Parenting, Anxiety, and Gingerbread Houses: How to become a #fearhunter

Parenting, Anxiety, and Gingerbread Houses: How to become a #fearhunter 

I just had to share this story. Seriously, it has gone in my journal as the most challenging day I’ve had. The day started out with my plan: Wake at 4:45am, work until 10:30am, help kids with school for an hour, and then work from 2pm until dinner. It sounds easy enough, right? Well, challenge after challenge piled up and interrupted my plans. But even more, these challenges threatened to shut me down.

I’ve been writing a lot and discovering patterns, habits, and behaviors that link to fear-based thoughts. Thoughts like self-sabotage, self-doubt, procrastination, rationalization. These are all fears masked under a different appearance. For a majority of my life, I believed this was a part of me and there was nothing I could do about it. Then I learned that if I spent enough time discovering the source of where these are born and come from, I could become a #fearhunter. I began beheading the fears. Once you are able to define, discover, and recognize the enemy, you can manage and overcome it.

So here is how the day played out:

I woke at 4:45am to head into the studio to create concepts that I needed to email for approvals and submit. I planned to finish a couple of paintings. Teach kids around 10:30 and then wrap up paintings around 2-5:30pm. Easy enough, right?

5:30am: I accidentally spill some tea on my keyboard. I can’t access my screen because I can’t type in my password. The submissions sit in my computer and I can’t send them. Stores don’t open for another five hours for me to buy a keyboard.

5:45am: Shift gears to work on paintings. Then realize another two pieces of machines for my production aren’t working. I normally would use my computer to pull some ideas. I decide to just grab my laptop. I grab laptop, and battery is dead. Go find cord in the dark house with family sleeping.

6:30 am: My watch clamp on my new strap comes loose. I’m anal about my time. It drives me nuts not to have a watch since I use it every 10 minutes or so. Look for screwdrivers and they are not where they are supposed to be. My mind races with how much time I’m losing. I’m already two hours behind. Finally find screwdrivers in my studio.

6:48am: Find pieces to get the paintings going and laptop working.

7:00am: Grab my camera to shoot some reference, but the battery is dead. It doesn’t make sense; I charged it all night! Plug battery in charger. Go back to painting. Remember that maybe there’s an old keyboard in the closet that I can use to plug into the computer.

8:00am: Have spent an hour digging through every place a keyboard could hide. I found two mouses though (the computer kind of mouse).

8:45am: After 45 minutes of painting, go back to battery to load into the camera to shoot. It’s ready. Although, it’s not. The new battery isn’t compatible with the charger. WHAT THE HECK!!!!?? I call an audible and use my iPhone.

9:00am: I go back into the house to take a break to have breakfast with the kids, bible time, and prayer to restart the day. In my head, I have an hour of production to get done and can’t get this concept sent. I have asked my daughter to pick up the dog poop, get dressed, and get ready to leave for the computer store four times. Each time I’m told, “I forgot.” Seriously? In five minutes, you forgot? Four times?? During this time, Lil’ Noah asks Griffin, “You want to build the gingerbread house today? Griffin says, “No, some other day.”

10:00am: After rounds of herding the kids to get ready, we finally take off for the store. The store doesn’t have the keyboard I need. I have to drive across town to another store. After an hour of driving, I find the keyboard at a store. Even though I’m five hours past my workflow deadlines, I race to get home.

11:00am: Hook up keyboard and it doesn’t pair. It doesn’t work. I went for a walk around the block to cool myself. The kids are waiting inside to finish school. I work for the next hour and finally get some traction, and the keyboard works. NOW I need to finish up the concepts, take the pictures I need, paint the painting I needed, and wrap all this up. Basically, I’ve lost a half day being shut down at every corner.

1:00pm: While walking through the house, I hear a tearing sound. Yep. It’s our little Chuweenie biting holes in our expensive living-room rug. She’s now hit three rooms and decided to make today the day to finish the triple crown.

2:00pm: I look out of the studio to see my wife saluting. That’s code word for her rubbing her hands up and down her face in disbelief. As her husband of 14 years, I know what this means: She’s been pushed beyond the limit. It was so bad she came to me for help. And she is fried. Something has gone wrong. Something bad.

2:15pm: Chantel says that the kids decided to make the gingerbread house without us. There’s a moment as a dad when you don’t want to go in the house because you already know what your response will be. I was right. As I walked into the kitchen, I am greeted by my two kids COVERED in powdered sugar. Why? Because the room is covered in powered sugar — even the floor, walls and art. What makes it worse is that they thought they could clean up the floor with water. Yes. Water. Now our kitchen sounds and feels like the floor of a movie theater or taxi cab.

