A few days ago, I was thinking about a few years ago when my family went to Adventure Dome at Circus, Circus in Las Vegas. It was an exciting time for us because it was the first time all of my children were tall enough to get on ALL of the rides. Now, they are all almost taller than me! As soon as we walked into to Adventure Park, there stands a "free fall" ride called The Sling Shot. When you climb into the chairs on the bottom of the ride, it shoots you up to the top like a sling shot, pauses for 3 seconds and then releases you to free fall to the bottom. Whew! Scary, right? Well, Blaze, my now 11-year-old, was only 7 years old at the time and has always been very brave. He wanted to go on the ride immediately and convinced his then, 6-year-old brother, Hayes and 9-year-old sister, Skye to join him.
Hayes eagerly got in line with his "big brother" and after watching the ride "in action" a few times, quickly finessed his way out of the crowd with tears in his eyes yelling, "Mommy? I don't want to go on this ride!" I came to his rescue and wiped his tears whispering, "it's ok, baby." Adrian abruptly interrupted our moment with, "no way! Un-uh! Let's go, Hayes! You can do this!" He takes Hayes' arm and what felt like pulling him from my grip, directed him back to get in line.
My heart jumped and my teeth clinched as only a mother could relate, as she watched her child do something that they were petrified to do.
Hayes could barely climb into the seat. After a few attempts, he strapped himself in, pulled down the harness and through crocodile tears gave me a terrified gaze. I held his gaze with the biggest, Mommy-really-isn't-scared smile and mouthed, "you can do it!" Before I could finish, he was shot into the air and all I could see were his size 2's dangling from the seat. I counted, "one...two...three!" My breathing stopped . . . I heard screams blended with the mechanical sounds of the ride's hydraulics. In less than 10 seconds, Hayes was back in front of me, wearing a smile of pride and relief. I screamed and cheered as onlookers couldn't help but smile and join in the celebration, as I congratulated by "baby's" first major roller coaster ride! He exited the ride with a grin that I will remember for the rest of my life! It was a grin that humbly, yet confidently became a fundamental piece of his subconscious beliefs; something I knew in that moment he would pull from for decades to come.
"Hayes! You did it! And, you did it afraid!!" I hugged him and cheered and squeezed him as tightly as I could without cutting off his circulation. I looked right into his eyes, and whispered, "I AM SOOOOOOO PROUD OF YOU!"
In that moment, I realized that this lesson wasn't only for Hayes, but for me.
I have had many opportunities at doing life afraid. I have even gotten in line . . . grad school, starting a new business, leaving a job, getting married and having a baby!
As a business owner and new CEO, I watched and studied other successful entrepreneurs, waiting for my turn to experience success! Comparison, impatience, insecurity and fear would often show up uninvited and I would quickly shoo them out the door by reminding myself of the reason I got in line in the first place. Discouragement and distraction would knock, but I dare not open the door, in fear of the possibility that I may not get back in line.
Numerous times, I thought about getting out of line before it was my turn. Sometimes, I even talked myself out of experiencing the thrill of the ride, in an effort to comfort my paralyzing fear. I was tempted to duck under the rail, when I allowed the voice of distraction or discouragement to become louder than God's gentle push and a soft whisper, "you can do this!" But, over time, I became more confident and clear about the reasons why I was even in line in the first place. I realized that I was in line for a bigger purpose and it had nothing to do with me! I was supposed to be in line, because God placed me there and He had something in store for me to learn, experience and share!
In the past few weeks, fear has reared it's ugly head! I was quickly reminded of how I felt at the base of The Sling Shot ride several years ago.
Here's what I learned . . .
- Pursuing your passion is a decision and walking in your calling is a choice.
- Fear will always try to distract you from experiencing the thrill of God showing up
- When we decide to do something afraid, we have to really trust God with our process and get out of the way!
- We have to remain faithful and maintain the courage to get on the ride, strap in, pull down the harness and hold on while holding His gaze.
- God believes in you and is always cheering and screaming for you every step of the way!
- At the end of your journey, people who watched from the sidelines will be inspired and encouraged to stay in their own line and wait their turn.
What "line" in life have you gotten out of because of fear? Getting a degree? Writing a book? Having a baby?
Take courage! Get back in line. Get on the ride. Strap up and keep your gaze on God. People are watching you! Make the decision to . . . DO IT AFRAID! YOU CAN DO IT!