20. Why Your Fear is Totally Fine

Episode 20 – Why Your Fear is Totally Fine

Sometimes we give fear a bad reputation.  But, being willing to feel fear is a necessary skill to get out of our comfort zone and grow.  Whether you are preparing to leave on your mission, trying to do something on the mission you’ve never done before, or getting ready to come home you might experience fear.  

In this episode you will learn:  

•Where fear comes from
•Why it’s totally fine if we feel it
•Why fear isn’t an indication of preparedness
•Whether faith and fear can exist at the same time
•What to do with fear when it comes knocking 

Ever felt afraid?  Then dive right in to this episode.

0:00 Hey, what’s up everyone? It’s Jennie, the LDS mission coach and you are listening to the LDS mission Podcast, episode number 20. Why your fear is totally fine. I’m Jennie, the LDS mission coach, and whether you are preparing to serve a mission, currently serving a returned missionary or a missionary mama like me, I created this podcast just for you. Are you searching for epic confidence? Ready to love yourself and to learn the how of doing hard things? Then let’s go. I will help you step powerfully into your potential and never question your purpose again. It’s time to embrace yourself. Embrace your mission, embrace your life, and embrace what’s next. Hello, everyone, and welcome to the podcast. I am so excited to be hanging out with you today. Fall is in full swing. And the last few days have been very rainy, and dreary, which I don’t love. Even though I grew up in Seattle, you’d think I’d be used to the rain and the jury cloudy days, but it’s not my favorite. It actually starts to affect me a little bit. But today, it’s a gorgeous sunny October, afternoon. And I’m just so grateful when the sun decides to come back out. Lots of fun stuff going on around the Dildine home super fun that actually my kids who live in Provo are coming home this weekend to watch my son who’s competing in a band competition, which is always so awesome to watch. You know, it takes so much work to be in marching band. I don’t know if you know this, but it takes a lot of work and a lot of practice. And their big. last competition is this weekend, as well as Halloween, lots of Halloween parties, and trunk or treats going on. And so I thought it would be fun to do an episode about fear. Since we’ve got Halloween coming up. Many of us are going to be going to corn mazes, and zombie haunted mansions and watching all kinds of scary movies and all of the things you need to know though that that’s not my cup of tea. I actually really when I was young was terrified of haunted houses. Funny story I grew up going to the Pew wallop fair, I don’t know if any of you have heard of it. But I grew up going to the pellet fair. We lived right in Purell up we actually got time off from school to go to the fair because it was such a big deal in my hometown. My friends would always say, Hey, Jenny, let’s go on the haunted house. And I would say no, and I resisted for a lot of years until I remember distinctly in middle school. Finally, I gave into the peer pressure. I went on the haunted house. And guess what? I didn’t actually feel any fear on that haunted house because I closed my eyes the whole time. I heard the screeches and the cackles and the bursts of laughter from the guy sitting next to me. But I didn’t feel a single bit of fear, or terror because my eyes were closed. And I we hopped off the ride and everyone was like, what did you think Jenny? And I was like, it was awesome. I said that with a little knowing inside of myself that I had sort of gotten away from something.

