“Alina? Are you ok?”
Over the sound of the wind, my consciousness drained.
I heard my husband calling, “Alina? Are you ok? Do I need to pull over?”
I never answered back. He decelerated his motorbike and parked in a safe place. I stumbled off of the bike and put my head between my knees. My hurried breathing slowed and a few minutes later I was thinking straight again. I had been so scared sitting on the back of that vehicle that I had actually started hyperventilating. I almost fell to my death on that busy highway.
What just happened?
To explain, I have to tell you my wreck story. It is the lamest motorcycle wreck story, ever.
As a new driver, I stayed on small roads just a few kilometers from my home. This day I was on the way to language school. I had just said to myself, “I feel confident.” I honestly felt like I was getting the hang of that whole “motorbike” thing.
I turned onto the lane that led to the school. I must have taken it too widely, because I started veering towards the edge of the road. Construction debris was littered everywhere from recent roadwork, and the side of the lane was strewn with gravel and sand. I flipped out and hit the gas instead of the brake. I fell over, motorbike and all. I was a crumpled mess. I escaped with a broken elbow, minor scrapes and a majorly injured ego.
As the wheels had wobbled, so had my confidence.
Fast forward to a few months. We are back from home assignment (we had left just a few weeks after my crash) and in Thailand, our host country. My broken elbow had healed up. I said I wasn’t afraid to get back on my motorbike, but I avoided it like the plague. I kept making excuses for not jumping back on. Honestly, I really was afraid.
I was afraid of falling, again. Of risking, again. Of trying and getting hurt, again. Fear ruled over me even when I took the short drives to my beloved 7-11. I checked my mirrors and prayed silently every second I was on the road. And, when I saw gravel and sand…well, let’s just say that my heart basically jumped out of my chest.
In our family culture we tend to live cautiously, but we are constantly making little changes in the area of living by faith, not fear. If we stayed afraid all day, we would never leave the house, try new foods, bridge new relationships, or travel to new places. We would never get back on the motorbike because we don’t know if the next ride will end well.
Fear is a jealous ruler. Fear keeps us from the freedom and the adventure that we are meant to live, right now.
It is likely that you have already pushed past your own fears on many levels and have risked a lot. Moving cities. Countries. Continents. Putting your kids in the hands of strangers. Buying one-way tickets without the money to get back “home.” Leaving cushy salaries in exchange for making ends meet on the financial support of others.
You have risked. You have pushed past fear.
But, you may be facing other things that would like to eat your lunch. Being rejected by neighbors and trying yet again, being laughed at for language blunders, blazing new trails in unsafe living situations, and don’t even get me started on knowing the fear of not being able to eat a decent cheeseburger again…
Nowadays, I don’t hyperventilate when I ride on the back of my husband’s motorbike. I don’t flip out every time I have to use my own scooter to zip down the street for some to-go Thai food. That crippling fear that overwhelmed me months ago has settled down in my soul simply because I know I can’t live any longer under Fear’s thumb. I won’t let it kill me or, at the least, keep me from what’s waiting around the next corner.
Where are you struggling to get back on the proverbial motorbike again? What makes you feel like physically or spiritually hyperventilating from the fear of your struggle? Or, where have you taken risks lately that you feel like sharing with the rest of us? We need those glory moments to read in order to have the bravery to risk to “make it,” ourselves.