FEAR

When was the last time you did something you were afraid of?

Mark Twain "Getting Started"

How about something that wasn’t just scary, but actually created fear?  For me, it was yesterday, and today, and probably tomorrow.  Because I’ll be honest, I don’t know if my fears are ever really “conquered” and gone, but rather lingering in the back of my mind while a very timid sentinel watches guard over it. 

This blog venture has been something that has also been nestled safely and securely in the back of my mind, where I could take it out on occasion, walk around and admire it, and then shut it back away with the label “maybe someday”.  Someday is today. 

My excuses for not getting started were justifiably good ones:

  • I work full-time…as a teacher.  So, when I say “full-time”, I mean “all the time”. 
  • I have four kids…enough said. 
  • I’m a newlywed, and so in love with my husband, that I still want to spend all my free time just sitting and talking to him. 
  • Oh, and I just moved! 

The list goes on and on…but it always will.  There will always be a hundred excuses.  So, if your “why”, your reasons behind starting something new isn’t strong enough to fight those excuses now, it never will be.  Do it or don’t—that’s the only real choice.  Time doesn’t matter. 

When I started, my primary concerns all centered around time:

  • Not investing enough time to attain my near-impossible standards
  • My inability to balance my different responsibilities
  • Not spending enough time with my family
  • That I would spend too much time with this venture and neglect other things

…Sigh.  I want to go back to those concerns.  Because after about a week, where I responsibly managed my time with a schedule and implemented some time-saving strategies, those concerns faded away, which threw the door wide-open for FEAR.  Legitimate fear.  More specifically, two fears.

FEAR OF FAILURE

I’ll be honest, I think this has been a pretty prevalent fear in my life without really recognizing its presence.  What I mean by that is, I haven’t looked at opportunities in the face and said, “I don’t want to do this because I’m afraid of failing”, but I can look back on my life in hindsight and realize “I didn’t do that because I was afraid of failing.” Please tell me y’all can relate to this, too.

I’m sure “playing things safe” saved me some trouble and hardships, but it also cost me.  It cost me lost opportunities. 

My Senior year in high school, a series of events led me to develop a sort of “devil-may-care” attitude.  That’s putting it delicately—it was more a “Screw This” attitude.  One of the things I said “screw it” to, was fear. 

It. Was. Awesome. 

False Expectations Appearing Real

I suddenly recognized that I was about to leave school and I knew I would always regret not trying to play a sport. My first day of Volleyball practice, I learned the reality of what the word FEAR means: False Expectations Appearing Real. 

My Volleyball team didn’t win one game that season!  Yet, I loved every second of it.  If only I could say my 17-year-old self never went back after that—how different my life would have been.  But, staring down fear didn’t last for me, and I slipped back into old habits of what falsely appears to be comfort and ease.

Can you think of a time in your life:

  • an event
  • a change
  • a risk
  • heck, even a dare!

where you set aside your Fear of Failure and jumped in? How did it make you feel? I felt empowered–completely in control of my life. Why would we ever let those feelings go and turn control of our life back over to fear?

FEAR OF DISAPPOINTMENT

Yikes.  This is a new one for me, and if I thought Fear of Failure was bad, this is so much worse.  It’s not a fear of disappointing myself, so much as disappointing my family who is all standing so supportively beside me.  This fear is actually so real and raw that at this moment I am struggling to put it into words.  It’s so crippling because I have already reached the point where there is no turning back.  The only option from here is to say, “I have started, and I am moving forward”. 

Move forward with a happy spirit!

In confiding to my husband about this fear, he said,

“God placed the best things in life on the other side of fear.”[1] 

So, I’m starting now.  And I ask myself daily, what comes on the other side of fear?  Success, joy, happiness, education—because even through failure we can learn the biggest lessons of our lives.  Today, tomorrow, whenever you next face fear standing in your way, ask yourself, “what is waiting for me on the other side of this”? I guarantee you it’s profoundly better than letting fear win.

Fear is nothing more than a roadblock, and I’m taking mine down now. 


[1] Will Smith: Do yourself a favor and look this speech up on YouTube!

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