This past week my husband and I visited Paris, France for our anniversary vacation. On our last day, per my husband's request, we went to a theme park called Asterix Park. He loves theme parks, as for me, not so much. Nonetheless, we went on to enjoy ourselves. During our duration there, my husband's main agenda was to get on all the roller-coaster rides he could. He later became upset with me, because I was too chicken to get on them with him. He didn't like the fact that he had to get on them alone, and that I had left him by himself.
However, I was terrified and if I got on the rides, it would only be to satisfy him. I hated how disappointed he was but I couldn't push myself to do it. Instead I did end up finding something I wanted to ride. (Basically, I was less afraid of this particular ride). When stepping up to the line, my husband reciprocated the same feeling I had been giving him all day -he decided he didn’t want to ride. So there I was, alone in line and about to get on a ride I tried to convince myself was not scary. At first, I wanted to prove to my husband I could do it, but once I got in line alone, I decided I had to do this for myself instead.
1. How many things have I missed out on due to fear?
In my head, I played all the reasons not to be scared as I waited in line, which seemed to take forever to move forward. I thought, sarcastically, “Sure, I’ll be spinning in the air, while sliding back and forth, and being held together by a small seat with a small back wedging me together, but I'll be fine.”
I couldn't help but think about how many things I missed out on due to fear? I also wondered how many things I’ve done only to appease someone else. But I wanted to feel the joy others felt when riding a roller coaster, and I didn’t want to feel chicken to say yes to myself. So I told myself to just let go.
People can easily grow up being passive, especially when things around them have a set system. That is why letting go from the things we are familiar with can be hard. It can be difficult to feel free to do things just for ourselves.
2. Enjoy the process of just getting there
While in line, I looked at two little girls who were so excited to get on. Their enthusiasm for the ride was quite difficult to be around, however it was also refreshing. Seeing their spirits to eagerly want to ride gave me the courage to push through. They knew no limitations.
We can sometimes want something for ourselves that is both joyous and frightening, but we shouldn't be afraid of the overall ride. They played in the line and made noise of excitement, as kids do, but they didn’t constantly look at the ride ahead, like I did. They were enjoying the process of just getting there.
3. Don't let comfort hold you back
By now, I had reached the front of the line. I wanted so badly to just quit and walk away. My husband would never know, and I could be safe from what seemed deathly, in my mind. (I exaggerate a lot...) However, if I didn’t overcome my fear, I would know that I let comfort hold me back, yet again.
My heart was pounding in my chest and my hands had become clammy. It was then that I understood how my husband felt riding the roller coasters alone. No matter what, I had to do this by myself, and for myself. Not everything you do will be shared with others; there are parts of your journey you may have to endure alone.
4. Though I'm frighten, I'm still "OK"
As I stepped onto the platform, I was terrified. I asked the woman next to me if she was scared, just to verify that my own feelings were valid. She replied, "Yes, a little.” After the ride began, there were moments where I closed my eyes, clenched my fists, screamed, and prayed. I let go, in order to do something that no one forced me to, but it was still frightening.
Being on the ride didn’t lessen that feeling, but I was still OK. Sometimes, we do something believing it will be secure, but just because we said “yes” to the challenge doesn’t negate that it is a challenge. However, even in the midst of fright God still has you, and you will be OK.
I grew up with a mother who was the epitome of self-serving. I truly believed that once we all got married and moved out, she may look up and not be able to identify what she has done for just herself, rather than for others.
The beauty in serving God is that even in choosing Christ as your savior, you can’t just do it for Him. Religion teaches us through guilt that you must do things solely for God and His pleasure. However, the missing truth is God finds more pleasure in willing vessels. There is no force needed to keep them.
We must learn to see ourselves in the front row of the audience we have all around us. When I look in the mirror, I want to be satisfied with all I did, not only for others, but more importantly things I did for myself. I no longer want to be forced into doing something I know that can be good for me. Instead, I want to be willing to take on the challenge, even if it frightens me. Because I did it for myself.