Some friends of mine were recently telling me about how they had gone sky diving. They actually did it, they jumped out of a plane! They had gone tandemly, which means they were attached to a skilled, well trained, sky diving instructor, but none the less they leaped out of an open plane door and free fell thousands of feet to the ground depending only on a backpack filled with piles of folded nylon and rope to open mid air, unfold properly, and gently coast them down to a soft landing safely on to the ground.
I asked them if they would ever do it again, while they both shared mixed emotions on that, their responces were,"No way, it was terrifying"! and "I did it once that's enough, I'm crossing it off my bucket list!"
Yes indeed, the infamous bucket list ..defined as the list of all the things you want to do before you,"kick the bucket!"
So I got to thinking about this list and asked a few people what things would they have at the top of their lists. The answers were pretty amazing. Most things were very adventerous, and dangerous types of things that you would normally never do, climbing Mount Everest, swimming with the sharks,driving a professional race car at it's top speed on an indy track.. The list was an endless string of adrenaline rush type stunts that people would generally be extremely fearful of.
It occurred to me that we seem to put our fears on to a "To Do" list in a category that we probably would never get around to doing anyway. Why is that? Metaphorically speaking, don't we kind of do that in our daily lives with all our fears? Even the little ones? Some of these are not so irrational, simple, trivial, types of fears that we turn into huge road blocks and hurdles in our lives. They can stifle us and prevent us from living free and in God's peace. Some people have a fear of going to the Doctor, a fear of flying, of storms, elevators, heights, being alone, and some even have a senseless, fear the dark. These fears can snowball out of control and paralize us, leaving us to make continual, incessant, excuses for our avoiding these certain things. Fears can turn into greatly exagerated phobias to the extent where by when we are faced with these certain anxieties we can turn our emotions into sheer terror and panic reguardless of how irrational it all really is.
Don't get me wrong, normal fear has it's place. It can be helpful and protective, it's an automatic responce our body puts in place to protect us, it keeps our minds alert and ready when we are faced with a dangerous situation. It triggers our bodies to be able to respond accordingly and promptly when we are in jeopardy.
With phobias however, the fear is much different. People panic, play worst case scenarios out in their minds, like an endless revolving tape. Simple fear can turn to mass hysteria in their minds and then they detour their way around these fear prompting situations all together. For an example it's normal to be frightened when you are on a plane and experiencing some bad turbulance but it's irrational to avoid a friend's destination wedding for fear of flying.
Fears are nothing more than obstacles that stand in the way of progress in our lives. They are a product of our own subconscious that is deeply rooted and allowed to grow wildly. It cannot be conquered until we make up our minds to do so!
(Romans 8:37) We are more than conquerors through God's perfect love
God's perfect love casts out all fears. When we can begin to fully rely on God by letting Him into our hearts and lives and by having a daily intimate relationship with Him, we will begin to manipulate change in ourselves. Soon we can begin to see Him tearing down our walls of fear brick by brick, the walls begin to slowly erode until we finally trust Him in all situations and feel a peace beyond which we have never experienced before. The enemy constantly puts fears in our hearts to distract us and keep us from living our best lives. Having a stronghold of fears is the antithesis of God's peaceful security, and ceaseless protection in our lives.
We need to realize that God is in complete control of every situation and scenario we face, He knew what, when, and how we would face each moment of our entire lives, start to finish, beginning to end. So let's let Him take us through it all safely and calmly, peacefully and wisely.
One of my favorite Bible stories is when Jesus is asking Peter to step out of the boat and walk to Him on the water. Peter was in a small wooden boat with a few other apostles on a choppy, deep, dark, sea and was told to step out of the safety of that vessel and walk on the water to Jesus. Can you even imagine that? Talk about needing to trust the Lord when you are fearful!! When Peter bravely took his first few steps outside of the safety of the tiny boat, the waters became more rough and he began to doubt and lose faith, he began to sink, but with Jesus's encouragement his faith grew.. Jesus then reached out to him and placed him safely back in the boat. Jesus was there the whole way guiding him and keeping him safe. Peter did it afraid!! He walked on water! With all eyes on him in amazement He was trusting Jesus to protect him with every crazy, nerve wracking, supernatural, step he took! How many of us stay trapped in the boat on choppy water because we give into our fears?
( Isaiah 41:10) says, Do not be afraid for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will help you and strengthen you and raise you up in my righteous right hand...,
God is still that same awesome God today, the same protecting Father that guided Peter across the water. He never changes! He can still be that one God that delivers you from your fears so you can live in peace. He will hold you up when you have scarey waters to tread upon or whether you just need some encouragemnt to step out in Faith! Do it afraid, knowing God is right there to catch us when we fall, quiet us when we fear and humble us with His endless peace and enduring security. Do not ever dread anything that is alive and vibrant with God's remarkable presence. You need only call His name and be rescued, set free from fears, and delivered from all anxiety. God can and always will do what man can't do, He remains the Great "I Am!" He is and always will be all you will ever need!
He will perfect that which concerns you....
Heavenly Father, thank you today that we can live our lives free from fear knowing you are with us, guiding and protecting us each and every single day!! Help us to enjoy our lives to the fullest and to have your peace in our hearts.
We praise you in Jesus name!