I had a paper route when I was in middle school. It was a nice route–close to my house; very kind customers who paid on time (and tipped too!); a biking route that took about 40 minutes.

My first week on the job, my stack was short a couple papers. This happens. For whatever reasons sometimes the count is off. Easily remedied by a call to The Goshen News–they quickly dispatch someone with additional papers so you can complete the route.

“Easily remedied.” Unless you’re terrified of the phone call. Which I was. I remember my Dad firmly saying I had to make the call. This was part of the job. I might as well get used to it.

To this day, I’m not sure why I felt so uncomfortable. Perhaps as a sixth grader I had no experience talking to people on the phone that I didn’t already know.

But I had to do it. And I had to do it again and again. My anxiety completely disappeared and I wondered why I was so nervous–to the point that the thought of nervous Danny is kind of comical now.

As a nursing supervisor, and now as a pastor, I’m often on the “dad” side of this–gently encouraging folks to try things they aren’t sure about. Things that make them uncomfortable.

And I’m thrilled whenever I see courage rise up to meet new challenges. I love the grit I see when people tenaciously push through failed attempts, embarrassment, or mishaps. I love the humility when I hear: “I’ve never done this before. It’s uncomfortable. But I think it’s worth doing, so I’ll see it through and let you know how it goes.”

Not always, but often, new loves are discovered. Then the joyful confidence, the enthusiasm, and the glow of mastery come into full bloom–and we applaud and celebrate how far we’ve come together. Well done!

“If I did only those things I was comfortable doing, I would have a lot of free time. I have never felt the necessity of avoiding those things I am not good at.”

John D. Hannah