You've seen the old Nike Ad: JUST DO IT. You've probably seen the extreme sports decals, license tags, and t-shirts touting the bearer's life slogan: NO FEAR. Whenever I'd see those NO FEAR people, I'd wonder why they got to be brave when my gene pool determined that I was a fraidy cat.
I know the social scientists are probably all a-twitter about whether I am a product of nature or nurture. I can tell you unequivocally, it is both. I was born afraid. Then, I had that innate trait reinforced over and over again when I was encouraged to be cautious and avoid new challenges as a kid and young adult. I've been trying to outrun my fear ever since.
When I found out that some NO FEAR peeps in my area were signaling levels achieved in scuba training via special license tags, I wanted to be a scuba diver when I grew up. Yea, I was already 30, but I figured I still had time. I had scuba lust. I had license tag and t-shirt lust. I wanted to be someone who was so confident that I could brag about how confident I was with NO FEAR stuff of my very own. Truth was, I was too cheap to pay for scuba lessons. Ok...the truth really is that I was too scared to pay that much money to prove to myself that I was brave.
So, I went and got me my own pair of Nikes. I figured that was a cost efficient way into the back door of personal heroism. I laced 'em up and stood in front of the mirror admiring myself. I expected to be able to go out and JUST DO IT. I did. I went right out to the grocery store after dark and bought chocolate. I told myself that going out after dark was a baby step on the way to a closet full of NO FEAR accessories. Here I am 20 years later---still trying to outrun the fear. Wouldn't you know it, the NO FEAR craze has run out of steam as far as I can tell. That's me. A decade late and a dollar short.
A few posts ago, a friend asked if I was going to offer tips to escape fear. If I could do that, and I wish I could, it would mean I had already perfected the escape route. I would have produced a New York Time's best seller to prove it, and Oprah would have called before she quit. Yea, I'm still steamed about that timing issue. I keep thinking, 6 degrees of separation being what it is and all, that I will have rolled over to her very own personal, private facebook wall any minute now. When it happens, you all will be the first to know.
While I was out and about today, a friend mentioned that she had conquered a fear. I chuckled and said, "If you are like me, you get comfortable with the fear, but you don't ever conquer it. It will find a way to remind you of its existence." I have however come to a huge conclusion about my comfort level with fear. I'm tired of it. For the first time in my life, I am really following through on my efforts to evict it.
I get up every day and strap on my imaginary Nike's and scuba gear and make my way out in to the world. I'm making my way through a bucket list of sorts. Instead of things I want to do before I die, my bucket list is composed of stuff I want to pursue that I've ways been afraid to try. I confess that I was off to a limping head start when I created this blog. I had begun to tame my fear of home renovation with a room and entry way completed and a kitchen half done. I had attended the writer's conference that may well have been my own personal stint in anti-fear rehab. I came home and sat myself down and began to tackle the technology of the blog.
I have decided the time has come to stop letting myself believe that I am less than I am. Because, as long as I have believed that lie, I have acted on that lie. The fraidy cat has got to go! So, if I were writing a NYT's best seller on conquering fear, it might begin something like this:
Step 1: Go stand in front of the mirror. No, you don't have to be naked.
Step 2: Imagine yourself in Nike's and scuba gear. (See, I told you re # 1.)
Step 3: Ask yourself what do you believe about you that is making you less than you really are.
Step 4: Have no fear, and just do it...even if you might fail....just do it. The worst that can happen is--you'll have to try again tomorrow! And when you have that kind of gumption, the fraidy cat will know his days are numbered!
While you ponder what you believe about yourself that is the key in the lock of your fear, think on this truth too:
Proverbs 3:21-25 (NIV)
My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; 22 they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. 23 Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; 24 when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, 26 for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.