I’m scared is not a good enough reason to say ‘no’. There may be perfectly good reasons. (It’s stupid, dangerous, illegal, Jesus would be disappointed in me.) But my fears alone are not a valid determinant of whether or not I should do something. It is that philosophy that has led me to walk on hot coals, travel alone to a village in Western Kenya, or enter a national figure skating competition.
Long ago the same outlook kept me from saying no to moving to Ethiopia during their Communist revolution, having my babies in South America, or moving them to Mozambique in a civil war. Most of the biggies were motivated by my faith in Jesus Christ, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t nervous about the outcome.
I seem to have communicated my philosophy of life to my younger daughter, only she takes it one step further: being scared is a good reason to say ‘yes’. I remember Erika as a pre-teen, standing on the cliff at Cave Point in Door County, Wisconsin--for forty-five minutes! She wanted to jump off into the waves like the other kids, but she was scared. She refused to give up. When she finally jumped, she loved it and jumped over and over. Maybe that’s why she is so determined to overcome her fears: she is sure she will love it when she does.
This is the same daughter who took trapeze lessons as an adult to get over her fear of heights. I’m not sure how long she stood on the platform the first day before the instructor “helped” her off. (She was wearing a harness.) Last weekend she went one step further. (A LOT of steps, actually.) She jumped out of an airplane.
“I told the cameraman to keep shooting even if I was so scared I passed out," she told me. "But I was surprised how 'unscared' I was at the time. The best way to describe the experience was ‘peaceful.’ And the view was spectacular every way you looked.”
Check out her video and know what can happen when you say ‘yes’ to facing your fears. Did I mention how proud I am of her and her hubby, Dan?
And if you want to see more, watch her husband who graciously let me use the picture of his first step out of the plane to introduce this topic.
Erika says she would do it again if she had someone to do it with her. Maybe for my sixtieth birthday...
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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