Do you want to know a secret?
Okay, so, here it is…
I am terrified of heights.
I see you smiling and rolling your eyes, but yes, I am perfectly serious. Heights terrify me.
Earlier this fall, my family and I drove up a mountain to see the beautiful view. It was a perfectly clear day, shining sun, and a fantastic 75 degrees. As we drove the whole way up to the mountain and finally parked at the top, everyone eagerly bounced out of the car.
There were a bunch of rocks to climb up on top of, as well as a set of cement stairs leading up to a gigantic rock platform people were standing on that overlooked the valley below.
“Let’s go!” my sister exclaimed.
Yeah, I don’t think so.
I knew that gigantic rock that people were standing on was a drop off.
Into thin air.
My anxiety just couldn’t handle that. It took everything my sister had just to simply convince me to slowly climb the cement stairs towards the platform.
That was close enough, please and thank you. I had no desire to go any further. I sat down at the beginning of the platform and refused to inch my way any further. Partly because I was afraid of tripping. And partly because I started to hyperventilate. But that’s beside the point.
I’m sure you get the picture. I just can’t do heights. My fear prevents me from enjoying anything fifteen feet above solid ground.
But do you know what else my fear prevents me from?
Doing what God has called me to do.
Because sometimes I fear a whole lot more than a gigantic rock platform hanging on the side of a mountain.
Sometimes my fear of rejection keeps me from sharing an article or devotional I’ve written with others. Sometimes my fear of failure keeps me from writing the article or devotional altogether. Sometimes my fear of pain prevents me from giving my dreams to God and experiencing His best for me. Sometimes my fear of people keeps me saying yes to everything someone asks me, until I have nothing left to give and I’m left empty.
Sometimes my fear keeps me from what God has called me to do.
You too? Good, I’m not alone.
Dear heart, fear can paralyze us, like it did to me that day on the platform. It kept me from taking one more step forward. It kept me from standing up.
And you know what? I missed out on the majestic view that everyone else saw from standing up on the platform and looking out across the valley.
You too will miss out on the beautiful adventure God has for you if you don’t find the courage to stand up on your platform of fear and face it.
But how do you face your fear when it’s so strong you can almost taste it? How do you walk forward in courage when you’re trembling in your boots (Or sandals. Sandals are always better)?
Well, I sure don’t have all the answers, but it’s been a privilege to get to learn along my own journey. And here are just a few of the steps God has taught me to take to push back my fear and move forward anyway…
Turn the light switch on your fear. Admit out loud exactly what it is you’re afraid of.
Are you deathly afraid of heights like me (girl, I feel you)? Say it out loud. Are you terrified of rejection? Speak it aloud. “I’m afraid of being rejected, because I think rejection will reinforce my fear that I am not good enough.” Stare at yourself in the mirror and yell it if you have to.
Good, now you’ve admitted it. You are leaps and bounds closer to conquering it.
2. Tell someone about your fear. Do you remember what else you would do when you feared the monsters under your bed? After frantically turning on that light switch, what was the next thing you did? Go running to your mom or dad, of course.
With tears quivering on your eyelids, you would confess to them your fear of the monsters. Smiling that reassuring smile parents give, they would hug you tight, walk back to the room with you, and show you that there were clearly no monsters under your bed. With their gentle reassurance, you knew it was finally safe to go back to sleep.
Friends, do you know where I’m going here? The next step to conquering your fear and climbing onto that platform that has you so paralyzed is to admit to someone else that you are afraid. Maybe it’s a parent, a sibling, a best friend, or a wise mentor. Whoever it is, invite them out for coffee or ice cream and explain your dilemma. “God has called me to (insert your own calling), but my fear of (insert your fear) is preventing me from moving forward.”
They’ll probably look at you and smile as they reassure you that your fear isn’t as bad as you were convinced.
3. Give your fear to God. I think a lot of times, this is the step we miss most. We admit our fear to ourselves, we tell our friends about our fear, but then we try to conquer our fear all on our own. We try to do it alone and that road merely leads us back to square one, with no courage and feeling more discouraged than we did before.
We forget the words God has said to us in places like Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
We don’t have to fear, because He is with us. When we try to do it all on our own, the fear takes over again, because we quickly realize that we can’t do this thing alone. Then we feel discouraged and end up being afraid to try again, because we fear failure.
Don’t do it alone.
Give every last bit of your fear to God. Give it all to Him. Tell Him what you’re afraid of and tell Him why you’re afraid of it. Then leave it in His hands and let Him work on it.
You let Him handle the fear, and you just be faithful to do what He’s asking.
4. Do that thing that makes you afraid. This, friend, is the step we can so often forget. Because this may be the hardest step of all.
After we admit our fear, tell someone else, and give it to God, we can convince ourselves that we need to wait until we feel courageous to take the next step.
So, okay, here’s another secret…
Courage is not a feeling. Courage is acting in spite of what you’re feeling.
I don’t know what you’re afraid of, but that’s not the point. I want you to do whatever it is that is frightening you. Do it afraid.
Do you want to submit a guest article online but you’re afraid of rejection? Submit the article this week. Do you want to talk to your friends about Jesus but you’re afraid they’ll laugh? Tell them about how He changed your life this week.
Do it afraid.
Let’s do it together.
Maybe I’ll climb up on some rocks this week and admire the beautiful view below.