Fear At the Top of the Hill

Written by Neal Black

I looked down the 15 foot rock face that the other guys had just ridden down on their mountain bikes and the sight of it froze me in place.  But hey, the other five guys did it so I backed up, approached the steep decline and … froze again, jamming on the brakes.  My buddies waited at the bottom and now I added a new fear, would they think less of me if I didn’t ride down this treacherous part of the trail?

In her book Who Switched Off My Brain?, Dr. Caroline Leaf notes that fear triggers more than 1400 known physical and chemical responses and activates more than 30 different hormone and neurotransmitters. Fear is the root of all stress. (DrLeaf.com) Joyce Meyers says that fear causes a stress reaction that marinates the body in toxic chemicals. (Her book Power Thoughts is a fantastic resource.) There is a lot going on when we experience fear.  At the top of that hill my neuro-whatevers were marinating my brain pretty well!

You need to believe you can do it

Just before I backed up for the third attempt (attempt #2 ended the same way as attempt #1) I heard one of my buddies yell, “The bike can ride over it, you have to let your mind believe you can do it“.

“Ya right”, I thought. “I know your bikes can do it because they did but they didn’t have me riding them!” But something about what my friend said stuck.

I decided to only put one finger on my brake lever.  That way it would slow me down but not stop me when I tried to jam on the brakes.  I backed up, pushed off and headed toward my fear with one thought, ‘the bike can do it, let your mind believe you can’. I did try to squeeze the brakes but as I crested the top of the rock face it wasn’t enough and I rolled straight down.  That was my last thought. I woke up in the hospital two days later… just kidding!  No, I actually rode it! It was amazing.  My buddies were cheering and whistling and I felt alive.  I rode right into my fear, survived and felt the thrill of the ride.

I reflect back on that day many times when I am facing a fear because of what I learned and experienced.  I learned that our minds are powerful and can hold us back or they can brake us free of our present bounds. I learned to feed off the courage of others. I learned that stepping into fear can be exhilarating, and I learned one other tremendous lesson. You see, the next time I rode that trail the steep rock face wasn’t nearly as scary.  I learned that each time you step into your fears there is a new found freedom and you have now stretched your boundaries a little more.

My mind is pretty stubborn (at least my friends say that) and I need others to help me walk into my fears. For me I have decided to listen to a certain other voice. God said He hasn’t given me a “spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline” (2 Tim 1:7). It’s a truth I am learning to live by and it is working.

What are you afraid of? Do you have someone encouraging you to face the fear and do it anyway?  What fears have you overcome?  Respond in the comments below.  My story addresses a fear that was physical, but many times we face fears that are emotional or spiritual. We are afraid for our kids, or afraid that we’ll say the wrong thing in a relationship.  If you want to learn more about facing your fears, the Bible is an excellent source of wisdom and encouragement.  So is prayer.  If you are currently facing a fear that seems overwhelming to you and you need someone to talk to we have mentors here that are available to talk to you.

Related:
Secrets: How to Stop Hiding – An online interactive life lesson, receive a personal reply from a mentor
Living Life to the Fullest – Carpe Diem … seize the day!

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5 Responses to “Fear At the Top of the Hill”

  • Neal says:

    Hi Teresa
    I really agree with Leah about getting connected with a mentor. They are very encouraging and a great help. Wanted you to know that I believe as you take small steps you will eventually see amazing results. For me I am slowly learning that God wants to hear from me about all the things I am afraid of. So yes, I pray now when I am out biking and I have a sense that God likes coming along on the ride. Bit by bit my courage is being stretched. I am praying for you.

  • Leah Leah says:

    Hi Teresa

    I deal with anxiety and panic attacks too but one thing that I have learned through them is that God loves me and he will protect me through everything. I know it is really easy to say it but when you truly put your trust into action there is tremendous freedom in that. I really recommend you talk with a counsellor. It has helped me a lot. Also, while you try to find a counsellor I recommend connecting with one of our email mentors. Its free and confidential and it is really good to talk to someone who knows what you are going through. Let me know if you would like a mentor and I will get you connected. Just reply on the site again.

  • Teresa says:

    From a very young age fear has made a huge impact on my life, I was afraid to go outside with the noise of helicopters, my father passed away when I was 6years and then I was afraid of going to the bathroom without someone standing outside for many years. When I got older I got somewhat more strong until I had a small car accident and started to encounter panic and anxiety attacks these left me not wanting to leave the house even to go across to the shop sometimes my partner couldn’t understand and we broke up. I am in my thirties now and have got somewhat stronger but fear still buts in, I want to pass my driving test but am afraid of driving outside the city, I have to go in for an operation and cannot tell you how afraid I am of being put to sleep, makes me feel sick to the stomach thinking about it I have put it off for three years and HAVE to get it towards the end of the month. Last night I went to mass for All Souls arriving 1hr 30mins early I sat thinking to myself as if I was having a conversation with God, (I really believe in Angels but do not practise as much in my religion as I should)don’t know if himself or the angels were responding in my thought but it occurred to me that all I am doing is Living my life afraid of Dying, as mass was about to start the fire alarm went off I had a quiet laugh to myself, then I found this page today and had another laugh also I just wish I could release all the fears and anxieties I have.

    yours Teresa

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