3:42 Listen, sometimes we give fear, a bad rap. We give fear, a bad reputation. And this weekend, we’re all going to be out there seeking out fear. Someday I’ll have to tell you the story about when I close my eyes through an entire movie, a guy asked me on a date. And I kept my eyes closed during the entire movie because I didn’t want to feel the fear. Can you tell that fear isn’t really my favorite feeling to feel. But today I want to talk about fear. And why we give fear a bad rap. I’m going to be talking about some of the key phrases that I’ve heard in history and in the scriptures and stuff like that, and in the church, that kind of make us think that we shouldn’t be afraid. And we’re going to kind of pick apart each one of them and then talk about them and see what we decide about fear in the end. Oh, but I forgot to tell you. I completely forgot at the beginning of this episode. To tell you right now I’m enrolling for my November group of mental mission prep. You totally want to be in there if you want to hit the ground running when you had on your mission. If you want to stop the struggle, the mission struggle before it even begins if you want to be a leader On the mission because you won’t be one of those missionaries struggling with homesickness, or anxiety, or overwhelm or stress, then mental mission prep is for you, we start November 3, so you only have a few days left, send me an email Jennie at Jennie dildine.com, if you want in there, it’s going to be incredible. And I’ve actually done a lot of work to kind of revamp that program. So it can be done in a shorter amount of time, I know that you’re preparing missionaries are crazy busy, I know that you’re probably still in school, you’re trying to buy your bike, and you’re trying to buy your ties in your dresses. And I know that you’re also trying to do the vaccinations and the shots and all of the things that you need to do the mission portal, you’re busy. So I’ve actually made all of it more condensed into a shorter course. So that you guys can just take it, we can get together and you can hit the ground running, you’ll be totally fail proof for your mission. So send me an email if you’re interested in that. Now, back to fear. Okay, I got off track for a second. But the three things, the three kinds of phrases or scriptures that we’re going to talk about today are, the only thing that we have to fear is fear itself. This was a quote by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his inaugural address in 1933. We’re also going to talk about if he are prepared, II shall not fear. This is Doctrine and Covenants 3830. And we’re also going to talk about this sentence that I’ve heard quite frequently in the church where people will say, Well, you know, faith and fear can’t exist at the same time. So let’s start with, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. President Roosevelt gave this address during the deepest part of the Depression. And so I can totally see where President Roosevelt was trying to go, that if we fear fear, then we’re really in trouble. But here’s kind of what I think if we fear the feeling of fear, then we have doubled the fear. But what if fear, the feeling of fear is actually not so bad fear, you guys is just an emotion, like all of the other emotions that we feel is just a vibration we feel in our bodies, after we have a thought. So even when you’re running in the corn maze, with the haunted zombies, or whatever you’re going to do this weekend. It’s not the haunted zombies that make you feel fear inside your body, it’s actually the thought that you have, or the thought that your lower brain gives you that this could be dangerous, or we’re in a dangerous situation.

7:53 Now, if you’re confused about this idea about vibrations in your body, and feeling your feelings and all of that, you can go back to one of my earlier episodes, it’s called all the fields. And it walks you through exactly how to feel your feelings and what feelings exactly are. But for the sake of this episode, I thought maybe I would describe what fear actually feels like to me. What I like to do is I like to think if I was describing the emotion of fear to an alien who’d never felt fear before, what would I say? And then I describe it with adjectives. And I want all of you guys to do this too. I want you to take a minute and just sit with it. Try to remember the last time that you felt fear inside your body. What does it actually feel like? So for me, fear feels like black butterflies that sit kind of right above my heart. And I guess they could be bats too, since Halloween is coming up. But it’s black butterflies, they’re fluttering around. It feels like a dropping feeling in my stomach. And it feels like a white line in my throat fear. Okay, and all those bats are moving around very quickly. The dropping feeling in my stomach keeps dropping like it could drop forever. And then the white line and my throat almost makes it feel like I can’t breathe. And yet I know I can’t. So that’s it. That’s all that fear is it’s a vibration that I feel in my body. I have a thought. And then it sends a chemical or a hormone or a vibration through my body. Fear you guys only happens because of thoughts that we are thinking. Fear thoughts actually come from the amygdala. That’s the brains fear center. I kind of think of all my emotions like an alarm system. So let’s save We were walking down a dark alley. And all of a sudden, we would feel the fear. Now, we can’t always access those thoughts right away, it’s probably just something like this is dangerous, or this is scary. And then we have kind of this alarm that goes off, and we feel that fear, we feel the black butterflies, or bats, we feel that dropping feeling, we feel the white line, the base of our throat, and our brain is telling us pay attention. This could be dangerous. I don’t know if you guys remember seeing that movie free solo, where Alex Honnold, he doesn’t experience fear like the rest of us. So if you haven’t seen it, it’s this guy that does, he climbs like shear faces of rocks without any harness, or tie ins or anything to keep him safe. But they actually did some studies on him on his brain. And he actually doesn’t even the part of his brain, the fear center, the amygdala, doesn’t actually fire in his brain. So for him, it he actually doesn’t even experience fear, isn’t that kind of crazy. So it allows him to cry, climb these faces of these rocks, sheer faces of rocks, without the feeling of fear. Most of the world, though, your amygdala is working exactly the way it should. And so most of us go around avoiding that feeling. Those black butterflies, the dropping feeling in the stomach, or the white line in your throat, or whatever fear feels like to you. But listen, if we do like President Roosevelt says, and we’re afraid of fear, here’s some of the things that we do. We avoid fear altogether. We end up staying stuck or the same. But listen, in order to grow, we’ve got to kind of challenge that amygdala a little bit, we’ve got to kind of challenge our lower brain, get out of the cave, which feels scary.

