“It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult.”
I don’t like birds. Apparently ‘ornithophobia’ the irrational fear of birds is quite common. We can probably thank the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock film “The Birds” for that one. A whole town overrun by birds who are intent on attacking humans! Creepy!
Over the past four weeks I have had the question “So are you going to play hockey again?” repeated over and over. At first I would say “Maybe it’s time to hang up my hockey boots.”
Christine Caine, a renowned Evangelist who snapped her anterior cruciate ligament skiing wrote these encouraging words in her article “Leadership lessons from the ski fields:”
‘Effective leadership is all about having the courage to take risks and step into the unknown. Everyone keeps asking if I will ever ski again, as if somehow one fall should put an end to all future attempts. I remember taking the hands of my 8-year-old and 4-year-old daughters on the day we were leaving the resort. I looked out the window at the mountain that was “responsible” for my pain and fall, and I said aloud “we will be back next year and I will ski down that mountain successfully”. I wanted my daughters to know that a fall or disappointment does not mean it is over, We need to get back up and try again. Life is too short to avoid risk. Not only that, but the purpose of life is not to arrive at death safely. Life is to be lived, and being alive means taking risks.’
Courage is the willingness and ability to confront fear. I don’t want to go through my life not having taken some risks. What happened during the hockey incident was a freak accident. I could have hurt my knee tripping over at school. In fact, that would have been more likely. I want to deal with the fear of injuring myself again. Sometimes what we speak becomes our existence. I speak life into this situation.
WIRED FOR LOVE NOT FEAR
I’m sure you’ve felt that way before. Fear grips you and terrifies you. The good news is we are wired for love not fear. Dr Caroline Leaf is a cognitive neuroscientist who has researched the effects of toxic thoughts and how they manifest themselves in our bodies. In her book “The Gift in You” she demonstrates that ‘God designed the human brain that whatever you have wired in can be wired out. This is called neuro-plasticity. We can be our own neurosurgeon! Humans are actually wired for love and we learn fear.’
As my surgery date gets closer, it’s so easy to shake hands and be buddies with fear.
What if I am aware in surgery and I can’t let the anesthetist know?
What about if those scaremongering stories from my naysayers are true?
How am I going to fight off those birds with the rigid brace on my knee?
A lot of the fear I’ve wired in is a direct consequence of going through traumatic times. (Read about me to find out more). The good news is this can be wired out.
You’re probably thinking “How can this be possible? Fear grips me. I’m scared about my future. How can I wire out my fear?” When I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety years ago I was fearful that taking medication meant I had lost the plot. Plus I was convinced I didn’t need it. I thought that being a strong person meant that I didn’t need to medicate my pain. I surrendered to those fears, took the medication, had counselling and was on the road to recovery. I’ve been off these medications for two years now.
Wiring out the fear meant that I needed for a short time to take medication. It also meant that I needed to address not just the medical side of depression and anxiety but also the emotional. I confronted my fears by talking it out with a counsellor. We wired love back in.
SO WHAT CAN I DO?
It’s vital we detox our thought life and our responses to fear. In fact, according to Caroline Leaf “fear triggers more than 1400 known physical and chemical responses and activates more than 30 different hormones.” So how can we detox our thought life? Caroline runs a programme called “21 Day Brain Detox.” During this 7-10 minute a day process you gather, reflect, journal, revisit and reach. (By the way I’m not an affiliate link for her programme). Dr Leaf elaborates on this process in her book “Who Switched off my Brain?”
First gather your thoughts and look at what is influencing your choices and behaviour. Reflect by asking yourself “what am I thinking about?” Journal your thoughts and look at the patterns. What words are repeatedly coming to your mind?
Revisiting means to be honest with yourself. Process what you have just journalled and write a resolution that you would like to see or perhaps an area you would like healed. The reach step is when you ask “How can I catch this negative thought and sweep them away before they become a part of me.” This is when you practice the changes you want in your life and thoughts.
I confess I am not good at following through on these steps each day. However, journalling is a massive part of my thought life. I find it incredibly beneficial for figuring out what is going on emotionally and spiritually.
BE A RISK TAKER
Here are some practical ideas to overcome your fear and introduce an element of healthy risk to your life.
- Think about what you would do if you had six months to live.
- Start being real in front of people instead of masking. Most of us can see right through it!
- Try a new hobby or taste a new food item.
- Talk to your neighbour. (Hillsong Colour Conference girls – “My Street Cares.”)
If all else fails and you still can’t think of anything else to do perhaps you can try these 27 Simple Tactics You Can Use Today to be an Intrepid Risk Taker.
So what fears have you wired in?
How could you wire love back in?
I’d love to hear from you. Comment below.