Growing up, I spent a majority of my time paralyzed by fear. Fear of failure, fear of needles, fear of being alone, irrational fears, fear of heights, and most importantly, fear of fear.
Needless to say, it was probably my least favorite thing when I encountered people who wanted to push me. Whether it be at the age of 18 as a counselor, or at 10 as a kid terrified of haunted houses.
I remember so clearly my high school young life leader forcing me to do the ropes course at our summer camp. I loathed the fact that I was being forced outside of my comfort zone.
But I learned over the years that outside of your comfort zone is exactly where you can expect to find growth.
Every time that I was challenged and pushed, however forcefully, to do something I swore I wasn’t ready for, I walked away from it feeling a sense of pride.
Not because I had openly sobbed in front of my peers about a 50 ft free fall, but because I had worked towards conquering a fear.
I came to a place in life where I was thankful for the times that I had been pushed past my safety zone, and realized I wanted others to get the same chance. After all, you can’t conquer a fear without facing it head on.
So last year, on our Leaders Club trip to Charlotte. I put on a brave face for my campers. I rode roller coasters and went in a haunted house. But most importantly, I showed them that it was okay to be scared, but that fear didn’t have to paralyze them. That they could still make the choice and do the thing.
And then this year, I chose to be intentional. I asked for the group of children that had no intentions of riding rides or getting scared. And I took them through the park. We started small, and by the end of the night, these five brave souls conquered their fears and went through their first ever haunted house.
So yes, I became the person I always loathed. I took those kids and threw them outside of their comfort zones. But last night I drifted off to sleep with a smile, remembering that all five of my group members had said they were proud to say they tried it.
What fear will you conquer today?