It’s Time to SHIFT!

by Mary Chalhoub on July 17, 2013

 profilepicblog1The air swirls around me. Chilled to the bone, I stare at the open door as the other passengers in the small plane begin lining up. The clouds appear to be frozen in place beneath us; what was exciting at first thought is now terrifying! My heart is beating a million times per minute, but as I glance fleetingly at the harness connecting me to my instructor, I know it is too late to back out.

We are next in line. Fearfully approaching the open sky, we stand only for a moment at the open door. With Heaven above and the earth below, I close my eyes and take a deep breath. The next thing I know, I am free-falling!

photo 1

When was the last time you did something completely out of your comfort zone?  Have you EVER done something out of your comfort zone? It’s terrifying!  It denies everything you have ever known. It is taking a step with an unknown outcome. It is facing your fears and declaring, “You are defeated, once and for all!”  This is when a shift takes place.

What exactly is a shift? According to Webster’s Dictionary, it is “an exchange for or replacement by another; a change in emphasis, judgment, or attitude; a change of directions.”

Change is not easy for most of us. We are comfortable with our routine even if it is harmful. We somehow feel safe in the predictability of our lives. The truth is, we live in a world that is changing at an incredible speed. We must be adaptable to learn, to grow, and to impact our fast-paced environment. But what stops us from doing so?

FEAR. It is imminent, and it affects us from within. We live in an imperfect world, and whether it enters from a traumatic experience, is inherited from previous generations, or simply rubs off from the community in which we live, fear affects us all, to some degree.

How do we face our fears? Simply put, we say NO! We get out of our comfort zones and replace fear with acts of courage.

There was a time in my life when I was tired of my routine. I had been going through the motions, basically surviving. I recalled my childhood dreams of making a difference in the world. I was born to be adventurous, outrageous, and free! But my life did not reflect the things in my heart. Why? The dreams of my youth would resurface and I would consider making major changes in my life, but the voices of discouragement would beat me down. They were all different, whether from inside of me, from my parents, relatives, or friends and yes, even spiritual advisors. I would over and over again retreat and embrace fear like an old friend.

I came from a traditional family; my parents were first-generation immigrants.  More than 40 years ago, they were the first of their families and friends to leave everything behind to do so. They made a major change, which brought an abundance of blessings to their lives, to their children’s lives, and to the lives of their future generations. Their bold shift made a huge impact on me. I would be a completely different person today if they had not done so.

I was the only one of my siblings born in the U. S. My parents made a major shift in their lives and were forced to face their fears involved with living in a foreign land. For some reason they felt it best for my siblings and me to take the safe and predictable route.  Perhaps the reason they made the incredible shift was so that their children’s lives would be much easier.

I wanted other things for my future, didn’t I?  I was adventurous. I was outrageous.  I was FREE!  But I too found myself responding in fear so that they would be pleased with my career choices, my social choices, my beliefs, etc.  In no way do I blame my parents; they simply wanted the best for their children.

Many of us grew up facing the same dilemma. We all experience fear, but to live a life that impacts others, we must be different than everyone else.  We were not created to be clones of each other.  We must stop trying to blend in with each other, because each one of us is unique. When life was breathed into us, it was done individually. No assembly line. Your moment of birth was yours and yours alone. You are here for a reason; to make an impact in the lives of everyone you meet.

After years of living bound in fear, I concluded that I was miserable and frustrated. I had been masking the person God created me to be. I had become too familiar with what I considered to be safe. The girl who had once been a dreamer had become a vague memory, as I had been living in fear.

Finally I determined that I had had enough. It was time to make some scary changes. If I could take just one courageous step, it would lead to another and another, but I lacked backup and a cheering section. I was confronted with all kinds of fears; fear of failure, fear of success, fear of rejection, fear of looking stupid…you get the point?

My first step involved conquering the one thing that terrified me the most. I decided to jump out of a plane, to free-fall until the parachute was deployed. The decision to go skydiving unlocked something in me. I exchanged one of my fears for courage!  I had reacquainted myself with the girl who was a dreamer. I was able to change my mindset, “So what if I fail, succeed, get rejected, or look stupid?”  I would be cheating myself and everyone else within my sphere of influence if I do not resume being the real me. My ongoing acts of courage might influence just one person’s life. Or like my parent’s courageous shift, could I affect generations to come?

It’s time for a shift! I am not saying you should jump out of a plane, but do perform an act of courage. It’s the first step to overcoming fear. Perhaps it’s something as simple as taking an art class or something more adventurous like traveling to another country on a mission trip. Search within and ask yourself, “What is something I always wanted to do but didn’t do it because of fear?” 

 Let’s encourage one another to make a positive change in our lives and the lives of others around us. Together we can make a difference!

With Love,

Mary Chalhoub

photo 2

Next post:

© 2013 Mary Chalhoub & Kingdom Roar International, Inc.