Do you remember the moments you were truly afraid? I think about it sometimes. My mother called me a crystal child. Things very easily upset or frightened me.The list of these things piled up for my young tender self. I feared going outside in the dark, zombies, dinosaurs and cloaked wraiths: things which were big, uncontrollable which could engulf me and take me away. I am not sure I’ve changed so much since I have grown older. I no longer fear those old movies or silent terrors but there are times when I feel myself stop, tremble and cover my head because of fear.
I thought of it today as I did yoga at my studio. I was already out of sorts so as I went through the usual postures and movements, it didn’t take long for me to start comparing myself to others who were more. . . “accomplished” then myself. The teacher called for a lot of handstands. I did not do a single one. I realized I had a problem when she demonstrated a wide legged handstand by the wall. To do the position I would need to pace my hands about half a foot from the wall, set my head firmly on the wall itself and with my legs wide kick up into the inversion.
I went by the wall, positioned myself and before I even attempted the jump I simply knelt down. I watched other students go in and out of it. It was in that moment I knew I was afraid. It didn’t just manifest itself there, it progressed throughout the whole session and by the end of it I was close to tears.
I know it wasn’t about the difficult postures. It was the jump, into the unknown. This jump and seeing others succeed froze me. I could literally picture all my life failures and I decided instead of taking the risk to give up and not try.
Perhaps that is what I needed from yoga today; to see my physical self so I can understand my mental self. Funny thing is, they are one and the same.
I have always been afraid of making mistakes. The examples are countless and the results are the same. That is, unless you look at those times where I didn’t give in to the fear, but fought through it. How else could I have moved to Idaho, finish college, become a teacher with no prior experience or even learn Russian?
In my last post not too long ago I didn’t know where I was going. Now I do. So why am I so afraid?
Thinking on it, I am faced with my same self from my mission who had feelings she did not want to admit and who was moving from a traumatic experience in a previous area. It was then that I had a dream. I share this dream because I feel someone needs to read it. It is a very special, sacred experience for me.
In my dream, I and another girl were being chased by someone, who I knew wished the worst for us. Eventually, he caught up to us in a room, where we had nowhere else to run. He looked at us, a well-dressed red haired man, and like a charismatic snake-oil salesman stated he would give us anything we ever wanted. All we needed to do was give our full selves to him. Our agency and will so to say. The other girl seemed as though she would give in to his offer. I couldn’t believe she would do such a thing.
I listened to him and knew I would never accept his offer, so instead of answering I asked him questions: What would happen to us if we agreed? Would we ever gain control of ourselves again? Each time I did this he grew angrier. Shimmers of a darker being would flicker like black shoots from him. Finally, he looked at me and said, “Why don’t we pray? You pray don’t you? Why don’t you say it, since you are so confident of yourself.”
So I started to pray, he grew closer and closer to me almost skin to skin, mocking everything I said. I was afraid. Terribly afraid. But instead of praying in English I began instead to speak in Russian. The more I focused my heart and words the angrier this being became, but I also gained more confidence.
Finally I looked at this dark, angry man and said, “We belong to Christ and you have no power over us.” That was when the facade was gone and we could finally escape. He lost his form, revealing himself for the twisted nightmare he was and I and the girl ran. We ran far and hard, always knowing he was not far behind us.
Before I knew it, I no longer was an adult, but a child. I ran along my old hallway from our old house in St. Johns to my parents room. My father and mother were in the bed and the room was chaotic, cluttered and I felt disoriented. I looked up at my father, terrified and said, “Dad, I need help.”
He looked at me and asked what was wrong. I told him, “Someone is coming, you can’t imagine how horrible! What do I do?”
Calmly, even as I could hear the nightmare coming my father told me, “Faith and fear cannot reside in the same heart together. Do you believe?”
It was then I woke up.
I’ve reflected many, many times on this dream and told a few select people of my experience. I write about it now so as to voice the battle I and every person must fight. This is a battle to face our fears with FAITH. But we need not face these fears alone. In Philipians 4:13 Paul stated, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
The longer I live, the stronger my conviction that God is real. That Jesus Christ really did die and lives for us. Because these things are true means we have bigger, and grander things to look forward to in times to come.
It makes me think of a scene from The Prince of Egypt, where Moses talked to multiple Hebrews after turning through God’s power the river to blood.
Yes, Aaron, it’s true. Pharaoh has the power. He can take away your food, your home, your freedom. He can take away your sons and daughters. With one word, Pharaoh can take away your very lives. But there is one thing he cannot take away from you: your faith. Believe, for we will see God’s wonders.
As I face my own challenges, I hope I can find the courage and faith to continue moving forward. For those facing their own trials, I hope you and I can move forward with this faith. That we may believe in good things to come.