Last year my daughter was 4, and finally old enough to go to Vacation Bible School at her grandma’s church (which happens to be in Tulsa, OK ~ 2 and a half hours away from our house). Her Grandma asked nicely (repeatedly and over and over) if Hanna could come to Tulsa for a week to go to Bible school with her cousin (who was coming up from Texas).
Well, let me tell you. I completely freaked out at this suggestion… my baby? A whole week? She’s only 4!! Oh hell no. As time went on, I softened a little, and in the end made my husband go with her. 😉 She had a blast and none of my fears (which are probably wildly unreasonable) came to fruition.
Fast forward to this year. My baby girl is now 5 and her Grandma has again been asking if she can come to Tulsa for a week for VBS again this year. Again, her Aunt and Cousin will be coming up from Texas. My first instinct is “well… maybe” this year, instead of the complete freak out I had last year.
Here’s where it gets a little funky.
The other Grandma starts whispering in my ear. The other Grandma (who happens to be MY mom) starts putting doubts, and fears and anxiety in my brain. Then I start to fester on those fears. Then when the time comes around to actually give them an answer the answer is “only if I come with her”. Um.. hello… I do not particularly want to spend 10 days at my in laws house. Nice people ~ but I have a business to run and yeah, 10 days is a LONG time.
I’m sitting here thinking about all the points that have been brought to my attention. Pondering them. Fussing over them. Then one day I started thinking about whether I really had those worries, or not. I quickly realized I didn’t really have those worries. Someone else’s worries had infiltrated by brain ~ and I’m generally a bit of a worrier, so it’s pretty easy to do.
However, when I thought about the situation ~ without the infiltrated tidbits ~ I wasn’t really worried at all. I think she’ll be fine. She’s grown a lot this year. She’s much more independent than she was last year. She’s going off to kindergarten next year. She is enjoying being more independent… I think she actually deserves this chance.
Hmm… as I’m thinking about all of this I stop and take note of what my body is doing. What am I feeling. Is my chest tight? I’m I feeling anxiety? If so, what is really at the root of it? Is it about her safety? Is it about my fear? Is it really relevant to HER ~ or am I doing to her exactly what my mom did to me?
When I am open enough to really LOOK at what I’m feeling, where I’m feeling it and WHY, it starts opening boxes that I often keep closed. It opens boxes about my business, my life, my dreams, my marriage.
What fears am I letting infiltrate into those areas of my life, and are they really my fears, my doubts, my insecurities or are they coming from external sources? Am I following my heart ~ or am I letting other people lead the way?
It’s pretty easy to let little comments, hints, insinuations become part of what we think we believe. This is especially true if you think the person you’re talking to generally has your best interest at heart. If you find yourself stuck, anxious, or even freaking out over something in your life ~ it’s a good idea to stop, take a deep breath and look at what’s at the bottom of it. You may find your belief about this topic isn’t really your own at all. If that’s the case you can pretty easily relax and let it go, and figure out for yourself what YOU really think.
This morning I asked my kiddo what she thought about me and her Dad dropping her off in Tulsa and coming to get her next weekend. She immediately freaked out ~ oh no… you have to stay. Instead of feeding her fears I asked her to think about it. I told her I’d stay if she really wanted me to, but I thought she’d have a lot of fun with everyone in Tulsa even without me. I told her to take a little time, think about it and let me know.
What about you?
Are you taking on other people’s fears and calling them your own? Are you handing off your fears to your loved ones? What tricks do you use to make sure your fears are your own?
I’d love to know… please share your ideas in the comments below.