Have you ever let fear conquer you? Well today, you're going to read about an amazing dog who helped me overcome mine.
Caspian was a new addition to my household. He had shown up in the front yard of my 100 year old Virginia farmhouse one early morning. He was skin and bones, covered with ticks, fleas and sores, and had been shot - his skinny body riddled with buckshot. I took one look at this pathetic animal and told him he was home.
It took weeks of vet treatments, baths and many bowls of food, but he finally began to look like a dog that was going to make it. His bones began to disappear, his coat took on a shine, and he became my constant shadow to show his appreciation for me saving his life. He was always with me - except when I went upstairs to my office.
My home had a wide expanse of wooden stairs that led to the 2nd floor. Caspian was terrified of them. It didn't matter what I did to build his confidence, or what wonderful tidbit of food I tempted him with, he refused to climb those stairs. He would just cower at the bottom stair and shake all over whenever I got him near them. Yet when I went up to my office, he was overcome with despair at being separated from me and laid at the bottom whimpering and whining.
I had no idea what had created this fear, and I had even less of an idea of how to conquer it. After two weeks of daily attempts, I finally gave up. If he didn't want to climb the stairs - so be it. But my only defense from his pitiful whining was to turn the music up any time I needed to be in my office. When I would leave my office and come downstairs, Caspian would erupt with frantic joy to be reunited once again.
About a month into this pattern, I was awakened one morning by a noise. I lay in bed trying to identify what it was.
Click, click, click. Silence. Click, click, click. Silence.
It kept on for close to fifteen minutes before my curiosity finally overwhelmed my desire to stay under the warm covers. I threw aside my quilt, grabbed a robe and went out to investigate. When I identified the source of the noise, I just stood there with my mouth wide open.
I watched as Caspian carefully climbed the stairs. Click, click, click. He got to the top, turned around, and then started back down. Click, click, click.
When he got to the bottom, he turned and gazed at me as if to say, It's really no big deal. I can do this!
And then he did it again, and again, and again. at least 25 more times - after already having done it for 15 minutes before I finally came to investigate.
I watched his confidence grow with each ascent and descent of the "dreaded stairs." His tongue hung out in joy and at the end his tail was wagging is triumph over his fears. He knew he would never again have to be separated from me because of the stairs.
I already loved him, but that day I gained an incredible respect for his courage and resilience. I was also challenged about what I was willing to do to overcome my fears. Was I willing to stare my fears in the face and then take the steps to overcome that fear? Was I willing to feel the fear, and then do it anyway? Was I willing to attack my fears, for as long as it took to overcome them? I made a lot of decisions that day that have given me a much richer life - and I have Caspian to thank for it!
So now I pose the same questions to you: Are you willing to stare your fears in the face and then take the steps to overcome them? Are you willing to feel the fear, and then do it anyway? Are you willing to attack your fears for as long as it takes to overcome them?
Every time you are faced with a fear, try to remember a courageous dog that was able to conquer his fears with love and determination - and then follow his lead. All of us are afraid of something in our lives. There is no shame in being afraid. The key to victory, however, is to face your fear head on and do whatever it takes to overcome it. You can let your fears stop you from achieving all you want in life, or you can follow Caspian's lead and conquer the stairs!
-- Ginny Dye (The Ultimate Life Company)