You know that feeling where you have the best laid plans but they don't always pan out? Yea. Well that's how I feel. I had a great idea for this week's blog but I just didn't have the time to get it all edited and posted. So know there's at least one really great blog post that's coming down the pipeline *wink wink.*
But as I was thinking about this week and the things Jared and I have coming up, I found this last post on my blog to be something as applicable today as it was when I wrote it last year. So, for your reading pleasure, the Thrill of Adventure.
So it's finally summer! I think we will break into the 90s every day now here in North Texas and the sun has finally come out! I am so excited about all that summer brings and the adventures Jared and I have planned.
Speaking of which, some of those adventures include our newest endeavor...backpacking! Jared and I have always been interested in camping. We go all the time. But now, we are finally thinking about putting those fancy backpacks to good use and hitting the trails in the literal middle-of-nowhere.
Physically, this means I will have some different workouts going on. I still plan on running twice a week with my long run being five miles. Then I have a goal of riding my bike at least once a week. The rest of the workouts will focus more on strength in my back and arms so that I don't have to rely on my legs for all the work while hiking with my backpack on.
The biggest thing for me I think is going to be mental. As much as I say I love adventure, I get so anxious before traveling! I get nervous sweats at the airport waiting for planes. I get so anxious trying to plan for the "unknown."
So when thinking about backpacking, there is a ton of fear going on inside my head. When are we going to go? What trails are we going to take? How are we going to fit everything in our bags? What if we can't find a good campsite? What if we get lost? What if we see a bear????
I have been doing some research on fear this week for work. It's very interesting the studies that neuroscientists are conducting these days. One study is actually finding that we are wired as human beings to be optimistic by nature...assume the best about someone or something until proof of the worst. They also talk about how fear bypasses the logical part of the brain and goes straight to the emotional. But logic is how you quiet fear. No one fears a stampede of hippopotami followed by their car getting eaten by a T-rex when they drive on the highway because logic eliminates that possibility. When we see someone that's upset because of fear, we automatically try to help them calm down by using logic. And if we are having a really hard time, we can implement what scientists call "productive paranoia" where we plan for the worst case scenario while hoping for the best.
And that's kind of where I am right now. With my upcoming adventures, I am doing boatloads of research trying to arm myself with the knowledge needed in worst case scenarios (how to deal with a bear), as well as the skills to keep me from getting into worst case scenarios (buy a bear canister and use it appropriately). What's awesome is while I still get nervous about it, I am growing as a person because I am gaining new skills and learning new things about myself and what I am capable of doing.
I think God wants us to use fear, not be controlled by it. He wants us to develop courage, not limit ourselves because of anxiety. He wants us to continue to grow and learn and explore the world he created. So that's why I continue to travel, see new things and meet new people. Ultimately, I know that the best truth I can use against fear is the knowledge that God is in control and he has the ultimate power in any situation.
I recently re-watched an episode of Dr. Who where they search for the alien that might be the reason we as children fear the monster under the bed. But I love what Clara tells the child doctor at the end about fear:
"I know you’re afraid, but being afraid is alright. Because didn’t anybody ever tell you? Fear is a superpower. Fear can make you faster and cleverer and stronger. And one day you’re gonna come back to this barn and on that day you’re going to be very afraid indeed. But that’s okay, because if you’re very wise and very strong fear doesn’t have to make you cruel or cowardly. Fear can make you kind. It doesn’t matter if there’s nothing under the bed or in the dark so long as you know it’s okay to be afraid of it. So listen. If you listen to anything else, listen to this. You’re always gonna be afraid even if you learn to hide it. Fear is like a companion, a constant companion, always there. But that’s okay because fear can bring us together. Fear can bring you home. I’m gonna leave you something just so you’ll always remember. Fear makes companions of us all."