3:15pm: I finally finish wiping up and cleaning the whole kitchen and finally sit down for a snack since I haven’t eaten lunch. As I sit down my elbows stick to the table and arm rests of the chair which reminds me I need to give the kitchen another pass of cleaning.

5:15pm: It’s about time for dinner. The day is shot. I plan on eating dinner with the family and then head out to the studio to “begin my day.”

So, what did this day teach me? A TON! This day hit on so many stress levels. I recognized fear in every moment: My speech, my tone, my outlook, my response, my guilt, my shame, my approach.

THE GOOD NEWS: For years, these fears were not on my radar. I just ran red lights in my behavior only to go to bed saying I blew it as a dad and came up short on delivering responsibilities. I now have these fears on my radar and know the reasons they exist. I LET THEM.

THE STRATEGIES:

1. I now approach these moments knowing they are temporary. If I overreact, it will not change the outcome; fear wins. Therefore, I behead the fear of overreacting.

2. Yelling or getting frustrated with the kids won’t make them listen any better to me. I behead the fear of temper. The kids will listen more to a whisper than they will a shout. I will admit I did lose it in the kitchen, but regrouped and approached it from another way. Good grief though.

3. I couldn’t let the situations with the keyboard, battery, and timing of it all get to me. I beheaded the fears of shame, doubt, criticism, and guilt. If I didn’t, I would rationalize my time to take the day off and say it was just a hard day. Then, I wouldn’t get anything done.

I learned that the enemy is myself; the way I’ve thought for years. The sooner I tell my brain what to do, my behaviors and actions follow. I spent years trying to change actions. It takes discovering the root of actions. Its takes defining the enemy. Find and define the fear, and you’ll change your life.

I am convinced that we complicate our own lives by defaulting to what’s easy: anger, frustration, outbursts, and complication. Let’s face it; it’s way easier to get upset than it is to be in control and have self-discipline. A majority of our unhealthy actions and unhealthy non-productive habits are based in self-hate. The more we self-hate, the more fear wins. Become a fear hunter and hunt down the lies, mis-beliefs, and mis-codes that battle to win your life and rob your joy.

We get to pick. We have a choice. That’s the good news, we get to choose to fight, hunt, and deal with the fears.

Oh and by the way, the fears will never be gone. They will be around the rest of our lives. It’s whether or not we will learn the art of silencing them instead of giving them power through a voice. It’s like living in the eye of a hurricane. Life is and will always be stormy. You have to learn to dance in the rain and have joy in the eye of the storm. Those are the individuals who change the world because the world doesn’t run them, they run the world.

This blog post is brought to by my lovely new keyboard which I’m using to type these words.

Have an amazing week. I’d love to hear from you. Have you had these sorts of days? Leave a comment below and let me know how you handle them. Also, please share this post and forward it to those you know could use a boost.

I’m glad you’re here. 

18 thoughts on “Parenting, Anxiety, and Gingerbread Houses: How to become a #fearhunter

  1. Casey says:

    Wow, Noah… thanks for sharing and being vulnerable. I love that idea of being a fear hunter and taking those negative thoughts and identifying them as targets; toxic, fear, anxiety, worry, insecurity. I’m calling open season on this in my life. It is amazing how beautiful life truly is. But so many times I’ve allowed the scrambled schedule, the technology that isn’t 3 seconds faster, or the kids messes to rob me of appreciating what I have. Time to remind myself of what I can be thankful for. I’m putting a note on my computer #fearhunter as a reminder… thanks for this!!!

  2. Tim Cook says:

    Noah, I just read your blog about fear with my wife and I must say it was very enlightening. I love the “fear hunter” hypothesis. Your blog really gives one something to think about. I shared your blog with my adult kids. On another note, we are very excited about seeing you and Katie again on the 9th. We are looking forward to what undoubtedly will be a fun evening with outer two favorite artists in the world. Tim & Karen Cook

  3. Kelly D aka Dizneluver < :) says:

    ((((((NOAH))))))))

    Thank you being willing to share your fears and how you deal with them with us as well.

    TTFN < 8(:-D

  4. Mark Lockhart says:

    All I can say my friend is Amen. I can relate to that day in so many ways and appreciate you sharing – and teaching. Thank you Noah!

  5. Kellie Boda says:

    Oh my how I can relate! I’ve experienced it all. Equipment failing at THE worse time possible when the deadline is like NOW (or say with the help of my daughter sharing an entire cup of coffee directly onto my laptop and every crevice). Finally finding a small window to work, we’re talking small like 30 min and 2 min in you hear your husband call your name in that tone that signals “it’s BAD!” and you discover your daughter has given herself a nice mullet cut :/ This is our first year giving “homeschooling” a go with our two youngest kiddos and wow…it’s tough! I couldn’t help but chuckle as I read through your draining and stressful day, lol. Only because I SO know it, and it’s SO nice to know I am not alone. There are others living my day to day life struggles. There are those who have survived so I WILL survive! LOL! It’s also nice to read your take on how to deal with it. It’s the little set backs that seem to get at me the most. By the time the big ones hit (destroyed equipment, injury on the swing set, complete meltdowns) those I can just laugh at because I know that was the “topper.” I just need to learn how to hunt down and deal with the fears in between. Those seem to get me down quicker and harder. We get to pick just like ya said. I need to remember that.

