Fear has the power to grip us to the point of making us believe we are powerless. Our response to fearful situations reveals our power level and our level of vision clarity provided by our life lenses. Which we have learned about over the past two weeks. I know this all too well. I vividly remember the day I was gripped by fear in a way I had never experienced.
It was a beautiful Summer day in Germany, we woke up that July morning to news of fresh snow fall on the mountain we would be exploring, the Zugspitze. We took the train up the mountain with great anticipation of the fun and beauty that was before us. The train alone was exciting for the kids, who were 10, 7,and 6 years old at the time. They were excited to see snow since we had just moved to Germany from the state of Georgia. We were not disappointed. Everyone was able to walk in the snow and through icy snowballs, it was joyous. Then my husband spotted his reason for making the journey— the summit. He wanted to climb the rock face and touch the cross at the summit. I gladly supported him. The children and I remained on the safety of the observation deck where we could enjoy the view as Daddy made his climb and take pictures to record his triumphant accomplishment. He returned to us with his contagious excitement. Then announced he wanted to share the experience with our our oldest daughter. Reluctantly, I let her go. I was trying to convince myself to trust that this was a good decision. I’m married to a natural risk taker and adventure seeker, unlike myself, and our measure of safe is determined on far different scales.
So against my better judgment off she went with her Daddy. She returned safely and full of smiles. Her excitement was contagious as well, so of course her competitive little sister and adventurous little brother would not be left behind. One by one they went, with each one it became much harder for me to watch as they climbed the rusty ladder leading to the summit rock face. My fear grew as I noted the safety precautions that other German families had been using as they climbed. They were meeting my definition of safe climbing. As they linked everyone together with ropes and wore helmets. I struggled to believe this was still a good idea and began to let fear cloud my vision. I could see my petite 6 year old stretching to reach each bar until she climbed onto the rock face. Then she took hold of an iron rope that served as protection from falling off the edge. It started about her waist level as she moved closer to the summit her arm stretched higher and higher until it was fully above her head holding on. My heart raced, I was pacing, and gripping my son and daughters hands very tightly. Then, she let go of the rope. Now making her way holding only her Daddy’s hand. At this point I was struggling to verbally encourage myself that it was going to be okay. She might be on the edge of a mountain summit but she was going to be just fine. Right Lord, just fine, you are going to keep her safe? And He did, she returned to me full of smiles and excitement, announcing “I did it, Mommy! I’m a big girl!”
I allowed myself to briefly be caught up in the celebration before the reality set in. I had to now release my baby boy to this adventure. You would think at this point my trust would have been greater since there were two successfully completed trips. Rather than trust my husband and the Lord I continued to look through my clouded lenses of fear. The view of what I believed to be true— this was dangerous and my husband is not recognizing the serious hazards he is exposing our children too without any safety equipment. From my perspective, I just knew the other side was even more dangerous than the side I could see. I wanted to have control, but I wasn’t in control.
That is when it happened. He crested the top of the ladder and stood up on the rock face. As he took each step on the mountain, I found myself pulling my girls closer to me and the wall of safety behind us. I became glued to the wall and forced my daughters to do the same not letting them move to watch them climb. In my mind, somehow, this was keeping the situation under control. I was gripped with fear. I was acting irrationally. Tears were swelling in my eyes and I felt breathless. I was angry that my husband would do this to me. Now recognized as ridiculous thoughts, raced through my mind. One such thought was “Why was he willfully putting our children is such a dangerous situation?” I was overwhelmed as his little silhouette dropped completely under the safety line and he was not longer able to grasp the safety line. My oldest remembers trying to assure me and tell me it was safe up there. What was keeping me from hearing her and from believing her? Fear.
Looking back I can see that I was living in low battery mode since we were busy moving overseas and trying to get some exploring done as a family before my husband’s unit deployed. I was fortunate to have a few moments to myself let alone find time for a regular quiet time and my prayer life was sporadic as well. My focus was not on my daily relationship with the Lord leading to my blurry vision that opened the door to fear. I missed out on experiencing the exhilarating moment of the Zugspitze summit as a family because I forgot to recharge my night vision goggles(NVG’s) and they lost there power. If I had them powered up they would have helped me look at life from God’s perspective—-to live life unafraid of mere mortals. A life lived with God in focus and the world slightly blurred.
If I only would have had my NVG’s powered up then I would have been able to view the truth my daughters were trying to help me see. I was so gripped by fear I wouldn’t let myself even consider what they were telling me. As I held them tight against the wall they were trying to encourage me— saying: “It’s safe Mommy. You can’t see it from here but it is flat up top with lots of room to walk and the view is really cool.”
Being bound by fear left me closed off from the truth that was right in front of me. It is very scary to think I was open to such paralyzing fear. It truly wasn’t until months later that I realized how I had masked the truth of the situation. I was sure that I was the only one with the truth. How could I be wrong? But I was very wrong. That situation opened my eyes to some very serious trust issues I had. I thought I trusted God, but did I fully trust Him with everything? I thought I trusted my husband, but did I truly trust him with our children? The truth remains, only when we are fully trusting and believing in God’s sovereignty are we able to walk through the darkness of this world unafraid, cross the tightropes of life with balance, and climb to the mountain summits with confidence and courage.
Let’s live our lives abundantly on full power with our “spiritual heart full of love for God and His people, and a trusting daily relationship with Him.” Remembering to recharge and “strap on our NVG’s to help us clearly see the Lord at work and keep trusting that He does and will work all things for good” when we wander into the fearful places of life. Fear has no grip in a heart and mind that trust God to work all things for good. Let’s practice our self defense moves—- powered up with trust in God with clear vision allowing us to avoid and escape the assault of fear. We will reverently fear the Lord alone because “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”(Proverbs 1:7) and the “fear of man will prove to be a snare”(Proverbs 29:25).
What will we chose today trust or fear according to Psalm 56: 3-4?
Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always
Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.
Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”