Growing up I was an avid reader. I still enjoy reading and I like reading on a wide variety of things only now I can do it on my phone, my computer or in book form ( ok I’m still really old school and love nothing more than going to the library and picking out some books, call me a nerd)
One author I readily devoured, was Stephen King. Why?? Why? I’d ask myself when half way through I realized I was terrified. It had crept up on me as subtle as the morning dawn… fear. It gripped my heart and made me drop the book and go find something wholesome and distracting to do so those feelings would subside.
I swear Pet Cemetery left me jumping at every random scratching sound and had me sleeping with one eye open and I couldn’t blame that on Metallica’s music 😉
Geez. He’s so good at scaring you and making you fearful.
Yet, what was scaring me was nothing more than the extreme and deep mind of a gifted writer. I really had nothing to fear.
Yet how often in life can fear grip us when we really have nothing to fear? Fears of the unknown, of “what if”, of what would I do, what if this happen? etc. etc.
Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason.
Look at that last part again…. hang back for no good reason.
What fear causes you to hang back from something or leaves you worried or causes you anxiety for no good reason?
I was thinking this past week (one night when I was supposed to be falling asleep) about a long ride I was going to do the next morning. The long ride wasn’t what was troubling me. I knew I could handle the mileage. What I was feeling a little fearful about was what I’d encounter on my long ride.
A hill that twisted and turned, which I guess you could say, led up to the top of the mountain it actually was. There was also another significant hill on my route, I felt fairly confident I’d nail that ok.
But this other one, that was troubling me. Ok, if I’m honest with you, my readers all over the world, I was a bit fearful.
Why??? That next morning with the miles building under me and settling into the rhythm of the road, it was in my head, a presence almost taunting me.
It left me fearing my abilities, or perhaps, lack thereof to take on something so formidable. I’m fairly new to the world of cycling and I was riding on terrain where they run one of the toughest cycling races in our state.
Did I have what it would take? I knew I was strong but was I strong enough to muscle that hill ?
What I knew I had to get on top of long before I got there, was my mental game. I couldn’t go into that without my mind firmly being in place. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an athlete, my mental game has to be as strong, if not stronger, than my body.
Fears, will cripple your mental game.
So I began to mentally talk to myself what was I afraid of? Really?
I was afraid of not being able to do it, of failing.
I then asked myself, and what if I couldn’t, what was the worst that could happen?
EEK.. get off and push it up the hill??
I was afraid I wouldn’t have the physical strength to do it, that somehow , I’d be lacking.
Fear can cripple us from moving forward, no matter what it is in our life we want to take on.
I didn’t want to “hang back for no good reason”. I wanted to face what it was head on and know that I could do it. I knew once I tackled it, it would not seem as insurmountable as next time.
The sun was out high in the sky although it was still morning. Sweat had already soaked me and was running down my legs and arms, my gloves were wet under my hands. I felt my legs respond to the incline. I tried to make my breathing as focused and even as when I was in childbirth, slow, steady and measured. My heart, it let me know if was doing it’s job 😉
I took that hill, I focused on each pedal stroke, tried to keep my breathing even ( which was pretty hard!), and knew that when I got to the top I’d be back on my “regular” training ground again.
I was so afraid that thing was gonna eat my lunch.
I did it. I never let that fear come back that I couldn’t. I felt victorious.
You know what? I just did that hill again yesterday. I have a very healthy respect for it. But you wanna know something?
I improved my time from my first attempt….so there’s that…. I went up it faster.
Fears can cripple us. They can hold us back and keep us from new victories, in all areas of our lives.
I love this quote from Zig Ziglar…
“F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget everything and run” or ” Face everything and rise” the choice, is yours”
I’ve heard this before, and well for me, face everything and rise is where I’m at.
Now, what about you? Do you have fears that hinder you or cause you to hang back from living? What will you choose? to rise? or to run?