This past summer, my family and I spent a quick two days at Disneyland. On our second day, we visited California Adventure and from the start, everyone was excited to ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. Everyone that is, except me.

I’d been on the ride when it was the Tower of Terror, and was not a fan. The next time we visited the park, I hung out on the trolley while my husband and daughter went on the ride. And honestly, I was ready to sit out again.

But the more I started to think about it, the more I realized I was allowing fear to make my decisions.

Fear is like glue. When we’re living in fear, we can’t move forward. We stay where we are because it feels safe – all the while not realizing that we’re confusing “safe” with STUCK. 

We allow our fear of failure, rejection, vulnerability, change, embarrassment, and commitment keep us from new experiences, relationships, opportunities, and growth.

We don’t let ourselves care about people for fear of getting hurt.

We don’t reach out to that mom at church or on the side of the soccer field for fear they won’t be interested in getting to know us.

We don’t try new things in case we aren’t good at them. And heaven forbid we look silly.

We don’t put our ideas out there in case they’re rejected…or disagreed with.

We don’t try to quit bad habits for fear we’ll slip back into old ways.

We’re afraid, and we’re stuck. Not safe. Stuck.

We’re stuck. We’re stuck in place waiting for the bravery to come. Waiting for courage. But here’s the thing – courage isn’t something you feel. Courage is acknowledging your fear and saying, “You don’t get to win.” 

Elisabeth Elliot once said, “Sometimes the fear does not subside, and you must do it afraid.” And she’s right. If we wait until we FEEL courageous we may end up spending our entire life waiting…watching.

Truthfully, I did NOT want to get on the ride. BUT…I realized I didn’t want to spend my life watching other people live while I hung out in “safety” on life’s perpetual trolley. I was tired of constantly shrinking back, always talking myself out of new experiences and opportunities.

So I got on the ride.

And you know what? Later that night, I got on it again….and I felt so ALIVE. I was really and truly living. 

I’m not sure what you’re scared of. What you’re scared to do – to try – to say. But I know there’s something. And I know that if you keep waiting until you feel brave enough to face it, you never will. Do it anyway. Do it afraid and see what happens.

So talk to that person you’ve been wanting to get to know. Submit your article. Have the courageous conversation. Confess. Take the lessons. Buy the kayak. Tell the person how you feel. Forgive. Dance where people can see you. Speak up. Invite someone over. Sing out loud. Do whatever it is that you’ve been wanting to do – but have been too afraid to try.

You can. (For real, you can.) Life’s too short to stay on the trolley.