Ditch the Fear

IMG_0142I’ve been thinking about writing this piece for a few months now and after a ditch diving experience I had a few days ago (as of last week, I’m embarrassingly part of the ditch club <—— hint hint, that’s me in the ditch overthere… but more on that later) I now had the PERFECT TITLE for this article that’s been simmering in my soul – it is time to write about… ditching the fear. Here we goooo:

Do you have any fears? Any phobias? Are they rational? Irrational? What do you do about your fears? Are they holding you back?

There are over 100 “legitimate” fears, or phobias, everything from fear of heights, dentists, tornadoes, teenagers (Ephebiphobia), public speaking and death to phobias of the figure 8 (Octophobia), stairs, pins and needles, plants (Botanophobia), clocks, colors, society… and on and on and on. Anyone want to guess what a Phobophobia is? The list is impressive, and hilarious (in a sadistic way – sorry), you can check more out here at www.healthline.com/health/list-of-phobias)

Most people have a FEAR of something, some more than others, and the severity varies too… some phobias are even life-debilitating. Luckily, my fears are not too extreme, not life-debilitating but they are annoying – to me. I know it is irrational, but it’s very real and apparent in my life and I decided I was going to do something about it! I remind myself this verse “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:27 (If you’ve never read this in Scripture – it’s a beautiful passage about worrying, perspective and the bigger picture in life – you can check it out here: Matthew 6:25-34 ). But although I pray about it and TRY to not have this fear – it still creeps in my mind. The fear I’m writing about today is my fear of performing in front of people,  playing my saxophone, glossosaxophobia (ok, I made that up – but glossophobia is fear of public speaking, and since I have a fear of public playing, figured it worked!). I’ve been playing for over 2 decades now. I love music. I love expressing myself through my instrument, I love learning sax solos and songs that I enjoy, I can pretty much play anything I hear – but to play in front of people puts my heart into a tailspin of panic. I feel nervous. I feel embarrassed. SO – I decided I wanted to conquer this fear and thought a great way to do this would be to try out for America’s Got Talent! Why not? If I’m nervous to play in front of my children and husband (who are my biggest fans – so complimentary and kind), then it’s time to go big – and that I did. IMG_6630I found out the closest audition location to my home and signed up for an audition in Louisville Kentucky.  I picked a song that was meaningful to me (Europa by Santana – my Dad (incredible guitarist) and I played it at my wedding, in lieu of a dance we had a “Daddy / Daughter Duet”), I practiced until it felt like my lip was going to bleed and prayed along the way. The day before my audition, once my kids got out of school, we packed up the car – and our new rescue dog – and hit the road. It was a 6+ hr drive which brought us into Louisville around 11p, checked into the hotel and I attempted to get some sleep. First thing Tuesday morning we packed up, checked out, I got extra coffee, we headed to the Convention Center and let me tell you – It. Was. An. Amazing. Adventure! AGT5Check-in was a breeze, security went by fast and we had such a great time WAITING ALL DAY. My check-in time was at 10:15a and they didn’t call me in for the audition until about 2:30p – but that was ok, it was great people-watching and I got to experience it all with my family. IMG_6650To be able to conquer a fear and pursue a dream, while modeling this for my children was a privilege and made it all worth it – we had an incredible time! 20191119_135352Ok, now onto the fun details of the audition… SPOILER ALERT, I didn’t make it to round 2, BUT that wasn’t really my goal anyway (at least this time, but after this taste of AGT fun, I will definitely be auditioning again next year – anyone want to join me?). AGT4There was a large holding room that everyone waited in until their group was called back, which after hours of observation we deducted it was about 50 acts at a time, every 45 minutes or so. Everyone was in this room, practicing, getting ready, talking, performing, doing acts for all the camera crews – I’d sign up for auditions again just to hang out there. People were yodeling, jump-roping, march banding, baton twirling and there was even like a 100 old woman, all decked out, tap dancing too. Lots of guitars, singers, and dancers – but I only saw 1 other saxophonist. I was fascinated with it all, ESPECIALLY the gear, as a photographer I was intrigued and in awe with all their cameras and equipment, it was insane! IMG_6620Well when my group was called (seemingly according to check-in time, not act or anything like that), we went and lined up out outside of the room. Then they broke us down further into groups of 8-12 acts. At this point – no family or friends are allowed (only guardians of minors), and no cell phones/cameras. Our groups then went into a different area and WAITED some more – let me tell you my nerves felt fried by this time. 20191119_135841After what felt like too long – our entire group went into a long, empty rectangular room with 1 table and a producer with her laptop. There was a row of chairs along the wall, we all sat down and each took a turn auditioning. Funny story about this particular group; there was an older, differently-abled gentleman (he was smaller and had a deformed arm from what I could see) and he started off the auditions, went to the “X” marked on the ground and was ANGRY! He was accusing the producer of this not really being the audition, asking if it was rigged. We thought he was a comedian, telling bad jokes or something, we were all really confused – then he cussed her out and stormed out of the room. She had to call security (and we had to wait some MORE). Anyways, it was weird – I’m sure they see really weird things throughout the days. Well in my group, I was the only musician, there was a magician (who was awesome) and the rest were singers, who (almost all) were incredible – I have no idea how they go about picking the talent for the next round, there was so much talent there!
IMG_6682And that was that. After my 90 second audition, we were all dismissed, went back to the holding room, I gathered my family and we left. IMG_6656We went on a little exploring, doggie relief, quick souvenir shopping adventure and then across the street for dinner – which might have been my highlight of the day – the Old Spaghetti Factory! IMG_6677Unrelated sidenote: OSF is my favorite restaurant, I have so many wonderful memories celebrating with my family growing up going to the Gaslamp, San Diego location. When I moved to Northern California I continued the tradition and enjoyed OSF for any occasion I could (I was so sad to learn that there is not an OSF in Ohio, so to celebrate my audition with my family there that night, was definitely a highlight)!IMG_6687We drove back home that night and I feel like that whirlwind 24 hour experience really did help me – and I am continuing to take steps to work through my glossosaxophobia. Let me tell you, stepping into fear/anxiety/uncomfortableness really enhances prayer – well it does for me. I meditate and pray and remind myself that is Him who makes me strong, I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.  I will not let this hold me back from using my gifts and talents for the greater good, whatever I am called to do. I have also come to accept that this may never go away. I was speaking with an incredible musician a few years ago, the worship leader at one of the churches I went to, and he told me he gets nervous and anxious each and every Sunday he leads worship. I was amazed and couldn’t understand how such a talented man could feel nervous after so long. So I will move forward, ditching my fear.

