One could easily say I have lived a good portion of my life in fear… of loved ones dying, fear of peoples opinions of me, or hurting them,, and fear of failure to name a few. The list is a mile long and its’ roots are deep seated. Proving to be an unsavory companion when it stretches beyond normal God given healthy fears. What was created to protect us can take a sharp turn driving fears into darken back alleys of dread and unnecessary apprehension.
We know fear is one of our most basic human emotions, God’s wonderful design has programmed it into our nervous system to work instinctively. Equipping us with survival instincts to address fear when we feel unsafe or in danger. Though fear’s job is to protect us, my healthy fear wires have been known to short circuit into unhealthy connections, kicking me into over the top reactionary responses.
This battle has raged long and hard in my life where fight, flight or freeze have been the ticking metronome keeping time with my racing heart that has been confronted with fear or the perception of it.
Thankfully, by the grace of God and me pressing through for deeper healing, time has slowly melted away some of the icy grips of overbearing fears. Current fears are being warmly filtered through God’s profound and perfect love. While the love of family and friends soften its’ bitter edges. Together this unconditional love propels me to greater heights of freedom.
Speaking of fear and heights, I had the opportunity to overcome my fear of climbing the dreaded 164 step Astoria Column again, revisiting this tower of terror after a happy 33 year absence. Completing this feat for the first time in 1980 with my dad while mom happily sat in the car. Putting on my “Brave Front” to show my dad that I was capable of doing this, ascending the spiral staircase with trepidation I made it to the top. This victory was short lived because it quickly gave way to shear panic as we descended back down. For now the inside handrail was brimming with anxious climbers gripping its sturdy support leaving no handrail to aid me going down. Accessing the situation I wanted to cry first, then plant my butt on the first step and scoot down one frighting move at a time. Though I did neither, I regained my composure and gingerly made my way down the grown up way… by walking down standing up. Upon reaching the bottom of the looming column I vowed to never climb that thing again!
Recently, I broke that vow when Kevin and I went with my friend and her husband to Astoria visiting her old childhood stomping grounds. She convinced me to go back to the Column and face my fears. Her encouragement, enthusiasm and repeating mantra, “You got this”, caused me to halfheartedly believe her to the point of getting me up to this imposing task.
Soon we arrived at the column, her husband blazed a trail ahead of me and my husband (who does not enjoy heights at all) close behind, with Kelli as our cheerleader last. Each of us carrying a balsa wood glider purchased at the gift shop ready to let it soar once we made it to the top.
I love what Nelson Mandela once said…
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
I climbed each step with fear and then was able to let go and watch something soar in the process.Ever walking more completely in what John penned so beautifully in 1 John 4:18 AMP
“There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].
Each day I choose to take baby steps away from fear… the fear of others wrong or misguided opinions of me, the fear of failure or the unknown . Grabbing hold of life, love and risk. Climbing the stairs of God centered thoughts circling around His loving and comforting approval; that rests on the knowledge of Him knowing my heart… always. Trusting in God’s mercies and grace to help me see the bigger picture in all its’ glory… then letting go to soar.
Isaiah 51 :11 from The Message Bible … asks us … “What are you afraid or who? God declares in verse 16, “He is the God of the Angels Armies” who will teach you how to talk, word for word, and personally watch over you “.
In other words, God is saying … “You got this “!