12:03 But we’ve got to step out of our comfort zone to grow. The other thing we do, is sometimes we resist fear, meaning, we don’t want it to be there. Maybe we’re getting ready for our mission. We’re like, I don’t want to be afraid, I don’t want to be afraid I don’t want to be afraid. But guess what, when we resist that, when we resist the fear, it actually grows stronger. The other thing we can do with the fear is we can allow the fear to be with us. And we can take action. Anyway. I sort of picture it like I put fear in my little like satchel or in my purse or in my backpack. And it comes along for the right. When we allow the fear. We become so powerful, when you are strong enough and have the ability to hold fear and take action anyway. There’s nothing that can stop you. And so, back to President Roosevelt’s quote, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And I kind of think we don’t have to fear fear at all. It’s just an emotion. It’s just a vibration in your body. We can feel it, and we can take action anyway. Doctrine and Covenants 3830. If you’re prepared, you shall not fear. I’ve been thinking a lot about this one. And it’s quoted so much in general conference, like there were hundreds of General Conference talks that came up about this same quote from Doctrine and Covenants, if you’re prepared, you shall not fear. So I went to the Scriptures thinking I would find it smeared all over the scriptures. But guess what, it only happens once. Now, I’ve been sort of wrestling with this because I’ve been super prepared to give a talk or to do a live speaking event in front of people. And I still feel afraid. Or my daughter, we prepared all summer to prepare my daughter to go to this new school. She was going into fourth grade. She’s in fourth grade now. But they changed the boundaries in our district and she had to go to a new school by the way, she had been experiencing a lot of anxiety. So all summer we talked about the fact that she was going to be going to the new school, and we prepared her as much as possible. But still on the day of when school was going to start for the new year with a new teacher and a new school. She was afraid. And we prepared. So what are we talking about here? Maybe even we’re on the mission, and there’s dogs chasing us Maybe we even have a dog at home, maybe we’re even a dog trainer, maybe we’ve been prepared to deal with dogs. This happened to my son in Louisiana, by the way, he would say that there was no fences there, and the dogs would just run wild in many of the places. But maybe we’ve even been prepared to handle dogs in a certain way, or to deal with dogs. And yet we get in that situation. And we’re still afraid we still feel that fear. But the reason is, again, you guys is because of our lower brain. So what I’ve been thinking about is that maybe with this scripture, we need to consider what preparedness we’re actually talking about here. I think if we have spiritual preparedness, so if we’re prepared in a spiritual way, we don’t need to fear because we wholeheartedly trust God’s plan. And when I say wholeheartedly, what I mean is all of it, that we’re going to experience positive emotion and negative emotion. And sometimes we’re going to fear. And sometimes we’re going to feel peace, but it’s all part of the plan. When we’re spiritually prepared, we see things the way that God sees them. And from his perspective, when we have this spiritual preparedness, we don’t need to fear what I was thinking about is maybe the big fear that will never be good enough or worthy enough, maybe some of these big, eternal fears are like that we’re doomed the fall, that we’re beyond saving, when we are spiritually prepared. We don’t need to fear those big, eternal fears.

