My five-year-old daughter tipped her chin toward the sky and squinted at the super potato sack slide. We were on a special family outing to the local amusement park—a surprise trip, which my husband and I anticipated our kids would love, love, love.
We were wrong.
“How about the race cars, then?” I suggested. “Do you want to ride those?”
“The floaty boats?”
“The ladybug buggies?”
My daughter shook her head and stared at her shoes.
“I don’t like those rides! Hmmpf!” My two-year-old stood in stubborn allegiance with her sister. I heaved a sigh and raised my eyebrows at my husband, desperate to salvage our fun.
“Come on, I want you to go down the slide with me.” He appealed to our five-year-old. “I think you’ll be surprised how much you like it.”
Ten dollars worth of kiddie ride tickets suddenly weighed heavy as sandbags in my pocket. I grew anxious to unload them. “But you love slides. Why don’t you want to go on this one?”
“Because! I don’t like things that are high. I’m too scared.”
“What’s wrong with the buggies? They’re on the ground.”
“It’s too fast. I can’t make it stop when I want it to stop. I want to go home.”
Talk about bursting a mom’s bubble. For weeks prior, I daydreamed of cotton candy and toothy smiles. My kids were supposed to squeal in delight and skip from ride to ride while I snapped brilliant Kodak moments for my photo books. Amusement parks are what childhood memories are made of. Didn’t my kiddos understand? Their fears were ruining all our fun!
Ah, that sounds familiar.
I have a few fears of my own.
I fear car accidents. So instead of cranking the radio and relaxing shotgun beside my favorite driver man, I spend family road trips slamming my ghost brake and watching for deer.
I fear germs. So during flu season, I avoid the children’s museum and pizza buffets, dreading the inevitable midnight hour when a daughter wakes up vomiting.
I fear letting my children go. So I approach the school years with anxiety and heartache, praying that God will go with them where I cannot.
What’s your list? Do you see? Fears ruin all our fun. They suck the joy from our blessings. I could be belting country songs with the windows rolled down, smacking my lips on a slice of Stevi B’s taco pizza, or celebrating my daughter’s accomplishments more than I lament her absence. But I don’t. God hands me little tickets to happiness, and I turn them down because I’m too darn scared to strap in for the ride.
I’m tired of missing out. I want to trip the fine line between terror and exhilaration, grin silly and wide until my jaw aches, and feel my stomach plunge down life’s super slides. Fear is nothing but the enemy’s trap. And I am finally determined to bust free.
Will you join me?
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand,” (Isaiah 41:10, NLT).
God tells us over and over in the Bible not to fear. Why? Because he knows we will. Fear is part of the human condition. Yet God wants us to remember he is still in control, and he goes with us on the scary rides.
Back at the amusement park, I made my daughter a deal. If she tried the super slide and hated it, I promised to give her five dollars—and a jumbo bag of cotton candy. Would you believe she giggled all the way down that slide?
“I want to go again, Momma!” My sweet girl beamed with joy. I gave her the five dollars anyway—for bravery. She tackled a fear head-on, conquered it, and received her reward.
My daughter is my new hero.
If this post encouraged you, please pass it on. You might also like Life is a Highway, Whatever the New Year Brings, and It Hurts Because I Love You.
* * * * * * * *Linking up with: The Better Mom, Playdates With God, Mommy Moments, Titus 2sdays, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Living Well Wednesdays, Wifey Wednesday, Grace at Home, Things I Can't Say, and Faithfully Parenting Fridays.