That’s me. From the time I was a little girl, I have always been a fearful person. Seems like I was afraid of everything:
• The dark – I could “see” people standing in my bedroom at night. Never mind the stuffed animals or piles of clothes stacked on the chair. Those shadows manifested into real, live, frightening monsters
• Bad weather – the March, 1966 Candlestick Park tornado in Jackson, MS, scared me half to death. I was seven at the time, and was not home, where a young girl should be when an F5 tornado slams through her neighborhood. It demolished our church, many homes, and a teacher from my school was killed. I was traumatized for decades.
• Fear of heights and claustrophobia that I had inherited from my parents: heights from my Dad, and claustrophobia from my mom. Did these things really scare me? I’m not sure, but they sure scared my parents, so I was scared, too!
• People. Why did people scare me? I was afraid I wouldn’t be liked. I was afraid they would think I was goofy (I am at times). I was afraid they would think I was dumb. I am a fairly intelligent woman, and have flashes of brilliance, but those are all too often offset by moments of blinding stupidity.
• Afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone. I’m fearful of trying new things. Me and change don’t get along too good…or is it “well”? But that’s a whole ‘nother blog post…
I got over a lot of my fears after Mama died in 2011. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but after she died, I realized that life’s too short to live in fear.
We took a vacation several months after mama passed away. We toured Canyonlands Park in Moab, Utah. I did things at Canyonlands that I didn’t think twice about. A year earlier I NEVER would have done this: I sat on a rock on the edge of the canyon, gazing at the beautiful landscape that was so very different from south Louisiana. But really, I don’t do that – sit on the edge of canyons. You know, fear of heights and all.
We drove down to Mesa Verde, Colorado to tour the ruins. They were fascinating. We climbed down a steep mountain to get to the ruins. Not too bad, since the paved trail had guard rails.
Getting out was a different story. We had to climb up a primitive ladder that was in a narrow confined space, like a slot between two huge boulders. It was probably 3 or 4 feet wide, but seemed so much smaller when you gazed at it from the bottom.
John took one look at me and said “You won’t make it, will you?” He knew my fear of tight spaces – those little confined, enclosed, areas that make breathing difficult.
I watched as the person in front of me began to climb the rungs. He was, um, well, LARGE! When he went up through the slot, there was no sky to be seen above him. I knew if I followed closely, and he happened to get stuck, I wouldn’t be able to breathe.
So I waited, and I waited, and I waited, until he crawled out, and I could see daylight again. And then, I hopped on that old rickety ladder, and climbed as fast as I could to the top.
I kept my focus on the blue sky above. I didn’t look to the right or to the left, to see how close I was to the walls of thick stone. I looked straight up to the freedom above.
That vacation changed me. I realized that concentrating on my fears only grows them in my mind. But when I look to Christ above, there is freedom.
That’s it in a nutshell:
[tweetthis]Don’t focus on your fears, but on the freedom you have in Christ.[/tweetthis]
How about you? What fears have you faced, confronted or flat out conquered? Did fixing your eyes on Jesus bring you freedom from fear?
Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for Him, He thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and He is now seated at the right-hand side of God’s throne. Hebrews 12:2 GNT
Grace be with you,
That photo is beautiful! I’ve never been to Utah or Colorado, but your post is so inviting, I want to plan a trip! Oh, fear. Yuck. I never thought of myself as a fearful person. I never shied away from scary things as a kid. Roller coasters, rock climbing, you name it. But when I had my recent heart problems – the fear came out! I didn’t want to do anything for fear that I would have another ‘episode’. I was afraid to accept any speaking engagements. I was afraid to go back in the classroom for fear that something would happen in front of the kids. Boy, that has taught me to keep my reliance on God in a BIG way. Great post, Ellen!
Oh, Kristine, a heart problem would scare the pants off me too! (Sorry, but I have to…) Bless your heart! I am so thankful you turned your focus back on Him, so the kids and attendees at your speaking events won’t miss out on all you have to share about Him! I wish I could give you a big ol’ hug right now!!
Just read your post while sitting here with my dad and asked him about me having fears as a child… We got a good chuckle out of this thought cause he said that on the contrary, I’d have been better off to have had some growing up. I was too fearless for my own good he said! As an adult though, I grew to fear losing loved ones. The thought can paralyze one if it’s allowed to fester. I’m so thankful that instead of focusing on what I stand to lose/have lost, He helps me to appreciate those I still have with me!
Amen, Deb! Keep your focus on those here, and your sweet memories of those that have gone on. But mostly, keep your focus on Jesus!Praying for you, friend!