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Missing Out

August 15, 2023

Over the summer, I took my son George to a local water park.

The first time we went, George was fearless. He rode the rides with no problem and wanted to experience all the action.  

But the second time we went, it felt like I had brought a different child with me. He would let me know he wanted to ride something, so we would get in line, wait for an unreasonable amount of time, get all the way up to the front . . . and then he would melt down and say that he was too afraid to do it.

The day at the water park was grueling.
Was I frustrated because we wasted time? Yes.
Was I more irritable because it was hot? Absolutely.
But there was something more important that was bothering me. 

I was mostly frustrated that George was missing out. I didn’t want to force him to do something he didn’t want to do, but I knew that his irrational fear was preventing him from doing something that he would actually enjoy.

This experience at the water park turned out to be a great teaching moment for my son and a good reminder for me.

When we were driving home, I looked at George in the rearview mirror, and said, “I want to explain to you why I wanted you to do those rides at the water park. I knew that you would enjoy it. If you would have just tried it, you would have loved it. Instead, today you allowed being afraid to hold you back from something I know would be fun. I don’t want fear to hold you back from doing good things in life.”

Donald Miller said it this way:

“Fear is a manipulative emotion that will trick us into living a boring life.”

Isn’t this lesson and this quote true for all of us? 

A boy wants to ask a girl out, but doesn’t because he’s afraid she might say no.
The student doesn’t try out for the soccer team because she thinks she won’t make the roster.
The people with great ideas don’t start the business because they are afraid to fail.
The employee doesn’t voice his opinion because he’s afraid he won’t be heard.
The neighbor doesn’t pursue the new friendship because she fears she’ll be rejected.

How many things have we missed out on because of fear?

Consider this, how many times have you been afraid but took the risk anyway? More often than not, the fear was far worse in your head than what happened in real life. 

So my advice to you and to me today is the same advice I gave my son: Don’t let fear hold you back from doing great things. 

When you take the leap, you might find joy.
You might be challenged.
And, guess what? You might even get hurt.
But at least you won’t be bored. 

Life is meant to be experienced. It’s time to get off the sidelines and start living.


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