Have you ever built up something in your head and made it bigger than it actually was? That’s what happens when we let fear get the best of us. We turn molehills into mountains that can eventually talk us out of something amazing that exists just on the other side of that same fear. It seems my whole life has been that way for me. Even up until recently.
Just in the last two weeks I started a podcast, I played my first concert since everything opened up again and I flew in a helicopter that brought me to one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
All of these things invoked some level of fear in me. All of the “what ifs” came flooding in, each in their own way.
Finally getting the podcast up and running, an idea I had been sitting on for quite awhile was an overwhelming task at first. But when it came down to it, it was simply breaking it all down into smaller steps to make it seem more achievable. Which worked since it’s been up and running now for two weeks!
Fear can make us feel overwhelmed. Even in the smallest of things, it can feel like climbing up the biggest mountain. So much so that quitting can seem like the best option. (It isn’t though so don’t do that, k?)
When we give in to that feeling of being overwhelmed and wanting to quit, we miss out on that feeling of accomplishment when we push through to finish what we had set out to do. Nobody wants to be a quitter. It’s not a great feeling. But that feeling of looking back and saying to yourself, “I did that. It was hard, it was overwhelming, but I finished it and I’m so proud of myself for seeing it through.” Nothing can beat that feeling.
Another aspect of fear is that it makes us afraid of what other people think. We become afraid of making mistakes, especially if it’s publicly.
Recently I was asked to give a concert. I was given one hour to sing and play my own songs. And it was for a good cause, to help those less fortunate. Something that is close to my heart. I was happy to have been asked. And it was the first time getting back on stage to sing my own songs since everything had shut down. I was excited to finally be able to share my songs again, but at the same time fear showed up like it always does.
All of the “what ifs” came rushing in. What if I forget the words? (Even more embarrassing when its your own songs! It happens to all songwriters but still.) What if I mess up on the chords? What if my guitar playing is horrible? What if my voice cracks? What if no one buys a ticket and shows up? It’s always the same thing every time I play.
But I also knew from experience that pushing through and doing it anyway is such a great feeling that regardless of how fear was making me feel, I was gonna show up and give it the best that I had in me. I practiced my one hour set and I knew that I knew the words and the chords going into this.
On the night of, I could feel the butterflies leading up to the moment of getting on stage. There was about thirty-ish people in the audience, which to be honest was a lot more than my fear had predicted. I started out strong and then going into my third song, I forgot the opening words. It’s a song about my kids so maybe that might have had something to do with it? In either case, I paused, cracked a joke to the audience, and started again. This time without any mistakes. On my second last song, near the end, I played a chord wrong. During all the times I had rehearsed, it wasn’t an issue. But for some reason that night, my left hand just wouldn’t cooperate. But without missing a beat, I plowed through without stopping and just kept going until the end.
After the show, people told me how much they enjoyed it. Some were brought to tears through certain songs. Certain songs and lyrics meant a lot to others. Overall it was met with positive reviews. It seemed those little mistakes that I had made on stage that were so huge to me, didn’t seem to matter to the people in the audience. What really mattered was how the songs touched people. How the lyrics spoke to them. As a songwriter, that’s the only thing that matters. It’s the reason why I started writing in the first place. I wanted people to leave that place feeling something…hope, joy, peace, knowing that they’re not alone in their pain. That’s the stuff that matters to me. And that evening, that’s exactly what happened.
The things that I was afraid of paled in comparison to what was really accomplished. The songs that I wrote made an impact. I was so glad that I pushed through and did it afraid anyway. And God willing there will be more to come.
Fear also keeps us from taking chances. But it’s usually in taking those chances that something really beautiful is waiting on the other side.
I recently had the awesome once in a lifetime opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon! One of the seven natural wonders of the world. When choosing how to go about getting there, we had a couple of options.
Option number one was a bus ride. A bus ride that would take a staggering TEN HOURS out of our day!
Option number two? A forty minute helicopter ride. Seems like a no brainer, right? Well, for me it was a bit of a conundrum. I knew I didn’t want this to take up the entire day but on the other hand, helicopters make me a tad nervous. I had done the helicopter ride over the falls a couple of months earlier to try to break me in a little bit. That ride was only twelve minutes. This was an entire FORTY minutes…there AND back. Over desert, deep canyons and crevasses and literally out in the middle of nowhere. Maybe I’ve seen too many movies but my imagination started coming up with all sorts of scenarios. Ones that either left no survivors at all or left us lost in the middle of the desert with absolutely no survival skills whatsoever. But at the end of the day, the helicopter option was the more logical choice.
Once again I could feel the butterflies and the fear as we all got strapped into our seats, complete with headset and parachute…you know…just in case. (Wasn’t a comforting moment for me.) And then the familiar sounds of “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC began to play in our ears (courtesy of our pilot) as we began to lift off of the ground and begin our journey towards the Canyon. That got me excited and helped me to focus on what an opportunity this really was! And to be honest, I didn’t even realize we were in the air for forty minutes. I was too busy taking in the breathtaking scenery and the Birdseye views and laughing with the other passengers to even feel any fear anymore.
I remember the moment that we came up over that mountain crest and for the very first time, looking out into the Grand Canyon! Flying in between the jagged rock formations that seemed to tower over us…even though we were in a helicopter! There are no words to describe it.
Once we landed at the top of the Grand Canyon, we were permitted to walk around and take in the views and to take pictures. It was a panoramic view of God’s creation and a reminder of just how small we really are in comparison. I didn’t want to leave.
It’s the same thing with our fears really. How small they are in comparison to the joy and the feeling of accomplishment that you feel after you have pushed through to the other side of your fear! The view that awaits you on the other side of whatever it is that is trying to prevent you from becoming who God has created you to be.
I would have missed out on so much if I would have allowed my fears to keep me from taking that helicopter ride. From playing my songs. From starting a podcast. From taking chances and trusting God with the outcome. I would have missed the view. I would have missed my purpose. I would have missed the feeling of accomplishment. You can’t put a price tag on that.
What am I trying to say in all of this? Your fears are lying to you! They’re simply trying to keep you from being all that you can be. Your fears are merely a shadow! A figment that is playing with your mind. You can accomplish more than you think. You are made for more than you are settling for. Your purpose is just on the other side of your fears, if you are so bold enough to step over that threshold. There is a view that is waiting for you that is beyond anything you can imagine.