Part of being happy is overcoming fears. Fears come in all shapes and sizes – fear of intimacy, fear of water, or, in the case of Roderick Russell, sticking a sword down your throat. Yes, one of the reasons Roderick became a sword swallower was to intentionally overcome his fear of it.
Roderick, for this and several other reasons, is an incredible example of the power and determination of the human mind and spirit. We are all gifted. But we are all full of fear. In fact, we’re so afraid we don’t even try – not even a baby step.
This is a tragedy.
While sword swallowing may not be everyone’s cup of tea, we can start small. If it’s a fear of public speaking, maybe start talking in a small group (whether a church group, town meeting, or knitting group).
One of my biggest fears has always been sharks. When I was young, something nipped my toe when I was hanging off the edge of a dock. It could have been my brother for all I know. But it was also the “Jaws” years. Ever since then, I’ve been absolutely terrified of sharks – even to the point of being scared when in a swimming pool.
I took a huge leap in overcoming this fear when I went scuba diving in Hawaii while on my honeymoon. The elation, exhilaration, and joy I felt is “still” present. I’ve been married 13 years.
Fears keep us trapped in ourselves. It’s a nasty prison – poisoning our hopes and dreams, limiting our potential. When we take steps forward, however small, we start to unshackle our chains.
When first learning sword swallowing, Roderick talks about how he was elated when he increased the depth of his sword a 1/4 inch. Take some steps and celebrate the progress, however slow, however small. Just keeping going!
How can I be happy? I can work to overcome more fears (my list is long, so I have lots of opportunity). God is always pushing me to extend myself, and to trust him. It’s annoying sometimes – but one heck of a journey.
What do you think?
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson