Maya on conquering Fears

Maya is one of the main characters in the film, Faith Ties. More about Maya later.

I was reading back through some old journals reflecting on how things have changed for me over the years. In my notes, I saw thoughts that I had written from the bible and from other people about fear. I have notes that speak of fear as an acronym – False Evidence Appearing Real. I have notes that talk about how 95% of the things you fear never happen anyway. With all of the knowledge that I have gained about fear and all of the studying that I still do, I have never been able to reason away my fears. That feeling above all has dogged me my whole life.

At one point in my life, I came across a book that touted the philosophy of, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” That was the thought that turned things around for me. So much so that in 2000 when I decided to take on one of my biggest fears (my fear of heights), the way I did it was to schedule my birthday that year around skydiving – What?! I drove out to Arizona with my best friend Paul to meet with another friend, Naomi, who lived in Arizona. Naomi had made arrangements for the two of us to jump while Paul filmed the whole thing from the ground. I was most certainly feeling the fear! When we got to the location, everything seemed to be happening so fast. I signed papers that I read over and over again and still had no real idea what they said since my brain decided not to accompany me on this journey. I watched videos and the next thing I knew, I was strapped into a harness, escorted to a plane and we were off. I was trying to tell myself that it was just an emotion and it can’t conquer me. I was brave, brave, brave until…they opened the door of the plane. I was to be the first one out – so now everyone was waiting on me. My heart was pounding and my knees didn’t feel like they were able to support my weight. What had I done?! I finally got over to the door reminding myself that my God was bigger than any fear. So I thanked God, and then I jumped.

I wish I could say after that experience that I proved to myself what a wasted emotion fear is and that I never felt fear again. But of course, that is not what happened. What I did do was to continue researching fear. I became acquainted with General Patton’s quotes on fear such as “Fear kills more people than death” and “If we take the generally accepted definition of bravery as a quality which knows no fear, I have never seen a brave man.” Realizing that the feeling won’t go away, I instead make myself focus on what I am working to achieve. I remember the quote from the civil rights movement “Eyes on the prize” and that is what I make myself do with fear now; I keep my eyes on the prize.

So here I am again embarking on a big journey with lots of potential for failure; and of course, fear is present. The one thing that fear will no longer do is keep me from moving forward. I know a lot of people working on big things right now and I always encourage them to feel the fear, but know the truth; if God put it in our hearts to do, then God will also make a way. The Pastor in the script “Faith Ties” knows this. But his wife Maya (I told you we would get back to her), and in fact the rest of the church, still have to learn it. In the future, Maya will go on to lead an International Food ministry (she doesn’t know this yet), but she must first learn to rely on something other than her own skills. Fear won’t let her take on anything bigger than her capabilities. And most of the rest of the congregation is in lock-step with that emotion. I wrote the character of Maya to represent my own fears. I certainly hope that others are inspired by her journey.

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