I distinctly recall many moments in my life when I’ve had to do something for the first time.
On my first day of Kindergarten, I remember looking around at some of my new classmates as they cried and held on to their parents, not wanting to be left alone in this strange place. It was scary! But after only a few short days we would all come running down the path into the classroom, excited for the day ahead.
None of us had done this ‘school’ thing before, but we quickly became friends, playing and learning together, and Kindergarten very soon became our new normal.
Fast forward almost 20 years. I’m sitting on a plane on the other side of the world, looking down on the Swiss Alps and wondering what on earth I’ve gotten myself into. The landscape below looked so unfamiliar, just like the 22 faces I soon found myself sitting within a classroom in Switzerland. How could this ever feel like real life? Again, after just a short time of living and studying together, my new life on the other side of the world felt so normal that I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
Author Bob Goff writes, “If we only do what we’re familiar with, we might miss what we’ve been made for.”
How many times have I chosen not to do something because I didn’t know what it would look like, feel like, or lead to? What moments did I miss because the idea of doing it seemed so foreign? If we never push through those fears, our ideas of ‘normal’ or ‘familiar’ never grow, and so our concept of our own abilities never grows.
We were made for big things, but often to achieve big things we have to take big risks.
How will something ever become familiar if we don’t try it?
Going to school would never have been a familiar part of my routine if, back in Kindergarten I had flatly refused to go. Thankfully, my parents valued education and, knowing that school would be good for me, made me go each day. I often think Nike got it right. Just do it. Just. Do. It. Sometimes our Heavenly Father does the same. Sometimes we are presented with opportunities that sound terrifying, but God encourages us to step out and do it, regardless of how we feel, simply because we know it will be good for us.
I’m reminded of the story of a young prince of England who was never expected to become King. However, after the death of his father and his older brothers abdication of the throne, Albert was crowned King George VI and, despite struggling with a stutter, brought powerful words of hope and encouragement to a nation feeling the effects of a world war. What if Albert had refused the crown? What if he too had abdicated?
Don’t get me wrong, there are times when the idea of trying something new, taking a risk, or finding myself completely out of my comfort zone terrifies me! And yet,
I often find myself in situations which I would never have ended up in if I hadn’t pushed through the fear, stopped listening to the ‘what if’s’ and told myself to suck it up and just do it.
I don’t want to miss any more opportunities. I want all that God has for me and more. So, I’m choosing to say, ‘yes’ even when it’s scary, even if I don’t think I can, and to keep saying ‘yes’ every day until my timid, anxious ‘yes’ becomes a joyful, heartfelt “YES!”
“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
– John C. Maxwell