A white unmarked van picked us up from the neighborhood at eight in the morning every Saturday. Our task was to walk door to door stuffing flyers in the handles of houses.
This was my first job. It was a spectacular gig for a nine-year old. However, the downside was angry dog encounters. So many, that I developed a some deep-seated fears.
This past Thanksgiving I went for a jog into some unknown country neighborhoods of Oklahoma. As the streets narrowed, I heard the barks and felt the attack coming. Not one, but two angry dogs came sprinting towards me. The larger of the two was a mixed breed who was being spurred on by an evil, lap-sized, side-kick. Teeth bared and hair standing the dog’s posture allowed my past to haunt me. I had inadvertently invaded sacred dog territory.
I had several choices to make, we all do, when dealing with fear.
However, I understood that this would cause the dogs to bear down and bite. Running away from our problems rarely, if ever, gives us the opportunity needed for personal growth.
Instead of fleeing I stood and faced my fear. I remembered how Caesar Milan handled situations like this. I avoided eye contact, puffed up my chest, and took a small but confident step towards my fear.
Establishing dominance over my fear was critical. It must have been the action of standing and facing my fears that allowed them to melt away. Instead of panic, my heart gave way to a new internal fortitude. I was able to control my emotions and establish my dominance over both dogs.
While I was standing my ground – confidence grew. Repressing the last of my fears, I looked above the dogs, and made a spectacular “tsssst” sound while holding my hand out as if to say halt in dog language.
The dogs immediately stopped.
I was sure I could take the little evil dog, but the big one had me worried. Nevertheless, at the sign of my dominance both dogs shriveled back into the posture of action-less, loudmouthed, bullies. Flashbacks of playgrounds past came to mind.
During this moment I had overcome fear, but was still standing frozen in place. I needed to move forward and past my fear. With the same constant energy, I took a few steps backwards and gained the courage to turn my back on my fear. As I glanced over my shoulder the dogs remained in place, and I was able to finish a great run.
Obviously, for me, the dogs represented some of my deepest fears. To overcome I needed to face my fear, stand strong and move confidentially forward in faith. I learned that life is too short to remain frozen in fear.
Ponder this: Is there any area of your life where you feel frozen in fear? How well are you prepared to cope with it?