A Four-Year-Old Teaches Us About Overcoming Fear

Facing Your FearMy two oldest grandchildren loved to go to Burger King when they were small. It wasn’t the food, toys or treats that made this a favorite destination. It was the playland.

There were tunnels and slides to crawl through. There were usually other children there for interactive play. In this particular playland, there was also a netted, swinging bridge the stretch from one side of the playland to the other. It was perfectly safe and enclosed, but still a bit scary for those who didn’t like heights.

It was during one of our visits to this Burger King playland that my 4-year-old granddaughter taught me a lesson about overcoming fear.

I was sitting at a table doing my best to keep an eye out for her and her brother as they traveled in and out, up and down and around the playland with the other children. I was looking for Ashley, my granddaughter and her long swinging braids, and finally spotted her. She was on the swinging bridge.

She was all by herself on the bridge, slowly making her way across. She was carefully watching the path ahead of her, holding onto each side. I quickly realized that she was also speaking as she walked.

I walked closer so that I could hear what she was saying. Listening closely, I heard her quietly saying the same thing over and over. “You have to face your fears,” she repeated to herself as took each step.

I was amazed.

I didn’t know where she had heard that phrase or what caused her to apply it to her fear of walking across that high bridge. It may have been one of the cartoons or kid’s programs she watched on TV that demonstrated the principle. Regardless, she put it to use and conquered her fear of that bridge that day. Now she could fully enjoy the entire playland without having to climb down to floor level to reach the other side.

Most of us have found ourselves paralyzed by fear at times. Sometimes those fears are very real; sometimes they are imagined. Either way, fear is a powerful emotion. Mix that fear with some creative imagination and we can build the smallest fear into a hurricane of emotion that sweeps all reasoning from our mind. It traps us in a prison, sometimes causing us to sabotage our dreams and hopes.

When we face our fears as little Ashley did, challenging then to prove themselves true or false, most times, not all, but most times, we find them to be either unfounded or not near as devastating as we imagined.

There is an old saying that demonstrates this principle:

“Fear knocked on the door. Faith opened it, and no one was there.”

Another great quote is one by Joyce Meyer that defines courage:

“Courage means to keep making forward progress while you still feel afraid.”

Don’t wait for the fear to leave before opening the door. Open the door and look it in the face.

Choose the smallest one and start there. Face your fear. Take the first step. Open the door and say, Boo!

What are you afraid of?

Are you holding off sending in a submission because you’re afraid it will be rejected?

Are you afraid of launching into a freelance career? Afraid that you’ll fail? Afraid you aren’t good enough?

Are you afraid flying? I know so many people who miss out of so much in this amazing world of ours simply because their fears keep them from getting on an airplane. It makes me sad.

Others are afraid to say the word “no” to people who control and limit their lives.

What fears are holding you back?

What small step can you take to overcome them?

Or, do you have a story of overcoming a fear that you can share with us? Please share it in the comments if you do!

3 Comments A Four-Year-Old Teaches Us About Overcoming Fear

  1. Susan Smith-Grier

    It’s amazing what we can learn from little ones and even older ones pick up those things and give them back to us when we need them most. William often reminds me something he learned from my storytelling: God didn’t leave me in six troubles; I don’t expect He’ll leave me in seven. That’s another thing I hold onto when fear gets in the way! Thanks for this post Kathleen.


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