Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fear Factor

"For God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" ~2 Timothy 1:7

The dark
Spiders & Bugs

Psychology Today defines fear as " a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we couldn't feel it, we couldn't protect ourselves from legitimate threats."  Hmmmmmm interesting!

This morning as I sat in my kitchen, eating a steaming bowl of oatmeal, sipping a second cup of coffee, I looked up at a picture on my refrigerator. I mentioned earlier, my dearest friend Tammy and I took a cruise together in October. There's a picture of our day on the beach in Cozumel, Mexico. We're both beaming, the sun is shining, there's a gorgeous palm tree in the background. There are tropical birds perched on each of our shoulders. This was probably one of my most memorable moments on our vacation.

For as long as I can remember, I have been TERRIFIED of birds. Any bird, large or small, chicken, sparrow, eagle, blue jay, crow and tropical birds included! When I was younger, I'd gone fishing with my uncle on White Lake in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I caught my first fish that day. I caught my first fish AND I acquired a long term fear of birds. Seagulls dive bombed our boat trying to snatch the fish I'd caught. From that moment on, I avoided birds at all cost.

Friends love to reminisce of the "time Michelle freaked out at a softball game when a flock of geese flew over head". My children love to toss a cracker near Mom's chair at the beach to see how close a seagull can get to me.  I know, right?...they're cruel huh? My encounters with birds and the stories are comical for sure, but they are also very real situations where I was truly afraid. I've had a bird trapped in my laundry room , a chicken chase my 3 year old and been unable to help her......AND I've also panicked, locked my children outside of the minivan, while I trembled inside the van in fear of the huge flock of seagulls overhead in the Walmart parking lot. Its ok, go ahead and laugh, I know you want to.

So how in the world is it possible that I had a tropical bird on my shoulder that afternoon in Cozumel? I'm not sure what possessed me to be honest with you. But as I watched the young man, walk up and down the beach, in such a beautiful setting, with such a wonderful friend, I said outloud "I want to do that!"...."do what?" Tammy asked  "I want to have my picture taken with one of those birds. " I replied.  I'm not sure she believed me at first. I'm not sure I believed me either. But the moment passed and the young man kept walking in the opposite direction. It seemed the moment had passed. Oh well. (I seriously wasn't heart broken over it)

Not long after, as we shared our lunch in the shade of the palm trees, you guessed it, he returned. "Go do it!" Tam suggested. "Nah, I'm good" I replied.......and she gave me that look, the look only your best friend can give you and get away with it......"Give me a break you chicken, DO IT.....because I know you can and you know you can!" So with hands shaking with fear, a throat as dry as the dessert and a body trembling with fear I said "You're coming with me!".......and she did what best friends do......she did :)

As that gorgeous blue and yellow tropical bird sat on my shoulder and pecked in my ear, I grabbed Tam's hand and squeezed for dear life....and I prayed "God give me the courage to do this".....and He did. As irrational as my fear was, God gave me the courage to stand there, snap a photo and overcome a fear. Not only that, he gave me the ability to stretch myself even further. "Can I hold him?" I heard myself ask. Before I knew it, the bird was in my hand, I was petting it and realizing how absolutely beautiful this creature was. It brings tears to my eyes as I think of it now.

How many other things have I feared in life? Making a new friend?  joining a new gym? asking a question? trying something new? How many moments have I missed? How many blessings have I willingly given up? When I stepped over the fear, I was able to experience an excitement, a blessing, the beauty of something I'd never known.

What are you afraid of? and what can you do, today to step over that fear?


No comments:

Post a Comment