I don't like to talk about religion or politics in my posts in general I'm still not going to in this post, this is more about over coming fear. But, my coach and mentor had me fill out a life balance chart and he said something was missing. I had family, I had work, I had me time, but what I didn't have was the spiritual section. As he put it "My life was out of balance"
My coach told me that I needed to get back in to spiritual balance in order for my career to soar to the next level and this is where chills went down my spine. You see my wife and I have been married 15 years now and she goes to church every Sunday, but me, I had been maybe 15 times in those 15 years. I only went when my kids were singing, I don't miss any of my kids events no matter what or where.
I've always lived my life by treating people that way I would like to be treated. I've had two wine coolers in my life and have never even drunk a beer or smoked a cigarette in my life. Now this wasn't because of religious reasons, it was just because I was a running in Jr. High and High School and thought putting chemicals in my body was just stupid and a waste of my money. But, even after I stopped doing sports, I didn't start drinking, just didn't like the taste.
So, now if I was going to do what my coach wanted me to, I needed to get over my fears. I know I'm a guy, no fear, just do it! But, I had a fear of church and I wasn't about to force myself in to the situation of going every week, heck I was a Realtor®, I have to hold open houses on Sunday, it is the law isn't it? This gave me the perfect excuse not to have to go to church on Sunday. "Sorry honey, I have to get ready for the open house" or "I have to be at the open house in 15 minutes, maybe next week"
Clearly she knew this wasn't going to change and my kids even knew it wasn't going to either. But, they would still ask every Sunday if dad is going to church with them, since he is dressed up in church like cloths. But, my answer was always "No, gotta go make money to pay the bills. Sorry kids"
But eight weeks ago, I told myself that I had to go, I had to get my life in balance if I wanted to take my career to the next level. I know, how could anyone have a fear of church?
Like I told you before I was a good kid and even the people I chose to be around were good people. Well, while in college, I had a good friend that I met who I had met through a friend of a friend and we hit it off immediately. Well, his dad was a pastor or minister or something, I honestly can't remember it was 20 years ago and I really wanted to forget it.
You see 19 years ago while I was going to college in a new city, I only really now knew these two people that had something in common with me, they didn't drink and they enjoyed bowling and just hanging out. So, when my new friend invited me to his church to meet others like myself I of course jumped at the chance and said yes! Of course he also showed me pictures of the youth group leader (She was gorgeous and single) and that was even a better reason to go.
So after weeks of going to this church, there was a new kid that showed up, don't know why or where he came from, but he was different, to be honest I disliked him very much. He did everything he could to start arguments and I was always one to walk away from a fight if I could and that is what I chose to do this time also. But, this time the fight followed me! This kid asked if I wanted to fight and I said "No, I am just going to leave" That is when he pulled a gun on me and if you have never looked down the barrel of a gun, let me tell you it changes your life forever!
I proceeded to walk backwards very slowly to my car and get in all the time with a gun pointed at me and just saying "All I want to do is leave." So, I got in my car and left, still shaking and not knowing this city good enough to know what street this church was on, just how to drive there. I drove to a busy street a few streets over and got my car to about 80 in a 40 hoping to get a cops attention. (Which it did) I told them what had happened and why I was speeding to get their attention and to follow me back to the church, I don't know the address, but I can get you there. (By the way I didn't get a ticket)
Once we got back to the church, I actually had time to reflect on what had happened in the last 15 minutes and I broke down. I was shaking, crying and had feelings I had never felt before. But, I knew at that moment in time, I wasn't going to be going back to church, this wasn't for me. I couldn't even go back in the church to identify the kid, they had to bring him out to the police car and I identified him there.
That was 19 years ago and I still get a lump in my throat and sweat a little when I go to church with my family. But, if this is what I have to do to make a better life for me and my family and get even closer to my family than I can do this. I have to admit, I have had to leave church a couple times just because of feelings of uneasiness. But, I catch my breath, walk back in and sit down next to my family.
I think the most special thing for me was last week when my daughter asked "Is dad going to church with us again?" My wife said "Yep" and my daughter yelled "Yeah and gave me a hug" I think at that moment in time, I realized why my coach wanted me to do what he wanted me to do. I was still missing out on family time, I just didn't realize it.
By the way, I think this is the first time I've really talked
about that day since it happened and I didn't realize how
hard overcoming that fear would be.