It was the weekend before this past Christmas, a bright and beautiful Saturday morning when I awoke refreshed and ready to go for a run and workout before beginning the day. I spent my time in the gym and as I left I saw the nature trails behind my apartment complex urging me to visit, so naturally, I let them pull me in. With the sunshine peeking through the trees and the light winds tickling my cheeks and a big smile on my face, I began to confidentally walk down the rocks towards the pond and WHAM--- I was down. I couldn't stop my fall on those rocks but somehow managed to awkwardly fall in a position that put the most impact on my left arm and lower back, leaving quite the bruise and some soreness for the next few days. So much for a peaceful morning walk, right?
We all have stories of comical slips, falls, and embarrassing incidents that are funnier later on rather than in the moment. But even when we learn to laugh from our mistakes there is still sometimes this slight fear that it will happen again. After my little slip, I was definitely more cautious when hiking Stone Mountain the next week, grabbing onto whatever was next to me to keep from falling on the way back down the mountain. But was I going to let some small incident keep me from walking again? Of course not, most of us wouldn't. So why would we react any differently to the larger incidents and "falls" in life? Why would we stop trying because something didn't work out or go well the first time (or even the first 100 times for that matter)?
You see, where fear usually gets us is not in what we fear happening actually happening but it is in the probability it could happen, in the thinking it could happen that fear grips us and sets us into paralyzation from setting foot into the unknown. It is that constant thought of "what if" that fear whispers in our ears that keeps us from pursuing our dreams, doing that one thing, being obedient to what God is asking of us and knowing He is faithful in His promises.
When I fell on those rocks I was a little afraid to go back to that place or any place like it because of the chance of falling again. Same with loving, dreaming, trying something new, etc... The thoughts of what could happen/might not happen or how something didn't pan out before haunting me... But if I never walked out on the rocks again I never would have known again what it felt like to stand upon my fright, to see what’s on the other side of doubt, and to embrace the unknown ahead. If we let the pain of the past, the heartbreak, the mistakes, whatever it is, hold us captive as fears slave, then we will not experience the fullness of all God has in store for us.
So here's my challenge to you and to myself this year and every year ahead... if we are going to fail (which we will sometimes, we are human), let us fail to fear. Let us catch the lies of the enemy right as they enter our minds and let us delete it, banish it immediately. Let's stop trading the truth for a lie. Let's dig deep-- soaking in the words of truth that our Creator has spoken to us, and let's abolish the very thing that keeps us from fully loving and living. Let's tell fear... oh, powerless, manipulative fear--- you can no longer live here.
"Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love." 1 John 4:18
What is that one "big thing" you've failed at, lost, or got hurt by that you haven't tried again? What is holding you back? Write out your fears and doubts then take time to dig into the Bible, be in the Lord's presence and listen to what His spirit is speaking and write down what HE says about those doubts and fears. Repeat that truth He reveals to you. Say it to yourself over and over, write it everywhere, whatever you need to do to remember it. Fill your heart and mind so full with His truth that there is no room for those lies of the enemy to creep in.