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Practice Facing Your Fears

What cause you anxiety?

What brings you stress?

What makes your heart race?

What paralyzes you with fear?


When I was a kid, I was terrified of heights. I didn’t really discover this until I was shipped off to a wilderness camp in 5th grade.

The camp was going well. I was having fun. Then somewhere in the middle of the week we went repelling. For those of you who have never been repelling, it is where you let yourself fall off a cliff supported by a thin little rope. (It is completely safe, but as a 5th grader I was terrified.)

I took one look at the eighty foot cliff I was about to go over and knew that I didn’t like that idea. I had only known the adults at this camp for three days. How in the world was I going to trust them not to drop me. Would they clamp everything on correctly? Are you sure this rope is going to hold? The rope is wrapped around that tree. Did we check to make sure it was sturdy? What if I passed out? All those fears rushed at me and I was frozen.

But my friends seemed totally cool. They were calm.

I couldn’t look like a dork, so I inched my way to the back of the line. That way, when I worked up enough courage, I could go off the cliff and my friends didn’t have to see the pee marks on my shorts (just kidding, but it was close).

For some reason, I knew that I had to do this thing. I had to trust that everything would be okay.  I had to face this fear.

So I did.

It was terrifying, but I put on the harness, let the guide clasp me into the rope, and I held on for dear life. I slowly lowered myself off the cliff and somehow arrived safely on the ground. I can still feel the cramp in my right hand from how hard I was holding on to that rope.

From that moment in fifth grade, I knew I was afraid of heights. I also knew I could face that fear.

I set out on a mission to conquer it.

It would be a while before I could ride highest roller coasters, but I tried progressively higher and higher rides. I went repelling again. I tried a rock climbing wall. Eventually, I built up a level of comfort with heights.

The next test came in eighth grade. In eighth grade camp, we jumped off cliffs. Yes, there was water below, but still, that is scary! I felt a little more comfortable because I knew I had been practicing. But, when I stood on the edge of the cliff and looked at the twenty five feet between me and the water, I didn’t like it very much. My heart raced. My palms were sweaty. My breathing was shallow and quick. My whole body felt tense.

A handful of people had jumped off already and they didn’t die. So I knew it was safe.

It was my turn.

I jumped.

And I didn’t die!

I still don’t love heights, but I can face them.


I know my fears and I try to intentionally put myself in situations to face them.

That’s the only way I’ve come up with to overcome the paralysis.

That’s my encouragement for today.

What brings anxiety?

What brings you stress?

What makes your heart race?

What paralyzes you with fear?

Find a way, even a small way, to face it.

Let’s not let fear keep us from the life we want to live.


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