It has lurked its’ way into my thoughts my entire life. I was terrified of storms as a little girl, afraid I wouldn’t be accepted as a teenager, and still spend way too much energy worrying about everything as an adult. In a world where a child can be snatched from his father’s hand on a family vacation and a horrifying shooting takes place almost daily, it’s so easy to be overtaken by fear.
A week ago, my husband and I meticulously bubble-wrapped every belonging in our house and packed it all on a truck that would meet us at our new home halfway across the country. I knew it was God’s will for our family to make this move, but once again, fear took over. How will we make new friends? What if our kids hate their schools? Can we afford this financially? Should we be doing this?
We stayed at a hotel with a water park on our way from our old home to the new one. My husband has been trying to convince our daughter to go down a water slide with him for years. He’s offered her every reward he could think of and tried every tactic to help her believe she will be safe with no luck. He knew how much fun she would have if she just gave it a try. He finally miraculously convinced her to climb the massive set of stairs all the way to the top. He slid down first so she knew survival was possible and then waited at the bottom for her, yelling up words of encouragement. She mustered up all of the courage she had, reluctantly sat down, and let the water carry her into the dark tube. When she got to the bottom, she was all smiles! She absolutely loved it! She dragged her daddy back up those stairs and down that slide over and over for the rest of the morning. When we were leaving I asked her if she realized what she had been missing all this time. She said,
“I learned that when you are afraid,
you miss out on really great things in life.”
It took a hotel water slide and a 9-year-old little girl to open my eyes to the fear that was gripping me. Just like her earthly father went first down the water slide, our heavenly Father goes before us in everything we do.
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
He goes before us. He knows what’s in my family’s future and He placed it on our hearts to make this move anyway. I have nothing to fear. He has big things in store for us if we will just step away from what makes us comfortable and trust Him to bless our obedience.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. -Joshua 1:9
Wherever I go. Even 600 miles away from the only place I’ve ever lived. He tells us right there, in black and white – do not be afraid. While it’s true that God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7),
He also commands us not to be afraid.
Believe me, I know all too well how much easier it is to say it than to actually do it. While I have so many irrational fears that will most likely never happen, I have also had some of my biggest fears in life come true. Fears I thought I’d never survive if they actually manifested. But guess what? Not only did I survive, I truly believe God is real because of the way he carried me through those times in such a precious way.
In the midst of strife and sorrow, we can feel God more closely than we ever do when life is going our way. He didn’t promise us that nothing bad would ever happen, but He does promise that He will be there to help us through it.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world. -John 16:33
He is always with us, even when our fears become our reality, so we never have to be afraid.
All of that being said, because I know myself and my human nature, I know that fear will slink its’ way back into my thoughts again as my family and I continue to face so many unknowns. When it does, I am going to try my best to intentionally seek Him and His truth because I know He alone can rescue me from my fear.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears. -Psalm 34:4
I don’t know what fear is controlling you today or what it is keeping you from doing, but I hope you will join me in trying to seek the Lord rather than spending more of our short time on this earth contemplating worst case scenarios. What do you feel God telling you to do? What doors have been opened that are calling you in a direction you aren’t particularly comfortable going?
What’s YOUR water slide?
My daughter realized that day how much fun she had been missing out on for so many years because she was afraid. I don’t want to miss anything that God has for me. Let’s choose obedience over uncertainty. Trust over fear. Let’s climb those stairs, sit down at the very tip top of that water slide, and enjoy the ride because the ride is where we get to experience Him the most.