Welcome to Small Success Thursday, hosted by CatholicMom.com. This is our chance each week to look back and see what’s going right, even if the successes are what we think of as “small.”
Last week, our family went to Arizona on vacation. We stayed in Sedona, but took three days to drive up to the Grand Canyon. It’s a vacation that was about 25 years in the making, beginning when Nathan and I were dating and dreamt of homeschooling our children and bringing them to the Grand Canyon as a kind of field trip. With our older daughter working towards graduating high school next spring, we decided that we needed to just go and see one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Despite feeling pinched financially and having just spent quite a bit of money to send the girls to Life Teen camp over the summer, we flew out (using frequent flier miles!) and stayed in a timeshare in our Wyndham network. We planned most meals in, decided to pack lunches, and basically did Arizona on a shoestring.
It was totally worth it! Seeing the Grand Canyon is something everyone should try to do, even if you live clear across the country from it. The size and scope of the Canyon is difficult to describe or even grasp when staring at it in person. We took picture after picture, panorama after panorama, Snap after Snap (if you follow me on Snapchat, you got quite the documentary of our trip!), and still stared in amazement every time we went around another bend. Breathtaking doesn’t even begin to describe it.
The real success for me, though, wasn’t in the flying out or the shoestring budget. For me, it was facing my extreme fear of heights and the anxiety that gripped me every time I thought about hiking down the Kaibab Trail and walking along ridges and near cliff-faces.
I could not let go of the fear I had of someone falling (including me!) and dying while we hiked down into the Canyon. Even though a part of my brain knew this was unlikely, I the anxiety kept nagging at me. Even as we made the two-hour drive from Sedona on Monday morning, I kept feeling that horrible anxiety when my heart races and I can’t calm down.
But I had a secret weapon: Hallie Lord’s book, On the Other Side of Fear. I had started reading it when we arrived in Arizona over the weekend, and decided I was going to put it into practice. At one point, Hallie talks about her friend admonishing her for “living in the wreckage of the future,” which was filled with things that hadn’t happened (and were also not likely to happen)! I made the decision that I would work to defeat my fear of heights and my anxiety over someone falling or getting hurt. All week long, I pushed myself to stop fretting when my kids stepped near the edge of the ledge. I pushed myself to step closer and closer to the edge myself.
And every day I got a little bit braver. By the week’s end, I was sitting near the edge and putting my feet over. And I didn’t cry or hyperventilate or die or anything. I just sat and enjoyed the beautiful views that lay before me. It was magnificent.
I tell everyone that I’m now 95% braver than I was when we left for Arizona. It’s not really a small success. It’s a huge one. It was so good to be able to enjoy the Canyon instead of spending the entire trip feeling anxious and worried.
Be sure to go check out the other Small Successes at CatholicMom.com today, then add your link there or leave your successes in my comments below.