Fearless. What does this mean? I don’t actually think it means a lack of fear, but rather a sense of courage. Where one embraces the fear and pushes onward. Now maybe that’s me just putting a positive spin on the fact that I tend to be a fearful person, but I don’t think fear defines me. Papa has taught me so much about the difference between being consumed in fear and not living the free life he has for me, and living free from the shackles of fear.
This past week our team took our vacation in the countryside, were we kayaked, caved, and saw elephants. We also got to swim in a beautiful lagoon at the base of a waterfall. At the lagoon there was a BIG tree that had thick long branches hanging over the water…with rope swings and jumping spots.
When we got to the lagoon, the guys climbed up and jumped. They lived; no injuries; smiles on their faces.
Now I didn’t want to be outdone, so I shakily climbed up, and after a mini panic, jumped into the water. It was so much fun and felt freeing as I stepped off the branch.
Then Katie decided she wanted to give it a try, so I told her I would go with her. She reached the top, looked down at the water, and started walking back toward the ladder that I was still climbing up. I blocked her way, gave some encouraging words, and then eventually stepped out of the way. I wouldn’t force her to do it if she truly didn’t want to. But, she faced her fears and jumped in like a champion!
Now you’re expecting me to say I jumped in after her, right? Well, you would be wrong! Instead, I started to panic, not just a little, but a lot. My eyes watered and I couldn’t let go of the railing. I turned around and began to climb down. I was giving into the fear like I have countless times in my life, in various ways. Then Seth ran over and encouraged me. At the moment his words meant nothing. I was too caught up in my own fear that I couldn’t hear what he was saying, and I couldn’t get myself to jump.
I calmed down eventually, let go of the railing, and jumped. You know what happened? I lived and all was fun.
Fear and comfort zones are like the tree I jumped from. Their roots go deep. Sometimes you don’t realize how ensnared you are until Papa calls you to step out of it.
“…I can live fearless – knowing that if I am nervous it’s okay because Papa can see the bottom of the water, and created me to swim in it.”
Sometimes it’s easy to step off of the tree the first time. Then a day, week, or month pass and you find yourself right back up in your comfortable tree. This time when Papa asks you to leave it again, you start to panic. You think of the things that could go wrong, the uncomfortable things that might happen, or you think the tree that you’ve built is better than what Papa has for you. While you’re panicking, Papa is standing with you on the tree in the middle of your mess speaking truth to your heart, waiting for you to calm down and hear his voice, and eventually guide you to take a step of faith.
When I leave my “fear tree” great things happen. For one, I breathe freely. I don’t have to have all the puzzle pieces of my life put together. I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to keep my eyes on my loving Father who will guide me to take steps that I can’t see the bottom of.
Do I know what’s next? Nope. But I know that my Father loves me, and loves my amazing new friends and this culture, and will take care of us. He can see the bottom of the waters and created us to swim in it. Therefore, I need not fear.
Please pray all of the REACHers, that they would be able to trust God during these transitions, and continue pursuing a fearless life.