18 Mar 2016
My very first time on the interstate I had a panic attack. My driving instructor proceeded to yell at me about not freaking out while behind the wheel (not that it helped the matter much to yell) and I refused to drive again until I was 20. I remember lying awake some nights in my dorm room wondering if I would ever learn how to drive, or if I would have to live with my roommate until I was 80 so that she could drive me to pick up my meds. I constantly dreamed of being trapped in a situation where I HAD to drive. Usually the friend I was with had some sort of incapacitating emergency, and it was up to me to save the day. And every time there was something wrong. The car had no steering wheel. The road was made of Jello. I was blinded by something I couldn’t remove over my eyes. Never the same scenario, but always the same fear.
It became the most debilitating and irrational fear I had at the time. I was at everyone else’s mercy to get around and I felt like I would never get over it.
Cut to now. I’m almost 26 and my husband surprised me last weekend by taking me to get a brand new car. I thankfully learned how to drive before my 21st birthday because I didn’t want to be the girl that was old enough to buy alcohol but couldn’t drive. Still, never in my mind would I have guessed back when I was 20 that I would care about a car for a birthday gift. Or that it wouldn’t terrify me to just drive around whenever I felt like it. Or that driving alone down the road with my music blasting would be one of my greatest joys.
We all have some sort of fear. Sometimes they make perfect sense, like being afraid of dogs because we were attacked by one once. Other times they make no sense at all, like being terrified of clowns even though we’ve never seen one in person. Our fears can be small or our fears can be large and control our lives. But all of us fear something.
So what happens when we let those fears win? We are afraid of rejection so we never ask that guy out. We are afraid of commitment so we don’t tell that special person that we love them. We are afraid of failure so we don’t try that business venture that sounds so exciting. By allowing those fears to win we are constantly missing out.
Driving wasn’t my only fear. There were tons of them. Some I’ve completely overcome and others that I’m still working on each and every day. But what if I’d never gotten over my fear of driving? I wouldn’t know the joy of driving down a backroad with the windows down to clear my head.
So what is your fear? Could it be keeping you from your biggest joy?