Picture this: You are a 22 year old woman hiking alone in the woods on a mountain in Northern California, and you encounter one of the two monsters of the forest. The mountain lion.
This is the exact situation I found myself in just a couple of years ago. These hikes were a normal pastime for me. They were my sanity; the woods my happy place. That could be why I didn’t listen or care when people warned me about the potential dangers of doing these hikes alone. Like most people in their early 20s, I had this notion of invincibility, and it may have impaired my judgement just a little bit.
So here I am, on a day just like any other: I turn a corner in the trail and find myself face to face with a HUGE mountain lion.
Cue the terror.
Let me tell you, my gut reaction was to RUN. That flight response kicked in hard. Some of my thoughts included:
“Oh my lord, this is it. This is how I die. My grandparents were right. I shouldn’t be out here alone. Goodbye cruel world. I hope my family knows I love them.” But before my mind reached my body and told it to get the heck out of there, a switch flipped. Instead of fear, I suddenly felt instinct. I felt the strength that only fighting for survival brings. I quickly thought about every single thing I possibly knew about mountain lions (not much) and did the only thing I could think of.
I started singing at the top of my lungs.
I sang something my dad taught me as a kid and I waved my arms around like a crazy person.
The lion looked at me like I was actually insane…and just walked away.
I’m telling you about this not because It’s a cool story (even though I totally think it is) but because it reminds me of every other scary thing I’ve ever encountered in my life. And if I’m being honest, I’m scared of SO many things. I’m scared that I will fail. Scared that I will be judged. Scared that I am not qualified to do the things that I really want to do with my life. You know what though? Every single time I’ve pushed myself through those fears in spite of them, I have found strength I didn’t know I had. I have learned that the saying “God does not call the equipped, he equips the called” to be so ridiculously true. Guys, I’m terrified all the time. I’m unprepared and I’m unqualified. That being said, I want you to know that I WILL NOT let that fear stop me from doing what I know I’m called to do. I’m going to keep facing mountain lions as long as I’m living. Because it’s worth it. Because on the other side of that fear, is VICTORY.
Don’t think you can handle it?
So what? DO IT SCARED.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love.”
-2 Timothy 1:7