Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope that this week has been great for you so far 🙂
Get ready to put on your reading pants my friends because I’ve got a slightly wordy one for you today.
You see, last night as I made my way home on the 40 D bus, like I do almost every day when quitting time rolls around, I found myself fighting a serious case of ‘Nascar Brain’. I am sure you have all felt it at one point or another, your mind racing a million mph, thinking and analyzing and pondering every idea from here to the moon. Even the complete hilariousness that is Weird Al (just downloaded his new CD on the i-pod…super funny!) couldn’t deter me away from my rampant thoughts. Don’t you just wish sometimes that your brain had an off switch or a mute button? That on occasions when your brain is going a mile a minute, you could take a breather from yourself and just, well, be? I certainly do. They say a great mind is a terrible thing to waste, but every now and then, I don’t think it would hurt if it decided to take a quick siesta.
I’m sorry…where was I again? Oh that’s right…Last night as I headed home in a stupor of thoughts, one of the things that was occupying my frontal lobe was the concept of fear–something I must admit I struggle with on a near daily basis, or I used to anyway.
I’m not talking about your quote unquote “typical” kinds of fears like spiders, heights, or that this country will never find a cure for Beiber-Fever (spiders I can handle and heights are no match for me, but an endless soundtrack of “Baby, Baby, Baby Oh”? Now that is something to be terrified of for surely–no offense to all of the Beliebers out there).
No, the type of fear that I am talking about is the sneaky kind. The kind that often looks and seems harmless from the outside, but is chock-full of anxiety and worry, causing many a sleepless night. Brave and confident I may seem, this fear tends to rear its ugly head (and smelly foot) in my life any and every chance it gets.
I fear that I am missing out on life, on all of the exciting and adventurous and amazing opportunities that it can bring.
…but I also fear that by taking a risk and going after these opportunities, I might fail.
I fear being hurt by others.
…but I also fear that I might miss out on a chance to form meaningful and long-lasting relationships.
I fear the unknown.
…but I also fear that things will never change.
I fear making hasty decisions.
…but I also fear I over-think too much.
(Clearly this post is leaning towards the latter, ahem.)
For the longest time, I thought that these fears were normal, that everyone at some point in their lives battled these feelings and thoughts. I thought that I was just being smart, that I was thinking things through and being aware and cautious of all the implications of my choices. The truth is, my fears have been a disable for me. They have turned me away from opportunities and experiences and relationships that I could have had, all because I was afraid and scared of the unknown, the not-knowing, the constant topsy-turvy flip of the coin. Life is only as good as what you make it, and by letting fear take a hold of me, I was not “living” to my full potential.
I have thankfully learned that these fears are not normal and have combatted them, karate-chopping my way through each fear, one by one (I may seem small but I am feisty–Mr. Miyagi knows his stuff). Over the span of just a few months, I have been through many changes; I moved to a new city, started a new job, am living on my own away from family and close friends for the first time, not to mention having to evict, with force, the neighborhood of spiders that seem to have taken up my residence at the moment (ICK!). At first, each of these ‘changes’ was a fear of mine, something that I was slightly nervous about doing or trying but with the completion and conquering of each one, came the added strength to tackle the next. I started to like how it felt to finally be free of all of these extra and useless thoughts taking over my mind. I liked how it felt not to worry about the worse-case-scenario all of the time and just go for it, balls to the wall, full speed ahead. I like to think that now, I wouldn’t necessarily say enjoy taking risks, but I don’t turn away at the sight of them. I am more courageous and willing to try new things go out of my comfort zone a bit. Like I always say (actually, I just kind of made this up but from now on I am totally saying it), you never know how strong a rubber band is until you stretch it.
But it’s not just about taking risks. Sure, taking risks can be a great thing and a wonderful way to overcome fear, but it isn’t the only alternative to being free from it. If you ask me, freeing ourselves from these fears, these anxieties and worries, is one of the most basic steps we must take in order to just…live. And live fully and completely.
One way that I have found to help me overcome these fears, especially in a world where there seems to be a reason to be afraid around every corner, is through God. He has given me the strength and hope and faith that things will be okay. That I don’t have to be alone in my fight. That by defining his love through my actions and thoughts, it is defining a life of greatness. I have been through many things in my short 24 years of life, have trudged up many hills, stumbled over many road blocks and crossed over many raging rivers, and you know what? It wasn’t easy. But with each challenge, with each fight, I have overcome and I have gotten stronger. That to me, it the exact opposite of fear. Franklin D. Roosevelt once famously said,” The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franky, I couldn’t have said it better myself.
So the next time fear takes you for a ride, open your eyes, put your hands up, and show it that you are not afraid. Life is full of rollercoasters, loop-D-Loops and twists and turns. All you have to remember is that with the big man upstairs in control, you have nothing to be afraid of…except for maybe those darned spiders…and Justin Beiber.
Have a great Tuesday everyone!
Question of the day: What is something you are afraid of?