There is no fear where love exists. Rather, perfect love banishes fear, for fear involves punishment, and the person who lives in fear has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18
A journey began in my life about two years ago, that has led me into a more contemplative and slower pace then I have ever walked when it comes to my personal life. I have never been a person to avoid risk from moving overseas at a young age, to driving across the country to start a new life after college, getting married extremely quickly, and even to pursue a job in community development in Oakland after graduate school – those were just a few of the risky, adventurous decisions I made in a flash.
These decision have been amazing, but due to the rapid pace that I entered them and my immaturity I took major blows from these decisions and other similar ones. This leads me to my growing familiarity with fear. Ken Chlouber, Colorado miner and creator of the Leadville Trail 100 mile race is quoted as saying, “Make friends with pain, and you will never be alone.” I have known pain since a young age, it has been fear who has introduced himself to me more recently.
Perhaps fear has been there on some underlying and ignored level in my level, affecting actions/decisions in both smal and large ways but it was not something that I knew. These days he looks me in the eyes, especially when I hope. The good news is since he has introduced himself, he can be overcome…or as the verse in 1 John says ‘cast out’, shown the door.
Over the last few weeks I have started training for 2013 triathlon season, I am very excited and it has been going very well. My long runs have been joyous and I even called a friend to go biking with, so I’m over coming my lone ranger attitude. In the back of my mind I know that open water swimming is my weakest area…though bike isn’t that strong. I can easily swim for 60-90 minutes in the pool, but open water is another story and fear camps out there.
So this past Sunday morning I connected on Meet Up with a group that swims Lake Washington. I went, and did not make the full one mile length with them in extremely choppy water, but I did get in a solid half mile swim. Fear was not the issue, my limited ability both physically and mentally was the issue and now I have a good bench mark for improvement. Up until the moment I pulled off my street my going to the swim was in question, as I had a million excuses to not make it. Underlying it all was fear.
It is a corny exercise but doing one thing a week that scares you I think is very healthy and a goal I have. The more we get out of our comfort zones, intentionally hush the negative voices in our head, and move forward through fear in courage, the more we will cast out fear. Not because we are achieving…but rather we are in more opportunities to recognized how loved we are. In spite of slowing down the group when I swam with them and then not even going the full distance, afterward everyone had a kind word for me and they even turned me on to some great training tips/resources! I left encouraged and ready to get back out there!