    Thank you for sharing your story! Today was a day I really needed to hear it.

  6. Amanda Tillitt says:

    Hi Noah,
    I have been following you for a long time (I met your aunt at Disney long ago) but this is my first comment. Wow did you hit the nail on the head for my day as well. Being a full time working mom who is trying to save the day by getting everyone dressed, to school, myself to work, then back home to cook dinner and then rush everyone off to soccer practice is exhausting enough. One wrench thrown into the mix can really make or break the day like you said. I am sitting here in my kitchen “unwinding” from how the day went wrong and unplanned. Your blog post caught my eye when I sat down to check emails. I appreciate the reminder and outlook about fear and anxiety and stress. We do often get caught in the negativity and let it control our lives. Its amazing how God finds ways into our lives and gives us little reminders such as the timing of your blog post. It’s always reassuring to hear that we aren’t the only one in the world having a bad day and it’s really the way we handle the situation is the outcome and lesson learned from the day. Anyways, thank you again for the wonderful insight, it’s greatly appreciated and shared to my friends and family tonight!

  7. Eddie Dean says:

    Hey thanks for sharing a rough day with us and how you overcame it. Sorry you’re day seemed to snowball like that . From the point of view of someone that looks up to you and all your work , it is somewhat refreshing to hear that someone as amazing as yourself has difficult days too. I’ve had many days just like that with kids, my shirt shop, deadlines on side projects, and while trying to build the brand of me as an artist it gets VERY frustrating! As for myself it makes me depressed and feel like hiding in a corner to disappear. But instead I take a 20 minute break to meditate and speak to God to clear my mind and listen to him. After that I’m refreshed having a grip on the situation to get things done. Thanks again Noah and to let you know I pray everyday to be anywhere near as successful as you!

  8. Jon says:

    Now that was one totally crazy day my man! Great way to approach it and share how you handled the stress from every road block.

      • Dave Michal says:

        NOAH! Seriously DUDE! I hate to have a laugh at your expense, but Bro, I found myself in one of those moments when you are laughing so hard your eyes are watering and you can’t stop it no matter how hard you try. I have been going down the hall telling Blair, Billy, Matt, and everyone else to read the blog. That is some crazy stuff my friend. I told everyone no matter how much is going wrong today, just read this blog and you will be right as rain. So, thanks for the LAUGH :D)))))))))! Sorry it was one of those days, you are better for it, and I will bring you and Chantel’s favorite bottle and a cigar for you to reimagine as compensation for this post and the great lessons you brought us here today. Love it, blessing my brother :D…Sorry…Thought I was done here….but my eyes are watering so bad I can’t read the screen to get through spell check, Oh MAN, can’t wait to show Christy

  9. Steph says:

    Great topic Noah!! I have had those days my friend. You are right though it is about making choices and in the moment sometimes very difficult maintain a good attitude! Besides look at those smiling faces!!! Thanks for the reminder that it’s just in the moment!! to Chantal and kids!

  10. Arianne Peterson says:

    I don’t have kids yet but living vicariously through a dozen plus friend with kids before me, I knew when you said you saw the salute and you knew it was bad.. I was so sure it was a doozie. You delivered, well the kids did. Shoot we should praise God for kids and the messes they make, before your head spins off but how they just moved without fear. It’s interesting to me as I have attempted downhill skiing as an adult, I wound up last time around tagging with the kids in their group lesson on the bunny hill. Kids are mostly fearless because they haven’t lived long enough to be tainted by fears. The kids learning to ski are fearless, they made me look like a big baby. Griffin and lil Noah apparently were NOT afraid to chart their course alone without adults to make the gingerbread house. Granted maybe rebellion can be argued but I say kids are just kids, in the sense they have a fearless spirit. Many times I try to remind myself as a child I was so fearless, I need to be a #fearhunter and revive the young girl that believed she could be Mike Ditka’s next quarterback for the Chicago Bears, I mean why not right? Good thoughts on discovering and dismantling the things that may ruin us when we allow fears, anger, and anxiety get the best of us. Thank you for dissecting this in a real life application by sharing this story. Good thoughts to apply to these days when we have “one of those days” or weeks or months… I needed this to help me consider how to dismantle some of my fears.

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