On Facing Fear...
Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.
It's no secret that I've had a fear of dogs for as long as I can remember. When dog lovers hear that, they always ask the same question - "What happened to you to make you afraid of dogs?" That's always been a slightly weird question for me because I'd wonder, if I knew what happened to cause this fear, then maybe I wouldn't be afraid anymore by now. Did we have puppies/dogs as kids? Yes. Have I been chased by a dog before? Yes. Have I ever been bitten by a dog? No.
I remember this Dog Safety course for kids that I attended with my students, and the instructor kept saying, that if a dog comes up to you and you're afraid to "be a tree." "Being a tree" does not work when you're afraid because the dogs sense that fear. People who don't have this fear don't seem to understand this. (lol)
Fast forward to this past year or so. My aunt got a poodle and although he still startles me because he barks and is kind of hyper, I'm gradually getting used to him. Either I have to do that or never visit and never visiting is not an option. :-) Then you remember the vlog where you saw me pet the dog in the store. I actually touched a dog and didn't literally jump out of my skin. Well get this....
My dad has 4 dogs - all of them lab mixes. When the momma dog had a liter of puppies, all of them came out jet black with a shiny coat, except the odd one that came out brown. Daddy gave all her pups away except for the brown one because he said that dog was different and he knew how it was to be different, so he didn't have the heart to give that one away. Does the dog have a real dog name? I don't think so. Daddy just always called him "Brown Dog."
Now the dogs miss Daddy a bunch. We can tell. Then on Sunday night the dogs kept barking and we wondered why. The reason, we discovered on Monday morning, when the brown dog had gotten loose and came up to the front door! That brown dog is the one that has always been called the most "vicious" by some of Daddy's friends, but never by him. That dog doesn't know me well because of my aforementioned fear, so I don't mess with him or the others. But Monday when he came to the porch, I knew he was just looking for Daddy. I went outside, and didn't have a panic attack. The dog just walked beside me to my car, brushed against my leg, and a couple of times he put his paws on my leg. But he was so docile.
|(Brown Dog has his paws on me. Pardon the blurriness; I was busy overcoming fear and using my cell phone.)|
My Mom says that even though the dogs don't know me per say, they know Daddy and they know I "belong" to Daddy and so they come to me. It was sad and sweet all at the same time. But even in the midst I realized how that fear is gradually going away. I know it's not something I'm doing for myself because I've had this fear for so long and I've never had the power within myself to overcome it. I know who the credit belongs to. *wink*
Does this mean that I'm going to run off and get a dog? No. But I'm hoping that this is the beginning of overcoming fears in general.
I'm facing my fears. What about you? Have you overcome any of your fears?
Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.
Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.