When was the last time you were scared about something? I mean really scared. For me, there is always something that I am scared of, and yesterday I conquered one of those fears.
Monday is my favorite day of the week at Brains on Fire for several reasons, but my most favorite reason happens at 9am without fail. We have our weekly family meeting. This is the time each week we share our triumphs and our tragedies, get on track for the week, and even have some inspirational thoughts from our Courageous Leader, Robbin. This week, Robbin challenged us to think about one thing that scares us, and just do it this week. Little did she know this is the current theme of my life–overcoming the many fears, big and small, that plague me.
Learning to conquer fears is a process, and I decided to start with overcoming a fear that could be easily reversed. Riding roller coasters. I am TERRIFIED of roller coasters! I have not ridden one since I was in the early grades of elementary school simply because they made me so uncomfortable. I found no joy in it. I am also afraid of heights, which does not lend itself to having an enjoyable experience at theme parks either. Why do they scare me you ask? I hate the anticipation of climbing to the top of the hill, only to feel nauseous in the descent. I don’t trust the construction of the rides at all, and ultimately I am afraid that the coaster will stop mid-way through the ride, we will be stuck upside down for hours, I will be in pain from all the blood rushing to my head, or that something tragic will happen and we will all perish due to a malfunction of the ride. Yeah, this is how far I let my mind take me out of control, and therefore I have not ridden roller coasters in a long time.
Yesterday I rode a whole theme park of roller coasters! As I was driving up to the park, and I saw rides from the road, all I could think was, ‘What have I done? Why did I think this was the best way for me to step into a fearless life?’ Getting up the courage to ride a roller coaster definitely had its challenges, like overcoming the paralyzing thoughts of potentially dying on a ride. Yet, there was this sound resolve that I knew I was going to accomplish this. On the first ride, once I was locked in, everything in me wanted to run for it. The slow climb up the first hill was almost torturous, just waiting for this thing I had no clue what it would be like. As we went over the hill I was still thinking, ‘Why have I done this to myself?’, but by the end, I was beginning to see the fun in this. The transition from paralyzing fear and thoughts of ‘I can’t’ to ‘When are we going to ride the tallest one?’ was empowering.
Riding the tallest, longest ride, the Intimidator was the most encouraging experience of the day. What happened in the course of the two minute ride was learning to accept the unknown. I began to open my eyes as we were going along the ride, loosen my grip, and yell because it was FUN, not because I was terrified. I walked away feeling extremely accomplished. I also got right back in line to do it again.
There’s that saying about life, ‘just sit back and enjoy the ride.’ I have never been able to do that before and going on this roller coaster journey has allowed me to do just that. I felt so incredibly free at the end of yesterday, just by overcoming a small fear of mine. We never know where we are headed in this life, but we should all know that we will come out on the other side and a better person for it. I am learning to see that feeling scared is a good thing–not something I should feel inferior for or ashamed of. Overcoming our fears fortify our character, whether it be us as individuals or as a team. Fear allows for growth, and overcoming your fear invites you to step into freedom.
Which fear is overtaking you? How can you step into freedom?