“How Fear Of What Others Say Can Hinder Our Potential”
The heat of the sun, the sounds of water splashing on the concrete, giggles from the kids running through the water fountains, and the sound of a lifeguard blowing their whistle, are all apart of our Summer life. Making new friends as we are playing in a public area is also a great part of Summer! However, meeting other moms at a splash park or public area can bring about fears that are humbling to admit.
One thing that makes me tense, as a special needs mom, is the question, “How old is your daughter?” You see, I know that my child is not walking or talking as well as her typical (I really don’t care for that term) peers that are the same age. Many two year olds are speaking well enough to understand and are not only walking, but running. Savannah is two and just learning to walk well. I often feel the need to explain why Savannah is behind and then I find myself getting on an advocacy soap box. Why? I’d like to say it’s 100% because I’m seizing an opportunity to educate. Truthfully, it’s also because I fear judgment or pity. I don’t want pity for Savannah or our family. I want so desperately to let others know that Savannah will accomplish anything and for others to see her for her, not her challenges. For the most part, I believe most people do see how beautiful, smart, and loving Savannah is before anything else. The victories over the challenges she has will only shed a brighter light on her and The God we serve. If I lived in fear, I would rob so many of seeing the beauty of Down Syndrome and that it is not a scary thing! I wouldn’t have the opportunity to educate and encourage others in a unique way, by opening up our life publicly through photos, testimonies, and blog posts.
Fear of an opinion or criticism is not only for those associated with special needs. Fear of what others say can hinder our own potential and what we are called to do.
I have been in many circumstances that have rendered a “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” response. I’m sharing this because I want to encourage you, friend, to rise to your potential and be the best YOU, using the gifts God has given you! No matter what we do, there will be those that have something negative to say. Unfortunately, there will be those that reject you, ignore you, and gossip about you no matter how kind, loving, and hard working you are.
There was a time in my life that rejection almost crippled me. I loved, served, and “obeyed” one man in marriage while enduring controlling ways, verbal abuse, and at times physical abuse. I was always told it was somehow my fault. He filed for divorce after 23 years. God used my two daughters at the time as life preservers and they were the only reason I got out of bed every day. I have been the one to care for my daughters and have sole custody. To this day, not one member from our previous church and not one past family member have asked if we are ok or if we have a need. There were some that refused to even speak to me when I’d see them. Rejection and being ignored are two hard pills to swallow. However, I have learned so much and for that, I’m truly thankful.
I have had family unfollow me because I was “too happy”, “too religious” (which in fact I don’t even like “religion”. I simply love Jesus and am a Jesus follower).
I have had family unfollow me because they didn’t receive an invitation to a get together and on the opposite spectrum, I’ve had family members curse me out because I told them they were missed after not coming to an event they were invited to.
I have been harshly reprimanded for using a NIV version of the Bible instead of KJV in an encouragement note. (That one makes me laugh thinking back on it).
How can we keep others from saying and projecting negativity our way? We can’t. How can we keep from living in fear of what others say and think? We don’t say anything. We never step out on faith and never act on what we are called to do. We don’t do anything. We never open up and share what God has done in us and through us.
We give up living a beautiful life, having beautiful relationships, and serving others with love.
Or, we can surround ourselves with folks that are real and love us for us. We surround ourselves with the ones that speak in wisdom and love.
It is ok to put folks up in the balcony and love them from a distance. Not everyone deserves that front row seat in your life. It’s also ok to encourage yourself when no one else is around to do it! Don’t let someone else control who you are and arrest your potential. We have to decide to live our best life and be talked about, or not to live at all and be talked about!
Fear of what others say most definitely can cripple us and prevent mental, physical, and spiritual growth. That is not what God wants for us! He knows we will battle fear. That’s why He reminds us 365 times in His word to “FEAR NOT”!
I heard a quote the other day from Jay Shetty that sums up this post perfectly. “Don’t let compliments get to your head and don’t let criticisms get to your heart.”
I write about life and family. My heart's desire is to educate as I am being educated, while inspiring and encouraging others through the beauty of Down Syndrome.