16:53 Now, does that mean that we won’t still experience fear? When we’ve prepared really well, for our missions? And then we get out there? And we’re having a hard time knowing if we know the language good enough, yes. We’re still gonna feel fear. But that doesn’t mean we’re not prepared. I think what this scripture is talking about is those big fears that we don’t need to fear that we’re doomed to the fall that we don’t need to fear that we’re beyond saving, that we don’t need to fear that we’re never good enough or worthy enough, we can trust. And when we see things from God’s perspective, we can trust him. We can surrender to His plan, we can accept Christ’s Atonement, that it’s for all of us, and all of us will be redeemed. So don’t use this scripture against yourself. I don’t want you out there thinking, Oh, I’m feeling afraid I must not be prepared. No, I think it’s talking about a different kind of preparedness for a different kind of fear. Many times my clients asked me, Can you please just tell me how to stop being afraid or worried or overwhelmed? And I tell them, we could just cut out that part of your brain. Your amygdala could just stop firing, like Alex Honnold. But I don’t necessarily recommend it, because then you’d be in a dark alley, or be chased by some dogs. And you just be like, Oh, isn’t this nice, cute puppy, you want to bite my arm? Look at this cute dark alley. Okay, so we need the fear. Heavenly Father actually gave us this fear as an alarm system for our bodies, so that we could know when something seemed dangerous. It’s actually an alarm system that keeps us alive. On to the third, faith and fear can’t exist at the same time. Is this actually true? That faith and fear can’t exist at the same time? What I teach my clients is that our thoughts create our feelings, and we’re going to have a boatload of thoughts all day, that create a boatload of feelings. And so my answer to this idea can faith and fear exists at the same time is, yes, I can simultaneously be a little afraid of the future and also have the faith that God is in charge. And he has a plan for me. I can hold these, both of these emotions at the same time. That lower brain your caveman brain, your amygdala is always going to offer you thoughts that introduce fear. That’s its job. If we feel afraid from time to time, we know our brain is working exactly as it should. I kept thinking as I was preparing this episode about Moses leading the Israelites out of bondage, you know, I don’t like scary movies. But I used to grow up. And this is how nerdy I am I used to every Sunday, I would watch Charlton Heston’s 1956 version of the 10 commandments every single Sunday. I know, it’s super nerdy, but I loved it. But the part I kept thinking about was when the children of Israel, were walking through the Red Sea, on dry land when Moses parts the Red Sea. Now, if you go back, and you watch that movie, like, it’s really epic, like the sea is so tall, and could crush them at any time. And I’m guessing that the children of Israel during that time, had a lot of thoughts that caused fear. I’m pretty sure they’re human and caveman brains were like, wait a second, this should not be happening. This is crazy. And it’s a little scary. And they probably felt those black fats or butterflies in their chest and the dropping feeling in their stomach.

