Facing Your Fears
Several years ago I had the opportunity to take a ride in an historic PT-19 airplane. The pilot took me all over town to take pictures and write an article for the paper. We even had time to fly over our house and see our property from the sky, which was incredible.
When we landed, I profusely thanked the pilot for taking such good care of me and returning me to the ground in one piece. Then I admitted that I have a fear of heights. After we had a big laugh, he said that I shouldn't have any more problems now that I had survived this flight.
I thought I was over it, too, until last weekend at a ladies retreat in northern Iowa. In between some of the most powerful teaching sessions I've ever heard, we had the chance to try several outdoor activities like archery, an incredible pallet maze and paddle boating. We even got to go out on the water in a pontoon boat and ride around the lake.
Right smack dab in the middle of the camp, though, was what I wanted to do more than anything else. Stretched from a tall tower to the top of a hill was the zip line. Ladies were flying down the hill and screaming at the top of their lungs. Some were even doing Superman poses or spinning in circles. I had never done anything like this before, but here was my opportunity!
Once we got harnessed and walked to the tower and up the stairs, I was ready to go. But when it was my turn and I stepped out onto the balcony, I froze. There was a 2-foot plank hanging out over the ledge that you were supposed to walk off. I could see all the way down to the ground, and I was paralyzed for a minute.
A friend had gone up with me, and she just walked off the platform and went sailing across the field. I wanted to do that, but I just couldn't. The men in the tower were incredibly patient with me, letting me know that no one had ever died zip lining - here, this weekend. Their attempt at using humor to distract me wasn't working. I was chanting out loud that I wanted to do this, I didn't want to quit and go back down the stairs.
Finally, after five solid minutes of talking to myself, one of the men suggested I just sit on the edge of the plank. This way the harness would be stretched out and I could just scoot off the end. He understood that my fear was taking that step into nothingness, not the actual ride itself. I hope that man gets an extra crown in heaven. He deserves it.
What struck me afterwards was that I could have missed out on an amazing experience if I had let my fears get in the way. Now I can say that I've zip lined and I love it - something I couldn't have said if I'd stayed on the sidelines and just watched.
Our spiritual lives are the same way. If we allow fear to control us, we miss out of the opportunities and blessings God places in our path. We can't enjoy a full, joyful life if we're stuck on the outskirts of our faith, paralyzed with fear.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
If you're standing at the top of the hill today, frozen in fear over some circumstance in your life, I pray that you will grab hold of the perfect love of God that casts out all fear. He is ready and waiting to support you, hold you as you step out in faith and get you safely to the other side. All you have to do is sit down, rest in His arms and enjoy the ride.