Offering each other grace in new situations will ease stress

While new experiences may be scary, they offer opportunities for growth. Stepping out in faith can bring blessings through the stretching.

Life in the fast lane stretches me.

The speed limit was 70, but vehicles of all sizes zoomed past me on the multi-lane interstate as if I were in the slower lane. Perhaps I should have been since I was slower, but I was going the speed limit in the middle lane, peering for my exit sign. During lane changes, I felt I should imagine myself an Indy car racer. Even so, I was more gradual than the more experienced city drivers.

No, as a small town gal, interstate or city driving is a scary undertaking that I’d prefer to leave with more adventurous souls. It’s a heavy traffic day in my town when I have to wait for ten cars and a tractor to pass before turning. Still, I’d rather be stuck behind farm machinery any day than racing along in heavy traffic in a strange place.

At my first writing conference, I also felt like I was racing along in the fast lane. Although I’d practiced my pitches with friends and family, pitching to an editor or an agent left my hands sweaty and my heart racing. I was slower of speech as I tried to respond how I imagined a more published writer would. How I wish I would have just relaxed. Whether a person is a novice or a seasoned professional or somewhere in between, editors and agents are people who love the craft and are willing to listen about your proposed project for the allotted meeting time.

Volunteering to help at an event often brings butterflies to my stomach—even if I’m working with innocent preschoolers, go figure—so I believe that the case of nerves is normal for quieter, shyer folks. Some tasks I’ve completed countless times still cause me to hesitate. For example, courage is often summoned in me before picking up the phone to interview someone. The desire to be confident, professional, void of mumbling, bumbling embarrassment is intense. Talking with a writer and editor friend, I learned he too shared similar emotions. After my initial surprise, I found that fact comforting. Recently, a teacher friend with decades of experience confided that she had had a case of the nerves at the beginning of the school year. Again, surprise registered in my mind. These incidents showed me that we are all more alike than we think. Each of us wants to be seen as capable, qualified.

Still, whether I am driving, pitching, or stepping out in a new role, I want to do my best and arrive safely at the destination or goal. I want to be competent and happy at the conclusion of the event, large or small, public or private. If each of us in our separate roles has a tiny seed of insecurity or fear, if we gave each other grace and understanding, we could enjoy the new adventures more and laugh at our foibles rather than want to cry. Our stress levels might plummet, and our sense of peace and freedom soar. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

So next time you find yourself in a new situation, take a deep breath, remember everyone wants to succeed, to help, to be admired or liked or loved, no matter the position. Let us smile, whisper our prayer, and walk confidently into the situation knowing that no matter what, we will learn, we will grow, we will get through one way or another, and that we are never alone.

What makes you nervous?

6 thoughts on “Offering each other grace in new situations will ease stress

  1. It’s a great thing to remind us that we are all have ‘butterflies’ at different times. I get nervous in meetings sometimes too, even when I’m confident of the topic. Thanks for reminding us to be patient with each other, and ourselves!

    1. Thanks, Amanda. I also found it comforting to know that even some people who don’t look nervous at all experience butterflies. A little encouragement may just put those nerves at ease. 🙂 I hope all your meetings go super well and that the butterflies will be minimal. Have a wonderful week.

  2. After riding through Madison, right smack dab on the University streets, my gracious new friend pulling a big horse trailer behind a big truck (with *my* precious cargo in the back)…it was white knuckles for me. Driving home in the dark was even scarier. At one point as I tried to help navigate, I steered my friend in the right direction, but neither one of us was expecting a stop light! Yikes. Screech. My poor horse went bump, but there was nothing to do but travel on. I agree with Michelle, driving country roads is way preferable to interstates and big cities.

    1. I am glad that you all got safely to your destination. I can imagine your taut nerves! Your precious cargo will be glad to get back to his stable and tell all of his kitty friends about his adventure to the city. 🙂

  3. I totally agree with both of you about white knuckles on the Interstate, and that is while riding with my safe-driver husband. As for driving on the Interstate, count me out. When it comes to writing, I guess I have sort of acted with the same reaction. A number of years ago I started putting together some of my published devotions, but when it came to thinking about pitching it, I pitched it. The idea, not the manuscript.

    1. Stepping out into the unknown is definitely scary. Pitching and sharing manuscripts falls into that category. I totally understand, Donna. Keep writing and submitting and praying!

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