There are some events or some seasons that define your life. This summer has been one of them. Some pretty amazing things have happened this summer. God has been in the business of blessing me.
Part of my life has been spent living in fear. Fear of stepping out of my comfort zone, fear of speaking in public, fear of not living fully and always holding back are just some of the fears that have gripped my life. Fear of trying new things and new tastes are a couple more things. I could go on, but you get the idea.
God began His work with me this summer. He knows what is ahead of me and He knew we needed to work on my fear. There are some things He is calling me to do that is going to require less fear and more courage. There are some tasks that lie ahead that I will need to be bold and let fear subside. In order for me to accomplish these things successfully I am going to have to step out of my comfort zone and set fear aside.
It all began with our trip to the Smokey Mountains. I have never ridden a bicycle in my life. I have tried several times and it was something I could not master. There is a story here, but one that really goes too far back. I have always heard about wonderful bike rides and thought it would be fun. This summer my son-in-law surprised me. He brought a tandem bike on the family trip. He was determined to get me on the bike and take a bike ride. Remembering my past and the failures I was a bit skeptical and fearful. I decided though this is something I wanted, so I trusted my son-in-law got on the bike and rode away. I pedaled and he balanced the bike. On another day another son-in-law wanted to take a sky lift up to the top of the Smokey Mountains. This has always been something I wanted to do. So, together we overcame our fears and rode the sky lift up and back down again. The last test of this trip came when we were in Pigeon Forge and the grandsons wanted to ride go carts. None of them were tall enough to drive so it took the adults driving the go carts in order for the kids to ride. That included me. I am 63 years old and tried to explain to them I was too old, I had never been in a go cart let alone drive one. I came up with a million excuses, but none of them passed the grandsons expectations of me taking them on a go cart ride. So I am loaded up and in the driver seat. This was so out of my comfort zone. Buckled up with a grandson next to me and here we go. I must admit it was fun and could easily become a passion of mine.
I thought a lot about the things I accomplished on that trip and how I got out of my comfort zone and set fear aside. A few weeks later we arrived at Palo Duro Canyon in the Panhandle. We were driving around amazed at God’s handiwork. There were several pull offs and short trails to take. We took a few of them. We came upon one where several people had pulled off. We looked to see what the excitement was all about. About a quarter of a mile, on an incline there was a cave people were walking into. It was a pretty rocky climb, but not difficult. My husband decided we needed to see this cave. Really? I was beginning to let fear set in. First, it was hot, then it was a bit rocky and then it was a slight incline. I remind am I am 63 years old. Made no difference to him. We walked to see this cave. It was awesome. The walk up was a bit challenging and the walk down was even more so. When I got to the bottom again I was exhilarated. I had set aside my fears, hiked up and back down again. That’s when it hit. I had done some amazing things this summer. I stepped out of my comfort zone and accomplished some things I had always feared.
Thinking back and once again reflecting on all that I accomplished I realize I had often let fear be in charge. I realize the saying, “If God brings you to it He will bring you through it” is so true if you have faith in Him and totally trust Him. Now I know we often think of troubles when we hear this saying and God may not have brought all these circumstances to me, but they were in front of me and I had a choice. I could have faith in God and put my trust in those around me or I could choose to stay comfortable without ever experiencing what God can do. Just like Peter walking on the water; He could have stayed in the boat with the others, but He chose to step out of his comfort zone. He experienced Christ in a whole new way.
I am also reminded of what Paul said, “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have complete boldness, so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. So what shall I choose? I do not know.…”Philippians 1:20-22.Now I realize none of these things were death defying acts, but it does give me a better understanding of Paul’s message.
The message that God wants me to share with you is this: we can live in fear and we can let fear dominate our lives or we can have complete boldness and trust God in all things…even if it’s something as simple as riding a bike for the first time, or tasting a new tea bought from the Canyon. God showed me if I can accomplish these simple tasks then I can accomplish a whole lot more when I put my faith in Him and trust Him completely. It is a choice.
My faith walk with God has gotten a little stronger. I have discovered God gives us small insignificant challenges with success so that when He gives us big challenges we can have success if we trust Him and have faith in him. I am on a deeper journey with Christ. With Christ all things are possible.
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NLT) I am learning not to be afraid to try new things. I am learning to step out of my comfort zone and I am learning not to be discouraged if I step out and fail. You see I don’t really fail it’s just a stepping stone and a lesson for something better in the future.
“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4 NLT) I am human and I know God has not freed me from all my fears, I won’t be free until my journey is over, but I know I am a step closer. I will still more than likely get nervous when I have to speak in front of groups, I may hesitate when the next challenge comes along, but I will remember the successes I’ve had and I will certainly not let fear rule my life. I will remember the challenges, the successes and yes even my failures. I will remember the fear, but I will not let the fear overtake me any longer.
Yes, it’s been a busy and exciting summer, but more than that it is a summer that I will remember for a long time. It will be remembered as the crossroads in my life. It will be the summer that I overcame fear and put it aside.
Do you allow fear to rule your life? Are there things you’d like to do, but fear is holding you back? God wants us to live boldly; he wants us to be strong and courageous. He does not was us to be afraid, or discouraged. Yes, we may fail but just see it as a stepping stone; a lesson. Don’t fear the circumstances instead put your trust in the One who brought about those circumstances.
Dear Lord: Thank you for moving me a bit closer on my journey. Thank you for teaching me fear is not a way to live. I know fear will rear it’s ugly head again, but remembering my successes, my challenges and even my failures I will put my faith and trust in You and not let fear dominate my life. When those challenges come that you have called me to I will not allow fear to paralyze me, I will put my faith and trust in you and move forward. Thanks for this summer and the blessings you have given me. Amen!