pool, the tears started coming. (I was trying really hard not to watch too closely so he would pay attention to his teacher.) He looked terrified. But he figured out a way to jump in that made him feel comfortable, and he swam with his teacher's help - crying all the way.
As we walked to the locker room, I told him I was proud of him. That I was so grateful to his teacher for helping him learn how to take care of himself and be safe in the pool. He grinned and said, "I know! I believed that she would help me, and she did! And I was only a little bit afraid at first."
Tonight, I was upset about something that happened earlier in the day. Something I have no control over. Something that as I watch it develop makes me afraid for the success of some of the projects I've been working on. And frustrated because there is nothing I can do about it.
Thank goodness for smart husbands who call you on the phone just when you need them to. He understood and listened to my frustration. He made me feel better about the projects I've been working on, since they are things I really feel like I'm supposed to be working on. And as I listened to him calm my fears, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for him and the partner he is and the role he plays in my life and in our family.
And with that, the fear was gone.
Gratitude and fear can't co-exist. And I'm so grateful for that reminder and that I have a new tool for moving through fear in my toolbox of life. When the unknown and the out of control start to press down on me, I'm going to find something to be grateful for and move through the fear to the place that I can walk forward in faith.
How about you? What tools do you use to move through moments of fear?