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I was in fourth grade when my (amazing) teacher, Mrs. Titus, first mentioned the quote, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” She told us, her wee 9-year-olds, about how scared she had been to get her wisdom teeth out. But then she quoted FDR, and explained how really, there was nothing to be scared about, other than being embarrassed of how she’d sang Christmas carols while under the anesthesia.
A few weeks ago, I joined the Y. After weeks of having back pain that wouldn’t relent, I was fed up. It’s time to at least attempt to lose the baby-baby-baby-marriage weight I’ve gained in the past 10 years. I didn’t start out thin before babies, but since 2004 I’ve wandered into plus-size territory and feel like my health has definitely gotten worse.
I’ve always avoided group exercise classes. Because I’m afraid of being a fool. I am not coordinated, and thinking back on my freshman year of college crash-course on modern dance (where all the other dancers had years of ballet training versus my NOTHING) can still make me shudder. I don’t want others looking at me and laughing at my ineptitude. Period.
But I’m in my 30s now, and the waves of self-consciousness have begun to dissipate. The less I worry about others’ opinions, the better I feel in general.
Still, one morning, I mentioned on Facebook I wanted to go to a water aerobics class but I was worried about being the fool. I had so many supportive comments (I can’t find the thread!), and one stood out from my friend Tiffany. She told me to consider how often I thought about the other people when I was exercising. Probably NOT AT ALL. And yeah. Totally true.
I found that I adore water aerobics. I am usually the youngest person by 30 years, but who cares? It’s great exercise, it’s easy to adapt, and I’ve found everyone to be very friendly and helpful. I’ve been to classes with at least four different instructors, and they’re all challenging in different ways.
Just like Mrs. Titus told me, there wasn’t anything to fear. Fear is uncomfortable, but the place past fear generally isn’t nearly as scary as it seems. The cycle of fear is where more fear dwells. And we can choose to live there. Or choose to move on.
In his (wonderful) book Quitter, Jon Acuff writes, “90 percent perfect and shared with the world always changes more lives than 100 percent perfect and stuck in your head.”
For a long time, I’ve been working on this devotional-thingy. And it’s pretty much done. It’s been pretty much done since May or so. And with all the excuses I’d like to lay on you, the truth is that I am simply afraid to publish it. I’m afraid no one will buy it, it won’t make any sense, I will have put a lot of effort into something that helps no one.
But dwelling in the Land of Fear is doing nothing for anyone, myself included. If the devotional helps one person, it will be well worth it. Any proceeds will be donated, so I’m not worried about making money. And I believe it is God’s. So whatever He does with it, it’s in His hands. Not mine.
So look for it in the next couple weeks. I’m ready to release words into the wild and leave the fear behind.