Fear... It can be paralyzing, rendering us useless and keeping us from moving forward in our lives.
Fear comes in many forms and sometimes masks itself as anxiety or stress, but it begins in our thoughts. A thought comes into our minds like a little seed. It can be a seed of doubt or worry, but as our minds entertain the idea, the seed is watered and begins to take root. That root, if allowed to grow, will become a weed of terror that we will be forced to reckon with.
I have always been a little afraid of heights, but it usually is manageable, and I've been able to push through my fright. That is until a recent trip to Arches National Park in Utah. I was excited to be able to see some of the beautiful arches up close as my husband Larry and I started our hike. I tried to push the flicker of fear out of my mind as the trail began to narrow, but I allowed the seed to linger there too long. Both sides of the path dropped off dramatically, and I felt as if I was perched precariously on top of the world. My eyes were drawn to the steep drop-offs on either side of the trail. The seed of fear was watered and sprouted quickly as I imagined myself falling to my death.
My heart was racing as I became rooted to the red rock. I started to cry and sat down in the middle of the trail. I clung to the rocky path like a lifeline, paralyzed in fear. Poor Larry, he didn't quite know how to get me to stand up and keep going. He assured me I would be fine, as he reminded me that I could not continue to sit in the middle of the trail.
As people were forced to squeeze by to pass us, I realized I couldn't just sit there forever. I had to either move forward or backward. With Larry's encouragement, I chose to move forward. He helped me up, and I clung to his back as he led me along the path. He reminded me not to look down the cliffs on either side of me, but to just look straight ahead at him. With Larry's help, fear did not rob me of seeing the majestic arches and experiencing God's handiwork.
Fear can do that if we allow it to. Fear can rob us.
The Bible says in John 10:10 that God comes to give us life abundantly, but the devil has a different plan. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy. One of the weapons he uses to steal from us is fear.
This week I encourage you to watch for those little seeds of fear that are being planted in your mind. Be careful not to water them by feeding into those fears.
Next time I will be talking about some practical techniques that will help us deal with the fear that threatens to take root in our lives.