I’ve had my share of paralyzing fears over the years. They are stealers of joy, preventing me from enjoying the many blessings in my life. On my recent trip to #ISTE18, I thought about this as the airplane captain announced on the intercom that we were at cruising altitude and that the seat belt sign had been turned off. For years, I had an incredibly intense fear of flying. So much in fact, that my stomach would be in knots weeks leading up to a trip. Any thought of getting onto the plane would nearly make me hyperventilate. In fact, my plane ride would be so miserable that I would have to take anti-anxiety medication prior to the flight and force myself to sleep so that I wouldn’t be overcome with panic. Noise cancelling headphones would eliminate the sounds of the engine that made me all too aware of how high up in the sky we were. This sounds dramatic, but it was real. So real that it nearly prevented me from taking on new opportunities and experiencing the things that brought me joy. I used to be so envious of my friends and family that could enjoy the anticipation of an upcoming trip; I desperately wanted to experience that same level of excitement, but couldn’t.
To add an element of irony, many of these plane rides would take me to conferences where I would be facing another fear...public speaking. I had found tremendous joy in sharing my passion with educators from around the world, but the anxiety that lead up to the session would be crippling. My stomach would churn and threaten to revolt as I made my way to the front of the room. Luckily, the moment that I began speaking the fear melted away and I was able to share from the heart.
As I was scrolling through Facebook yesterday, a former student posted this song by Zach Williams that caught my attention.
FEAR IS A LIAR
When he told you you're not good enough
When he told you you're not right
When he told you you're not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you're not worthy
When he told you you're not loved
When he told you you're not beautiful
That you'll never be enough
Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
'Cause fear he is a liar
As I let the words penetrate my heart, tears began to fall. Too often I have believed the lies of fear and let them stop me in my tracks, literally taking my breath away. More times than I can count I’ve let fear rob my rest and steal my happiness. Fear truly is a liar preventing us from experiencing the joy that life’s adventures can bring. The good news is, I’ve also experienced what it feels like to throw fear in the fire. It didn’t mean that the fear burned away immediately, it took time. But each time I accepted a speaking engagement or walked through the airline security line, a little more of the fear began to smolder and I could feel the victory of facing my fear head on letting him know, he wasn’t going to win.
The beauty of letting my fear turn to ash, is that the very things that have threatened to steal my happiness have become my greatest source of joy and strength. I now absolutely love the adventures that my airplane flights take me on and the incredible feeling of speaking to a room of educators hungry to learn and be inspired. The number of friendships that have been established and opportunities that I’ve been gifted because I faced my fear, are too numerous to count.
The truth is, fear will continue to raise it’s ugly head and tell me I’m not…
They do every day. But, I can look back at my past experiences and know that those are all lies. I will continue to cast my fears in the fire, because I know that...
FEAR IS A LIAR
Tech Integration Specialist in Southern Oregon and author of Make Learning Magical. I'm passionate about finding innovative ways to transform teaching and create unforgettable experiences in the classroom.