Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Fantasy Fear

By Belinda

Last Friday we started our monthly manager's team meeting as usual, with prayer. As the person leading that part of the meeting asked for requests, I hesitated for a moment, then put up my hand. 

I explained to those on my team that didn't know, that I had stepped into the role of acting vice chair on a committee that I find intimidating (a role I have studiously avoided for many years)--and that in that role I was to represent the chair at a regional meeting that was going to be way out of my comfort zone. I confessed my nervousness and sense of inadequacy, while wondering if doing so was making me seem weak in their eyes. I did it anyway, because I needed prayer and because it was the truth after all.

On Sunday evening, at our Catalyst leadership development meeting we watched a half hour session by Patrick Lencioni on vulnerability. It was so good. Afterwards we all shared our own challenges. One person struggled with telling others the "kind truth." I shared my fear of embarrassment and fear of asking dumb questions. Two other people shared their fear of embarrassment and I would never have guessed they ever felt that way, in a million years! The effect that hearing other's vulnerability had on me was paradoxical. I felt a great tenderness towards both of them. 

Yesterday was the meeting I had dreaded. I was so nervous that I did deep breathing on the drive to the five hour meeting to help calm my beating heart and the butterflies in my stomach. One of my team had advised me with a smile, to "power dress." I laughed at that because I might have done that years ago! But this time I just dressed neatly and professionally, and forgot about the "power" part.

I walked into the room and everyone was so nice! People I hadn't seen for a while walked over and warmly welcomed me. The chair of the committee, a woman who is a veteran, having held varied roles of influence in our field over the years; came put over, put her hand on my shoulder and asked how I was.

The meeting was interesting all the way through and I found that I was actually enjoying it. I presented my brief report on behalf of the committee I represented and heard myself sounding confident and relaxed.

I asked a "dumb question" accidentally, and no one said, "That's a dumb question!" but answered it respectfully. I didn't melt.

At the end of the meeting as I chatted with someone before leaving, I confessed that I had felt nervous and intimidated before the meeting. He looked at me in puzzlement as if wondering what there could possibly be to feel intimidated by. I realized that my fear had gone away. I had been held in bondage by a fantasy.

This morning I wrote an email to my team to thank them for their prayers and to update them on the meeting. I told them that I had entered my personal "danger zone" and with God's help and their prayers, I had been victorious. I said that I knew they all had been moving out of their comfort zones lately and were facing new challenges that would stretch them; that I was with them in these challenges

More than one email came back thanking me for my transparency, and saying that they had "fronts" they hide behind, but underneath they have insecurities and often feel inadequate. 

My area of weakness turned out to be used to bind us all together more closely and to open up an opportunity for God to be my strength.


Anonymous said...

Oh my - do I relate to the fear of asking stupid questions. In fact, appearing stupid at all is a great fear of mine. My life is such that I don't have a lot going for me (world's standards - not God's) so I do cling to the mental abiities that God has given. Yet with the clinging comes the fear of losing. Don't get me wrong - I am not afraid to admit mistakes - but a mistake is not necessary from stupidity.

I've long been a believer in transparency. You just have to remind yourself how God sees you. There is nothing He doesn't see - and just who do we think we are fooling. People do relate to us better if we are real - warts and all.

Good on you for doing something you were not comfortable with naturally.

Interesting that you are experiencing lessons on vulernability when you are probably feeling very vulnerable and sensitive around the passing of your mom. God moves mysteriously - doesn't He.

Belinda said...

Anonymous, the more we admit our humanity and weakness, the more we are bound together in love. I am stumbling on this as a by product of this most recent adventure. The Enemy wants us to believe that others will sneer but really, that is a lie--I'm seeing that now, and beginning to believe it on the inside, too! :)

I hadn't thought of the connection with Mum's passing, but it is true that there is increased vulnerability because of that. Thank you so much for your contribution and for letting me know that someone out there relates! :)

Marilyn said...

I am just home from a conference which was good but tiring. I stopped to read JUST ONE blog post before turning in.

Two or three times this past wknd I heard myself sounding confident and relaxed in answering a question that usually makes me anxious. It really stood out to me, how I sounded different. I liked it, but wondered what caused the change. I think it connects with something you wrote:

"...I just dressed neatly and professionally, and forgot about the "power" part..."

Leaving the "power" behind, both in dress and in thought, not feeling a need to compete or sound more.......more ANYTHING....than I really am. More sophisticated, more knowledgeable, more sure, more experienced, more whatever. I think leaving the power part behind is key.

"I had been held in bondage by a fantasy." - He sets the prisoner free!

" I had entered my personal "danger zone" and with God's help and their prayers, I had been victorious. " - Amen!

We press on.
Thanks for this post. You've added to my thinking and living well!

- Marilyn

Belinda said...

Oh, Marilyn, welcome home from the conference--and wow, thank you for making this your "one blog post!"

"Amen" to all you wrote. Someone tonight mentioned Joyce Meyers exhorting us to "Do it scared." I love that. That is freedom.

Susan said...

Love this. I understand a lot more than I did before reading this.

It's very difficult to check in from Cuba as the internet is SO slow... This is my first chance, and so glad I did.

I can't tell you how close this hits right now... It takes some kind of vulnerability to stand up for Jesus (and witness with boldness) when you are SUCH an imperfect representative of Him, and so unknowledgable of His ways and you are in a sea of non-believers who are watching your every move.. No pretending -or pretense - possible. Thank you for praying. And for writing this.