April 21, 2017
Fear is something that we have all experienced at one point or another in our lives. Growing up I was scared of virtually everything… cows, dogs, chickens, mermaids, vampires and even batman. I know it’s weird because Batman is one of the good guys, but there was just something about his costume that just didn’t sit well with me. It reached a point where I would go to bed and use the bed sheet to wrap around my body tightly from head to toe to prevent any of Gotham’s finest from gaining access to me. This was short lived, because the equatorial climate of a tropical island like Jamaica did not lend itself to this type of mummification. To help combat my fear my mother told me that fear is actually F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real). This really helped me to move beyond that and embrace more practical and rational fears…like the fear heights: acrophobia.
A few weeks ago I was blessed with the opportunity to participate in two mission trips during Spring Break. Our first trip was in St. Louis which was an amazing experience. At one point we went to the city museum. If you are like me and are scared of heights, then this place would no doubt cause you to be shaking in your boots. I was in shock and awe at all the contraptions this park featured, even scarier was the fact that there was like a million kids climbing like Jack on the Beanstalk without a care in the world. This is a good juncture for me to point out that I am also claustrophobic, and these crawl spaces were small. Not tiny. But small enough for you to say ‘Nope’! That was the word of the day for me. Nope.
What is particularly interesting is that oftentimes we fail to realize that when we are faced with challenges and short comings, we do not have to face our fears on our own. A little help goes a long way in helping us to become the best version of ourselves. Had it not been for the prodding and encouragement of Allison, Amanda, Cassie and Sarah, I would still be saying ‘Nope’. They became my personal cheer squad and I soon found myself climbing and shimming and crawling and climbing some more until I got to the top. Even though I said ‘Nope’ at every new twist and turn I still continued. I also ripped my favorite pair of Old Navy jeans in the process, but that paled in comparison to the exhilaration that I felt. I was so proud of myself and could not believe that I actually did it. Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Our second mission trip was at FAME in Indiana. On our way back we stopped at Camp Allendale where the Pim’s (Christi’s parents) had fixed us brunch, and afterwards we would go zip lining. When we arrived Barry called me to the window to show me the zip line. Out in the distance was this monstrosity of a…to this day I still cannot find the words to describe what I saw. But just think of how the Israelites felt in the Valley of Elah when they first saw Goliath. That was exactly how I felt. And that was a big ‘Nope’. I made up my mind that I wouldn’t do it. To seal the deal I ate. After all who eats a hearty meal before going on a ride. That’s a big no-no because we all know that when we are in a crisis situation we simply cannot trust our digestive system. It can and it will betray us.
In 1953 Edmund Hillary became the first man to stand on the summit of Mount Everest. However, he did not do it all by himself. With help of Nepali mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, Hillary was able to accomplish this feat. Back at camp Allendale Cassie Lipcaman became my Tenzing Norgay. She managed to try it. I think I may have blacked out and had an outer body experience because the next thing I know, I am at the top of the thing. Like the very top getting strapped in by Mr. Randy. It looked like the scene of a crucifixion as we stood there awaiting final instructions. I have been scared a lot in my 30 years (Yes, I am 30, whatever, I look good!) I have never felt fear this intense. I made it this far, the rest was entirely up to me. They did not name the zip line “The Leap of Faith” for nothing. You literally had to step off in faith, trusting that the cables would support you. I was not the first to take the leap of faith. Cassie did, followed by Ebuka. When they had gone a good distance and seemed to be ok. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and stepped off. Three seconds later, I found myself saying ‘OMG! OMG! OMG! This is so much fun!!!’ I was genuinely enjoying zip lining. In an instant the fear had left my body. After making it safely over to the other side, I went back for round 2. Can you imagine how much I would have missed out on if I allowed my fear to hold me back? If I did not step out in faith, I would never have known want an amazing experience this is.
Is there something you wish to try or accomplish, but you are being held back because of fear? Facing your fears can be one of the most difficult things you will ever have to do. Sometimes you just have to conquer your fears in baby steps, knowing that little by little, a little becomes a lot. Be courageous at all times and use scripture to help you whenever you feel afraid. We can take comfort in Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” There is also a quote by Jack Canfield which says “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Take the leap of faith today and see where it takes you!