21:15 But they also had faith in their God. At the same time. They had the faith that they were in God’s hands. They have the faith that God was in charge. And that’s what allowed them to take action. But that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t scary that they didn’t feel fear. I’m sure a few times over the last couple years with all of this COVID stuff. I know that I have felt some fear. And maybe you have to, but does that mean I don’t have faith? No, I have fear. And I believe that God is in charge, and he has a higher plan for all of us. And this is part of it. I really do feel like faith and fear can exist at the same time. In fact, I’ve kind of been thinking that the opposite of faith is not fear. The opposite of faith might be and you can play with this, how you want to think about it. But the opposite of faith is doubt. And it’s okay that we doubt sometimes too, don’t get me wrong. We’re going to feel that way too, we’re going to feel some doubt. But I really do think that we can simultaneously feel those butterflies, that churning in our chest, that dropping feeling in our stomach and still have faith that God is in charge. Now the reason it can be problematic to give fear, the feeling of fear a bad rap, is because we all feel it. From time to time, we’re supposed to, it’s that alarm system for our bodies, we probably wouldn’t make it through a lot of our days if we didn’t have the feeling of fear. So listen, I don’t want you to be getting ready for your mission, or out on your mission. Or maybe even you’re getting ready to come home from your mission. And then you feel fear, that feeling of worry or fear or dread even. And I don’t want you to be the one thinking either there’s something wrong with me. Or I need to be afraid of fear. Or I must not be prepared. Because of these sentences that we believe for a long time. You might also start to think I must not have enough faith. Or fear is bad. But none of those things have to be true, you guys. I really think that we don’t need to fear fear. You don’t need to fear fear. If you’re feeling some fear, it’s fine. I also think that when we feel fear, it’s not necessarily a sign of how prepared we are to do something. I also think that faith and fear can exist at the same time. You can feel fear and still take the action to head out on your mission and have faith that God is in charge. One time I was coaching a woman who decided to try a jujitsu class. We got on the call and she was telling me about how the person that she was kind of with got her in some kind of a chokehold and her caveman brain her amygdala, freaked out and she actually got so scared that she went into a panic attack. And she got on that call and she’s like, just tell me how to not be afraid. ate it. And actually, I couldn’t tell her how, and I can’t tell you how to never feel the feeling of fear. Because her brain in that moment, perceived danger and went into panic mode. It’s totally normal and totally natural. And so I asked her, What were you thinking in that moment when you started to feel the fear, and she said, I was telling myself, this is so silly, I shouldn’t be scared. And then I said, that’s why you went into panic, you were resisting the fear. I told her next time, she should just see if she could let the fear, the black butterflies, the dropping, feeling the white line in the throat, be there with her, take fear along for the ride, breathe into it, that she didn’t need to fear. The fear. I also recently was messaging with a girl who was really afraid to go to her original assignment, she had really grown to love the place that she was serving. She hadn’t had to use her language yet. And so she just had a lot of fear. And she sent me a message and said, What do I do? I’m so afraid, I don’t even know if I want to go. And when I told her, I said, Listen, sister,

26:11 just feel the fear. It’s totally fine. We don’t have to make fear mean anything at all, that we’ve got to be afraid of it or that we’re not prepared or we don’t have enough faith. Let’s not make fear mean any of that. Let’s just feel it. That’s why feelings are called feelings is because we feel them. Are you going to let a little bit of fear stop you from achieving what you want? You don’t have to. I mean, you can. This is what most of the world does. They feel the fear and then they turn the other way and run. Or they close their eyes like I did on the haunted house or in the movie, but we don’t need to let fear run our lives we can feel the fear is just an emotion we feel and we can take action anyway. You guys if we were willing to feel fear, and take action anyway? What could we accomplish? The answer is anything. You could accomplish anything if you’re willing to feel fear. So have an amazing weekend. Go out with the zombie mazes, and the corn mazes and the scary movies and practice feeling fear and pay attention to what fear actually feels like in your body. And what you might find is that the feeling of fear is totally fine. All right, you guys have an amazing week. Take care. Thank you so much for listening to the podcast today. If you want to learn more about what I do, you can go to Jennie dildine.com. Or just come hang out with me on Instagram at Jennie dot the LDS mission coach and Jennie is spelled with an IE. Remember, no matter which part of the mission experience that you’re involved in, just know that Jennie, the LDS mission coach is thinking about you every single day.

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Hey! I'm Jennie - The LDS Mission Coach.

Preparing for, serving and coming home from an LDS Mission can present countless changes and transitions. I’ve seen these changes put missionaries at the mercy of their emotions and questioning their abilities. With the tools I teach, young adults empower themselves to navigate every moment of the mission experience with epic, unwavering confidence.

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