Saturday, October 27, 2012

conquering fear

“Just take the first step,” she called from below.

I wasn’t sure how I managed to get up to this point. I didn’t remember climbing the ladder, but I was the start of a high ropes obstacle course. Harnessed in and 20 feet off the ground. I hate anything that takes me up so high.

“You just have to start. You can do it,” she called again from below.

I almost looked down, but knew if I did that I would never get started.

Cautiously I took the first step onto the rope I was supposed to walk on. My hands tightly gripped the guide ropes to keep me balanced. With my second step everything started shaking. Each step got more challenging as the rope swayed more. My hands couldn’t grip the rope they were holding tightly enough. A few more steps and then my foot slipped. I didn’t fall, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue.

“Don’t give up. Just get your foot back  on the rope and keep going,” she encouraged from below.

I knew I couldn’t turn around on the narrow rope to get back to where I started and I wasn’t going to try to do it backwards either. I kept moving forward. This wasn’t so bad after all. I decided I could do this.

I finished walking the rope part. Next came a swinging wooden bridge. Conquered that. A balance beam. That high up? A single guide rope to hold onto. Slow and shaky steps, but I reached the end of it.

Then I reached the zipline. The last part of course. I froze again. Flying through the air? No way! I can’s do this. And from here, I could climb down and be done.

One more call of encouragement from below, “You’re almost done! You can do this!”

I was pretty sure I couldn’t, but she kept encouraging me. Finally, I closed my eyes and jumped. Well, more like I fell off the platform. A few seconds of falling before I was caught and then I sailed off the end. I couldn’t open my eyes until I reached the end. Feeling my feet hit solid ground was the greatest feeling in the world.

“See! I knew you could do it,” my friend exclaimed.

She was right. I had done it. I had faced my fears and done what I never thought I could do. It was so freeing! I have proved my inner thoughts wrong.

That day was my biggest life lesson on fear. Sometimes we just have to do it anyways. Stop letting fear keep you from trying. If I hadn’t put on the harness, if I hadn’t climbed up to the platform, if I hadn’t taken the first step, if I hadn’t kept going when I slipped, I never would have known the freedom of facing my fear and conquering it. There’s no better feeling I have found.

The same is true in all areas of our lives. We may be asked to do things that scare us to even think of trying. But, if we actually take the first step, we may just be surprised to find that we can do it. With each shaky, unsure step our confidence grows and before we know it we have done the thing we were most scared to do.

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