Tuesday, July 1, 2014

what we miss by being afraid

Today started out like any other summer day. It’s lazy and my first foggy thoughts melt into some sort of clarity. Shut off the alarm so it doesn’t wake the kids. Get up. Get going. Steal a bit of quiet before the welcome noise of kids and summer take over the day. But then I realize something.

I have all day. In fact, I have all week. The kids are gone this week, spending it with my parents. We did the exchange yesterday, with it’s full spectrum of roller coaster emotions. There were tears, joy, laughing, and gut wrenching sobs. As the hour of departure came over us, a few of my kids realized that they didn’t want to go. They would be homesick, miss their bed, miss mom and dad, miss the dog, the chickens, whatever else. One child’s tears started a chain reaction of emotion, and it wasn’t too long before all three were sobbing in the middle of the natural grocers where we had lunch. It was almost too much for me to take. 

Sometimes we do this in life. We want something so much, something good and worth wanting, and right when we’re on the brink of getting there, we sabotage it. We talk ourselves out of it. We decide it’s too hard. Too scary. Too much. As a result, we miss out on the joy of something amazing. 

My kids almost missed it. The week of fun adventures with cousins and grandparents, and all the candy that mom and dad rarely allow them to have at home. Thankfully, they chose to be brave in the middle of their fears.

How many of us can’t say the same?

We allow the fears to be our boss, we jump ship when things get hard, and we turn back when we should be moving forward. Just as we are right on the edge of the good part, we decide to stop. We miss the joy of pushing through. We miss the reward of facing our fears and finding out they weren’t so bad in the first place. Sometimes we sabotage things intentionally, but sometimes we do this without even realizing it. The dreams we set out to make reality, the bucket list we wanted to conquer, the relationship that we thought was the one, we miss out on that because we are afraid. 

The first step is always the hardest. Whether it’s mailing out the application, being the first to say I’m sorry, or getting into Grampie’s car, we must put on our bravest face and take one step. Even if we feel afraid, that one step is often the beginning of something amazing. 

How many times have you allowed your fears to keep you from something good?

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