Now that I’ve pretty much reached “this side of the hill” of my life, I’ve decided that I want to start becoming one of those people who kills their fears. I know what you’re saying, some fears are healthy, but isn’t the term “healthy fear” just a poor substitute term for wisdom? I mean, I may fear getting hit by a car while crossing the street, but that doesn’t mean I should NEVER cross the street; I just use wisdom and look both ways before doing so.
What I’ve noticed about “killing” a fear is that it empowers me and frees me to kill even more fears. For instance, I am pretty much afraid of two particular animal groups, snakes and any rodent. ICK! Now, let me say, I consider it “wise” to be cautious with snakes, because they can be poisonous and I’m just not going to do the research to find out which ones are and which ones aren’t and then compare that to a snake I may encounter, I just assume stay away from them altogether. However, I know my fear of rodents is mostly irrational, even though what they represent is filth (and besides that, they’re just ugly in my opinion).
Anyway, last summer, a friend brought his pet snakes to help those of us with a fear of snakes to help conquer it. Now, the previous time he brought his pets, I was “brave” enough just to stay in the same room, and then I worked my way to actually touching a snake, and that was enough for me. But that first act freed me enough to promise that the next time I had an opportunity, I would be brave enough to hold one. So the second time he brought the snakes, I actually held one for about a minute. Oh, my heart was racing, and I don’t know if I even breathed but I did it. I was so proud of myself and now I use that experience when I have to face something I’m afraid of. I say to myself, “Hey, I held a snake. I didn’t die. I can do anything!” and that has freed me tremendously!
Yesterday, I wanted to take a hike and so I revisited the first mountain I was challenged to climb less than a year ago (see: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough). My husband was out of town, my sons were busy (and they refuse to accompany me on hikes anyway), and everyone else was just too busy. I almost wasn’t going to go, but, hey, I’ve held a snake. I didn’t die. I can do anything. Just past the steepest part (where using one’s hands for stability and balance is almost mandatory), a small snake slithered past my foot about 1/2” from my shoe! Had I panicked I could’ve tumbled backwards several yards down the mountain. Later, on the trail, I slipped and scraped my knee (did I mention I have a fear of pain and blood?). Guess what…..I didn’t die. Just like the first time I climbed that mountain, I came off of it a little less fearful and a little more victorious!
I know all of us have fears, but take steps to conquer just one and it’ll be a stepping stone to help you conquer more. You’ll see; you can do anything!
-Tessa L. Charles
-Tessa L. Charles