Ok, circling back to the ditch part of this blog… I kind of have a fear of driving, ehophobia-ish. Well, it’s not too bad anymore, luckily, because I have to do it everyday, but ever since I had my eye incident a few years ago and my vision became impaired – I feel really nervous about driving. It’s such a shame and something I had to mourn because I absolutely loved driving; I loved road trips, was the first to volunteer for a carpool or road trip, I loved to just drive and listen to music, but my vision isn’t what it was. It’s impaired. My depth perception is off. I am sensitive to light. I see weird shadows and stuff. It’s not a danger, I just have to really concentrate and visually overcompensate when I drive, and it can be exhausting.

When we planned to move across the country and live somewhere else, I had a major fear of DRIVING – probably the only thing I was scared about with this whole big move! I thought about having to learn everything new, all new roads and highways and streets and directions (which I’m directionally impaired as it is, that’s nothing new though). And then there was the snow – I’ve NEVER driven in snow. So as we were preparing to move, the months leading up to this, I’d find my mind slipping into fear, the unknown. This really helped calm my heart; “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34. I had to consciously keep reminding myself not to worry. The more I thought about it, the more I worried. So I didn’t – I had to stop myself from worrying about tomorrow and falling into that rabbit hole of the unknown fearwhat good was it doing? When we moved, I dealt with it then. And I just took it one day at a time. I learned. I drove with GPS. And soon enough I drove without GPS all the time. And when it started snowing, I practiced sliding and braking and slipping in empty parking lots. And it was ok… until a few days ago. I was driving the kids home one sloppy snowy night and fishtailed, slipping and sliding, into a ditch. It was a helpless feeling. Thank God there were no other cars around, no one and nothing got hurt. All in all, it was a best-case scenario and after we got home all the jokes and laughs started. We were all ok. It was ok. Until the next day, I felt that fear creep into my psyche again. I don’t want to live with fear – it’s scary, literally. Which is why I’m blogging this today. IMG_7677My 13 year old son had fun with the memes

DITCHING THE FEAR! We can’t let fear run our lives. We can’t let fear dictate what we will and will not be willing to do. We can’t let fear hold us back just because of the “unknown”, or what might happen, or what could happen, or imaginary worst-case scenarios.  Don’t worry about tomorrow!  If you have a fear that’s holding you back, maybe it’s something you’ve always wanted to try, or do, or experience – but have been letting fear grip the desires of your heart, the calling of your life… I pray my story has touched you and inspired you to go out and conquer your fear! I’d love to know – what are you scared of? What makes you uncomfortable but maybe something you’ve been thinking about or wanting to do? Our enemy uses our fears to hold us back and keep us from doing incredible things, using our fear of the unknown and the allure of wanting to stay “comfortable”, against us. Let’s work towards ditching our fears and look to Him through our weaknesses.

“…Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.” 2Cor 12:19


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