Last year, my boys fell in love with soccer. They talked about it all the time. They kicked a ball—any kind of ball—around all the time. And they kicked balls everywhere, including the house. We lost a few good picture frames due to soccer “practice”. When their dad and I finally decided to sign them up for soccer, they were overjoyed.
My younger son was signed up to play in the youngest age group. The group was just learning the basics of soccer: how to kick, how to keep the ball moving, how to block a goal, how to stay on the field, how to remember you are actually playing on a team—in a game (and yes, Peyton forgot he was playing in an actual game quite often! He seemed to think he was a superstar in a movie or something—it was pretty entertaining to see his crazy moves, if I do say so myself…J).
Due to his age, Parker, my older son ended up in the 6-8 year old league. For this age group, there was an “evaluation” night, just so the coaches could see where the players’ strengths and weaknesses were and sort of “even out” the teams. Parker was very excited about starting soccer, and on evaluation night we headed to the field with great expectations. As soon as we walked onto the field, Parker began looking at all of the players. Lots of players had on old uniforms and were dribbling the ball around cones or kicking back and forth. There were also older soccer players already practicing and warming up. Parker began to realize that these other, more experienced soccer players knew more than he did about soccer, and he decided on the field that he was not going to do the evaluations!
My reasoning with him did no good. I tried to point out that the bigger kids were not part of his team. I told him I’d wait for him right beside him, that I’d “go with him” through the evaluations. I even left out the word “evaluation” and told him it was just like a practice. He was not budging.
Finally, I told Parker we could leave. He really was just frozen with fear of failing, of the unknown that came from this first-time experience. As we left the field, he began crying, and it wasn’t because he didn’t want to be at soccer practice. He was crying because he wanted to play soccer so badly, but he absolutely knew that he was not going to do the evaluations due to his own conceived notions that he wouldn’t do well.
I could’ve forced him to do the evaluation, since we signed up, and “we’re not going to be quitters”. But my mother heart was so heavy for him. I felt his pain.
Because he is just like me.
I knew exactly how he was feeling. I know how it feels to be paralyzed with fear, even when you want to experience something so badly. Even when you know you were born for this moment.
In the end, it was no big deal that he missed the evaluations. Parker got to play soccer, and he learned so many new things. He loved every minute of it and became a good little soccer player! I was so proud of my boy for playing through his fear. Our family had lots of talks about learning new things, practicing new things, and participating even when we felt like we weren’t the best one. Each time we talked, I felt a prick on my own heart. I felt like my own words were meant for me.
How many times have I missed out on opportunities because of my fear? Fear of failure, fear of mistakes, fear of the unknown.
I want to be good at things. I’m a bit of a perfectionist…okay, I’m a LOT of a perfectionist. My sister told me one time that I should be the president of The Overachiever’s Club.
I tend to only want to do things that I’m good at. I used to only sing with tracks, because I’m not the best piano player. I used to hold my words inside my own heart, because they are not always the best laid out stories or the most flowing words. I used to pass up invitations to participate in wonderful writing and singing events because I was frozen with stage fright.
I began to think that since I was born with this shy disposition, this personality of an introvert, that maybe I wasn’t meant to share my words through singing and speaking.
Do you ever feel this way? Is fear holding you back from doing what God has planned for you to do?
Because we may have been born like this—fearful, trembling, imperfect. But we weren’t made for this. We were made for more than wishing for missed opportunities. We were made for more than longing to be who we think we can’t be.
God made us for a special purpose. Yes, it’s true that we are not perfect. We are not always going to be “the best one”. As a matter of fact, it’s okay when we are not the best one. In the bible, God says “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness”(2 Corinthians 12:9).
Why do I want to be the best one when God is the best One? He says that we can boast in our weaknesses, so that His power can work through us. The less there is of Paige Givens, the more of Jesus Christ there can be.
When Parker was out on that soccer field, his fear held him captive, even though I told him I was right there with him. There have been countless times that I’ve ignored the presence of my Father, who is right there beside me, because my fear was so great.
I remind myself today that it is enough to trust in Jesus. It is enough to take Him at His word and rest in the promise that He’s going to take care of me and my fear. He knows what is unknown. His strength is perfect in my weakness.
Fear used to hold me back from sharing words that He had whispered to my heart to share with others. Now, I’m trusting in Him and pushing through the fear.
What about you? What has fear held you back from? I’d love to hear from you below. What are you pushing fear aside in order to accomplish through the Lord’s strength today?
Don’t miss out on the beautiful opportunities that He has created you to experience!