|"Joy, look scared!" And this is what she does|
A year ago I was sitting in the lobby of a hotel-style bunk house at a women's retreat cutting out coupons during my free time. Being surrounded by a pile of coupon inserts has a way of starting conversations. The comments ranged from, "I just throw those things away without even looking at them" to "I wish I knew how to coupon." My sister-in-law and I were similarly horrified by the "throw them away" comments and wanting to help those who were clueless. We joked that next year at the women's retreat we should do a workshop on couponing.
Fast forward to this year and our "joke" turned into reality. We were asked by the retreat organizers to give a workshop on couponing and deal seeking. I jumped at the chance and said yes right away. I like couponing and I like telling people about it because I want to help others save money. I planned out my half of the workshop, got together a few resources, made up a hand-out that put it all together, and was ready to go. I didn't even stress about it for a second.
Six months ago this would not have been my response. I would have hemmed and hawed, thinking long and hard about getting up in front of a group of women and talking into a microphone. Sure, I am passionate about couponing, but a room full of women all looking at me! Could I get past the fear of public speaking in order to teach women a really useful skill???
On Sunday morning of the women's retreat, there is always time for personal sharing. This year a woman shared about how over the weekend she asked to be prayed with to be released from fear. She had a lot of fear over just about everything. I sat there in my seat looking at her, thinking, "That was me my entire life up until six months ago."
Fear of failure. Fear of going to new places. Fear of going up to even people I am really good friends with and starting a conversation. Fear of staying home alone, especially overnight. Fear of public speaking. Fear of letting my kids out of my sight. So many fears that consumed me and crippled me. I have asked for prayers from fear for years. I have been prayed over more times than I can count. But the fear never went away. I came to accept it as a part of me, defining who I am.
It wasn't until that moment, sitting in that room, listening to this woman share, that it hit me. I'd been freed. It snuck up on me when I wasn't even looking. I just gave a workshop the day before and not once did I feel sick to my stomach, stress over it, feel once ounce of anxiety. I was at the retreat itself, talking to lots of women, not stressing about who I'd talk to and what I'd say. Not hiding away in my room because I felt overwhelmed. I didn't even call my Hubby until late Saturday night to check in because I didn't have time until then because I was having too much fun!
This may only be week 8 of my 52 Weeks of New adventure, but I can already say that this project has been a success. I am doing new things, trying new things, having fun adventures, stepping off the ledge on a weekly basis.
Freedom feels really good.
Past posts in the 52 Weeks of New Series:
Week 1--Where It All Began
Week 2--New Cities and New Foods
Week 3--Hikes and Teaching
Week 4--Lunch Dates and New Mile Mark
Week 5--Fun with Fruit
Week 6--We Went to a Play
Week 7--Movies, Caramel Apples and Horses