First off, As much as I would like to think I am, I’m not perfect. I have fears. I’m human…
I fear the ocean (it’s full of lurking creatures with nasty agendas)
I fear confrontation (simply confronting people, not necessarily hostile/argumentative situations)
I fear public speaking (one of my worst fears it’s horrible)
There are many more, but I figure you don’t have all day.
It’s strange how fears can hinder us.
My fear of the ocean has kept me from being able to explore some of the beauty of Gods creation. It’s silly really, if you think about it. The likeliness of me not making it out of the water is slim to none, yet it has such a power over me.
My fear of confrontation is something that I’ve struggled with since I was little. My parents would ask me to go ask the lady working the cash register for some ketchup, and I just couldn’t do it. As the years have passed this has changed for me a little. I live in a foreign country so confronting people is something I deal with every day. If I want something from the store or a shop I have to deal with these thoughts that run through my head telling me “What if they talk to you and you don’t understand them” or “Your Bulgarian isn’t good enough, you’re just going to say it wrong and end up embarrassing yourself”.
My last biggest fear is one of public speaking. I know that for most people this is a fear, but I still feel like this is a silly, and pointless fear. I mean really, what’s the big deal with speaking in front of a few people. Though when I try and make sense of it, it feels silly, in my mind I still can’t shake it. Even though I’ve taken 2 semester long classes in speech (with great teachers), every time I step up in front of someone to make a speech, I lose the ability to breathe and speak. Which is a bad combination considering once I find the ability to breathe and speak again I end up trying to do them both at the same time, and it’s just a train wreck … just imagine how awkward that is.
So what does this have to do with anything?
Well, recently I took a trip outside my comfort zone. Not willingly, let me tell you. What had happened was that my mom wanted me to voice my opinion at a conference. She wanted me to teach a seminar on everyday evangelism. I welcomed the topic, but DID NOT want to speak. As the time came for me to talk I knew that it wasn’t right for me to be so selfish. I know that my opinion matters, and to let fear stop me from voicing it was just plain stupid. So I did it. I spoke. Even though I was shaking, I was fearful, and had to control my breathing, I knew I was doing the right thing. And let me tell you what I got out of leaving my comfort zone, even though it wasn’t so fun at that moment, was MUCH better than if I hadn’t. I’ve even done 2 more seminars since then.
Although this post is kind of about my humble defeat over fear, I really wanted to use this as an example for other people. Isn’t it weird how people only push their comfort zone if they have to- if someone makes them or pushes them to?
Have you ever heard that quote about how “life begins outside of your comfort zone”. Well, I’m here to say it really truly does. It sounds kind of silly, but I’ve really found happiness in being able to say to the devil “Looks like you don’t win this round buddy”
What does this mean to you? Or even to me?
What I’m trying to say is that fears are just distractions from living the life God intended for you. I understand why it says in the Bible not to have them. Have some courage and say “pish posh” to your fears and start with a tiny step out of your comfort zone. Once you realize how fulfilling it is you won’t just put your feet in, you’ll be diving into the water (even though there’s a 1/1,000,000 chance there’ll be sharks). You’ll realize how much fun you could have had playing in the water, how many friends and life experiences you could have by simply not being afraid of talking to people, and how much fun it is to speak your mind, even in front of a lot of people.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”
Thus ends my long, informative, train wreck of a semi-motivational post. Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it!