"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Plank Pullin': Fear

It’s Plank Pullin’ time! The one day a week that we strongly resolve to ignore the multitude of specks and sawdust around us and pull one bona fide plank from our own eye. Matthew 7:3-5, style.

Ever since I decided to start participating in Jessica's Plank Pullin' Thursdays, I've been unable to stop myself from keeping a running list in my head ("Oooh, that'd be a good plank to pull... I'll have to use that for a Plank Pullin' post... Wow, I really need to work on that. Maybe I should write about it...") At any given time, I have no less than half a dozen Plank posts in my drafts folder. And Wednesday night finds me looking through them, ultimately trying to pick the least painful, the least embarrassing, or the least revealing.

This week, I had a really good one. I had thought about it for days, writing it all out in my head. It would be my largest plank to date, and it would be by far the most difficult to get out. It was important, and it was personal.

But when it came time to write it, I froze. I couldn't do it. And the rest of the nuggets that I had saved as drafts? Couldn't write those either. I could give you all kinds of (made up) reasons for why that was the case, but the fact of the matter is, it all came down to one thing:


When I write or talk to those who are newcomers to unschooling or gentle parenting, I can talk with such confidence. People tell me their fears and I reassure them. I don't have fears when it comes to myself as a parent. And it's not because I think I'm a perfect parent (I'm not), or because I think I'm not ever going to make mistakes (I will), but because I trust myself as a mother. I trust my instincts, I trust my kids, I trust our relationship. Similarly, I always find myself the odd one out when unschooling discussions turn to fears... fears that they won't learn what they'll need to know, fears that they'll be undisciplined, fears that it's somehow going to screw them up. I don't share those fears either, because I trust unschooling too. It's so easy for me to say, "Let go of your fears," simply because they're not fears I have myself.

But. Outside of parenting and unschooling, outside that one area of comfort? I am afraid of everything. I am afraid of unfamiliar situations. I am afraid of making mistakes. I am afraid of saying the wrong thing. I am afraid of being judged. I am afraid of looking stupid. I am afraid of letting people see the real me. I am afraid of losing people I love. I am afraid of bad things happening to good people. I am afraid of so very many things. Some days, I am still that shy, fearful 16 year old that I was 21 years ago, and I so badly wish I wasn't.

I don't have to be afraid. I shouldn't be afraid, but sometimes it still gets the better of me. My hope and prayer is that someday it won't.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

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