We stood in line to ride the one ride I said I never wanted to ride. I don’t like fear to stand in my way, so last year I swallowed my fear and rode the ride. The same one that rose 300 feet into the air before breaking down. The same one that stranded riders at 300 feet for hours. I rode it. All was fine. I believed my fear had seen defeat. That was last year.
Each time I’ve ridden, the fear has decreased, but it’s always remained in the back of my mind. This time was no different. Except it was. Steve and I took our seats, clicked in, even posed for a picture. The swings rise 300 feet until you reach the top for a beautiful view of Charlotte. The breeze picked up as we gently made our way around the circle.
Steve looked out to the city, “You know this really is a relaxing ride.” The words barely escaped his lips when the ride took a lurch.
“Well, except when that happens.” The swings stopped. You have got to be kidding me. Everything in me wanted to scream and panic. We were stuck. And the fear was so threatening all I could do was breathe, lay my head back, and let go.
Fear. I despise fear. Just when you think you’ve got it under control, it rears its nasty head to taunt you. Reminding you of its presence. I thought my fear was the ride. I thought I conquered my fear by riding the ride. My true fear was not the ride. It was being stuck on the ride. And that was a fear I had never faced until that moment.
I’ve procrastinated writing a new blog post. Telling myself that having the kids home all day every day makes writing hard. Telling myself I need to work on other writing projects, not my blog. Telling myself it’s because I have so much to do around the house and with the kids and this and that. I’ve been lying to myself. So can I confess to you?
Here’s the truth. I’m scared. I’m avoiding writing because I fear the reaction. Not because I’m anticipating a reaction, but the opposite possibly. What if I get no reaction? You see I tell people all the time that I used to care too much about what people thought about me, but I’ve outgrown that in my maturing years. Yeah right. That’s a lie, too. I still care very much what people think about me.
That’s why I’ve procrastinated writing a post. I’m afraid to let you down. I’m afraid you won’t like what you read. I’m afraid that you might be a reader that liked my post that went viral and now you are expecting another one to touch you the same way. And I don’t want to disappoint you.
I’ve never written from the position of fear before. Yes, I’ve faced this in life with other circumstances. But when I write, I simply write. I write from my heart using situations and stories God has brought into my days. I don’t sit at the computer thinking about what people will think. Or at least I thought I didn’t. Until God used a letter to my boys on my blog to create reaction I’m not accustomed to in order to show me that yes I do still care what others think.
My entire life I’ve placed an enormous amount of pressure to perform on myself. Whatever I excelled in naturally brought praise. The praise planted fear in my heart. Fear of failure the next time around. Failure leads to disappointing others. And I hate to let people down. So I tried hard. Really, really hard.
A performance-based life that feeds on praise lives in fear.
My try hard life shows me in the clearest way my desperate need for grace. I need grace daily. When I fail, I want to know it will be ok. When I mess up, I want to know I’m still accepted. When I disappoint, I want to know I’m still loved.
It’s the gospel.
What I’m seeking from others in my life, can only come from one. The same holds true for you today.
So today I write. An average post that will not go viral. I’m choosing to accept the fact I might disappoint some. I’m choosing to accept that I can’t do everything perfectly. I’m choosing to tell my fears to run away. I’m choosing to release the pressure to perform so I can open my hands to grace. And I thank you for grace.
What fears are you facing today? What fears did you believe you had under control only to see them resurface? Where are you trying so hard that you are closing your hands to grace?