I love new stuff! However, I don’t like trying new things. The irony of those statements aren’t lost on me. I’m a complicated individual.
To clarify, I love brand new gadgets, technology, cars, houses, and clothes. If I have the option to buy new or used, I lean towards new every time. There is just something comforting about it. Sometimes new brings peace of mind, however that peace of mind isn’t usually worth the price tag, i.e. a new car. And like my friend, Jake Bradshaw, with Do It Big Homes and Do It Big Studios, says, “New wears off.”
As far as trying new things goes, I’m extremely hesitant and have to gather all the facts before I will try it. I love food, but trying new food is incredibly difficult for me. Up until 10 years ago, I could only eat a couple vegetables. Alissa has always encouraged me to eat better and at times guilted me into eating more vegetables. “If you don’t eat them, what makes you think our kids will?” Every bite now is an omen to my kids. Alissa has been my catalyst for eating healthier.
As a kid, trying new rides at an amusement park would nearly make me hyperventilate on the inside. No one could see it, but I was terrified. Actually, maybe they could see it because I am not great at hiding my emotions. Either way, I’ve often allowed my fears to dictate what I do and don’t do.
When I bought my house, I was shaking as I signed on the line, because I felt completely in over my head. The day after buying my first brand new car, I called my friend that sold it to me with buyers remorse. Trying new things isn’t my strong suit because of the negative possibilities. Most of the time, those negative possibilities are built up in my head more than anything I ever have to confront.
Recently, I had to get a night guard for sleeping because I clench my teeth and I also had popping in my jaw that happens every time I open my mouth to take a bite, chew, or yawn. I was not looking forward to it and debated on whether or not to actually go through with getting it. I told myself I will never be able to sleep with it in. But, I went ahead and got it because it may actually help me over time.
What I’ve come to realize is that if we allow our fears to hold us back, we may miss out on new things to love. Fears infiltrate every aspect of our lives and will put down roots and grow if we allow them too.
My food phobias kept me from eating a lot of the foods I enjoy today. I remember my dad making me sit at the table until I finished everything on my plate. Cooked or steamed vegetables taste worse when they are cold. So the memory of those experiences kept me from wanting to even try those foods again as an adult. I was even hesitant to try foods I had never eaten before. But, did you know your palate changes every five to seven years? What you didn’t like may actually be one of your favorites, if you would just try it again. A good salad is one of my favorite, healthy go to meals. I’m thankful Alissa has always pushed me and encouraged me to eat new foods.
As a kid, roller coasters and rides that pushed me to face my fear of heights terrified me. God created gravity for a reason, to keep us on the ground. And that is where I like to keep my feet firmly planted. When I took my first ministry position as a junior high youth pastor, amusement park trips became an annual event for me. I couldn’t let those sixth, seventh, and eighth graders know I was afraid of the rides they loved. So, I rode every ride with them. I pushed myself past the fears that tend to hold me back. I’m glad I did, because now, roller coasters are my favorite rides at amusement parks. I still get a little nervous from time to time, but it’s no longer a fear holding me back.
There have been times when my fear has turned out to be true, but when I stick with it and push through, I find the benefits are on the other side. The night guard was not fun the first couple of nights. And I complained about it to Alissa and anyone that asked me how it was going. It was awful. This morning, a week and a half in, I woke up with less discomfort and slept through the night. The popping in my jaw is less noticeable and my jaw muscles aren’t aching. Sometimes we just have to push through until we get a breakthrough.
I think having faith to try something new is what Jesus was talking about when He and Peter walked on water. Peter had enough faith to step out of the boat, but when he took his eyes off of Jesus and placed them on the waves around him, he began to sink. We need to try new things like Peter did when he stepped out of the boat. No fear. He just did it. Jesus said that God cares about every part of our lives and He wants us to live the best life. The best life is lived without fear.
Trying new things seems to always be facing a fear for me. A lot of times those new things seem like huge, monstrous dogs that eat people for breakfast. However, when you face those fears, the new things turn out to be just like little puppies. Sure they may bite you every once in a while, but they are harmless. And who knows, when we face our fears we may find ourselves walking on waves.