It’s past midnight and I’m well and truly asleep. A noice wakes me and my heart starts beating a million miles an hour. I’m on my own, so there shouldn’t be any noise. There it is again! It’s a rustling sound and it’s coming from the kitchen. I grab my hockey stick and head towards it, but the floor outside my room creaks and my legs stop. They’re glued to the carpet. I try to slow my breathing so I can hear over my heartbeat. Adrenaline is coursing through by whole body and I’m ready to start crying. I’m thinking ‘what am I going to do? Clobber someone over the head with my hockey stick? I can’t do that!’. What do I do? I am so scared…
I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Fight, Flight, Freeze response? It’s what our brain does when it thinks we are in danger. It will either attack to protect us or those around us, flee from the danger or freeze you in place.
Now I know my story above sounds pretty scary and how lucky am I to have survived a burglar!? How brave was I to confront the source of the sound? Turns out the sound I heard was just a bunch of cockroaches having a party in my kitchen. Not really scary hey? Boy, did I feel silly! Especially after turning on every single light in my house just to double check (even after I discovered it was just roaches). The thing is my brain didn’t know that it was just some gross bugs but it tried to protect me anyway.
Sometimes in life we get scared, though not always of something tangible. It might be the unknown or a memory of something or being worried something similar to a scary time will happen again. And here’s what I have learnt, our brain protects us whenever it perceives that we are in danger. So a loud noise might reignite the reaction in our brain or a smell similar to something from when we were scared in the past might trigger that same feeling of fear.
I am in a bit of a limbo stage in my life at the moment and I am scared of what next step to make. Now my brain is not trying to protect me from danger by giving me super human strength or super fast running legs. It is however making me think A LOT! It is mulling over every possibility of what my future could possibly look like to ensure I am ready for whatever comes at me. Isn’t our brain amazing?!
I am scared none-the-less though. I am scared of making the wrong choice. I am scared of sucking at whichever path I choose and I am scared of putting myself back out there and being treated like crap again. But here’s the thing, if I just stay here in this limbo stage I think I might lose my mind from boredom! And sitting around in my house, being too scared to make that next step is not what God wants for me. He wants me to be brave, like I was that night when I went to discover what the noise was.
He wants me to step out in faith. As Nike says to Just Do It. He will show me if that wasn’t the right step by closing that door. And then I go to the next door, and the next and the next until I find that ‘thing’ that God has in store for me. Being scared shouldn’t stop me from trying! It might make me pause but it’s up to me to push past the many possibilities my brain has conjured up and have a go.
Now I could say ‘don’t be scared’ but I won’t because we will all feel scared at some point and it’s all part of our super clever brain trying to keep us safe. I will say though, listen to your brain when it gives you that little niggle that something doesn’t feel quite right. But be brave and try not to let fear stop you from living your life!