Nov
10

Paralyzing Fear

Do your fears ever overtake you – paralyzing you either momentarily or long-term, to the point where you sit out on life?

Fear is a strong force that God may use to protect and guide us but it’s also a tool the enemy will use to keep us in stalemate, preventing us from experiencing and trusting God.

A few weeks ago our daughter had her end-of-the-season soccer party at a new gym in our area. It’s in an old warehouse and high above our party was the ropes course with six platforms and in-between each one was a variety of ropes and obstacles.

It looked awesome and the girls immediately asked about it. The manager offered us a deal if each child had an adult to accompany them. We couldn’t pass it up so we did the mini-training, strapped in and waited our turn to climb the rope ladder.

I was with my son, Noah, who quickly climbed the ladder as I belayed him. He made it look easy and I was eager to join him at top. However, as I began my climb the narrow, rope ladder, it began to twist and sway. I quickly realized it was going to be trickier than it appeared.

I felt uncoordinated as I climbed. When it came time for me to reach from the ladder and step onto the platform, a fear of heights took over me that I had never experienced before. I stood on the platform, grasping the pole and afraid to move. I wanted to go down – immediately.

I didn’t want to let Noah down so I tried to gather my nerves. He waited for me to clip him in to his first course while I mentally tried to think of a way to get out of it and without disappointing him. Maybe he’ll hate it and “need” me to go down with him.

No such luck – he took off and loved it.

It was my turn to lean out off, grab the rope and step off the firm platform onto a swinging rope. It was unnerving and I hated it at first but after a while that changed and I ended the day with an adrenaline high.

Here are a few life lessons it taught me.

  1. 1.    Straight paths are not always easy. In Proverbs 3 we’re encouraged to trust in God and not our own understanding. But just because God directs us to a path, it doesn’t mean it’ll necessarily be easy. My fears (understanding) told me to quit. However, if I had listened, I would have missed out on a great bonding time with my son. It was worth the struggle.
  2. 2.    Taking the 1st step is not always the hardest part. For me, taking the 2nd and 3rd steps was harder. Each one took me further from the platform and my safety blanket. It was even scarier at the end when I had to take one hand off of the rope to climb onto the next platform. It required me letting go and reaching out to another for help. Every step of our path we are dependent upon God and others – and this is a good thing.
  3. 3.    “Healthy” pride won’t lead to a fall. By healthy pride, I mean accountability – it keeps us from sitting out on life. I was with my son and his ability to continue on the ropes course was dependent on me staying with him. I didn’t want him to see me as a mom who quits on him. So I struggled on. My pride didn’t want to disappoint him so it spurred me on.

There have been times in life where fear kept me from trying. I didn’t send a query letter because I feared the rejection. I didn’t talk to a person because I feared looking foolish. I didn’t apply for a position because I feared I wouldn’t be able to handle the position.

God broke through that day. He reminded me that He enables us and He clears the right path for us. It may not be smooth sailing the whole way but the bonding and joy He gives us are more than worth it.

Do you have fears that prevent you from stepping out?

What has God taught you as you tackled your fears?

 

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