The Fear Breakout: What’s Inside?


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The word competitor and it’s definition scare me. Like wet my pants right now scares me. When I get afraid thinking about competition in a sport (my sport happens to be Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it’s like wrestling) , these are the kind of things I catch myself saying, …

“That’s just not me.”

“I love that other people can bring it like that, but that’s just not in me. I’m so not wired to be aggressive.”

“Nothing about me ever wants to compete with others … I’d rather play solitaire or Sudoku where I’m my only competition, (laughing to myself as I say), because no one can bring it to myself like I can (nervous chuckle) … says the recovering perfectionist.”

But lately I’ve allowed myself to put this card with the word competitor written on it on the table for discussion. I’ve starred at it, tilted it on its side, flipped it, and examined it against the feelings it provoked in my heart. Why does it have so much power, come on people, the word immediately activates my bladder like please give this girl some DEPENDS before she has an accident. 😉

But why?

Is it really that the world is full of people who have a competitive edge and those who don’t?

Do I have a legitimate out and excuse because I’m on the pre-destined B team (Non-competitive team) by birth and personality make-up or type?

Dr. Caroline Leaf a brain specialist and researcher says that our thoughts are either motivated by love or fear. She shows a diagram of a healthy thought and it looks like this healthy branch and then she shows a toxic thought motivated by fear and it’s this black withered up tree looking thing.

Every time I think about fear winning the battle in my mind I think about my brain being full of all these toxic thoughts that look like black weeds and it upsets me. Something begins to rise up in me that says, “Heck NO! You don’t win … I win! I have the power to choose, you ugly trees don’t get to choose me.”

It’s in moments like this, I scare my own self … but I’d rather be the one scaring me than bowing to the same fears that kept me passive for years.

The fears that told me not to try things I wasn’t good at because failure is embarrassing. I let that fear became a truth to me when I was in 4th grade when it was my turn to unscramble words at the chalk board during a brain puzzle game competition and I froze. I couldn’t get one word right for my team and I still remember the way it felt when my team was disappointed in me because they lost. I also believed in that moment that there are people that can do some things that others can’t. I made this little promise in my heart to never feel that way again, so I changed the way I navigated my life so I wouldn’t.

That seems minor until it’s met with bigger and bigger experiences that seemed to validate it as a truth because as a young person trying to figure out who she was never questioned the reality of it’s truth.

Then there a really big deals, those ones society teaches you not talk about, more out of fear of making others uncomfortable. And I apologize in advance if my story does that for some people but there is one thing I want to say to anyone one who has had a traumatizing event happen in their life, who have come through abuse and survived, addiction and survived, I speak to the survivors of truly difficult circumstances … do not for one moment spend your life saving others from your story and never take the time to be saved yourself. People will get over it, they will make it, but most of all … you are worth getting your voice back, your hardships are worth being validated so you are no longer trapped in time in those place you were hurt. It’s necessary and important to go back and set that person free from the past.

I remember when it would make people feel uncomfortable in church settings when I would talk about the years I was addicted to crystal meth, a street drug. I would get the feeling from some like, “Do you have to keep talking about it, that is in the past like everything is good now, so, let’s talk about the good stuff.”

Ya, I have to talk about it.

Because it’s how I truly found Jesus and His love.

I had been sold some Jesus over the years, I had been sold church, but it was when the love of God overcame me in a country bathroom when I was 19 years old (strung out on drugs), that He won my heart over with the words, “I will do wonders in your life.”

I didn’t buy into Jesus, I fell in love with Him with my life.

It was His love and free grace that marked my heart, and I’m gonna have to talk about that forever.

And truly, now, so many know that about me and I think the only thing that throws people off guard a little is how open I am about talking about being raped when I was 15 almost 16 years old, it was my first time having sex. I know, that’s harsh … right?!?! It wasn’t a stranger, it was someone I knew and liked from school. It wasn’t a maybe she means yes kind of no, it was a stop trapping me, I’m hitting your chest, I’m yelling “NO!’ loudly, I’m crying and I’m fighting. I fought and I lost. (If you want to read more of that healing story you can read that here, because that is not all this blog is about.)

This was beyond a fear of trying, this was a fear of protecting myself and losing, I made a promise to myself to not fight because fighting and losing was worse that just giving in. I know, screwed up, but that’s how abused people begin to self protect and that’s why it is important to tell your story and go back and deal with the truth about the situations you’ve been through.

Just like I deserved to know it wasn’t my fault, that I was worth more than what happened to me and that my voice mattered, in the same way anyone that has gone through hardships deserves the same freedom.

It may seem weird that it’s so easy for me to talk about, but it’s truly because those things just don’t have power over me anymore because I went back, took the shame away from the me that went through those things, let myself grieve the things that happened to me and also deal with choices I myself had made.

You see what has happened to me is not who I am. What I have done cannot define me or tell me who I am. I actually have legitimate excuses to be jacked up by fear and if I let them master me I’d live like a victim, but I’m not a victim. I am one who frees and overcomes. I believe that is in you too.

I spent too many years passive, too many years were I gave in and gave up because of fear.

I say it for all of us:

No more.

It. Is. Time.

To move past the past.

It’s a fear break out!

For me it looks like pushing myself to put myself out there to fail, to train at a sport I took up at 36 years old. To be more aggressive as a competitor when I don’t even know if that is inside of me. But I deserve to find that out about myself. So I’ve decided to dare to wrestle that out in front of others literally, to harness my inadequacies, weaknesses and fear into strength … who knows (I sure as heck don’t) what that is going to look like on the other side. Maybe I’ll  choose to lay it on the line and put it all out there and lose a whole bunch, maybe I win some and lose some and maybe I win. I’m going to train like I want to win because just the first step in the right direction is winning for me. Overcoming fear looks like winning to me, over my thoughts, over my fears!

My coach said to me one of his favorite quotes from me is, “Greatness is in everyone,” that meant a lot to me, like A LOT. Well, number one because I truly and passionately believe that in my heart and that it actually translates, that’s always cool. Secondly, that what I truly believe would come back thru someone else to deeply encourage me, that’s even cooler.

It’s my turn to believe that new greatness that I haven’t seen before is in me.

Maybe it’s time for you to believe that about you too!

I believe it’s how we work being strong out in our lives, when we allow ourselves to be challenge by God’s truths about us and our situations. I’m not going around talking all this new stuff about living the STRONG life and then I’m not over here working it out in my life too. It doesn’t work that way. We need each other, especially those who know God to talk about it so we can grow to new places. A leader is simply a person that says, “I’ll go first,” so he can take others where they have traveled and maybe, hopefully, remove some of the unnecessary obstacles for others to cross over into stronger lives themselves.

So in the presence of fear and a need to maybe wet my pants, I’m stepping up to the mat in my heart, with my little card in my pocket that says competitor on it and I’m saying …. “Let’s go diggin’! Let’s find out what is really in there.”

I know you have your own “mat” to step up to in your life, I pray you have the courage in the face of your fears to go after that thing God is holding out to you saying, “Come and get it!” I believe in your ability to hear God and do it! Everyone is worth finding out the GREATNESS that is inside of them.

Great LOVE! ~Ris (Marissa Star)

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