We all have fear. It’s how we deal with the fear that really determines how our lives turn out.
Years ago, I heard these words, “Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.” One of my favorite lines. We all will experience it at certain points in our lives. Probably 90% of folks either freeze up or walk away from the fear. I propose that you begin running towards it. I’ve seen this work in my life. Let me give you an example.
As a child I was deathly afraid of heights. When I was about five years old, I was about 8-10 feet up on a banister over a concrete sidewalk below. I was goofing around and fell off backwards landing right on my head. Concussion. I remember my mom screaming, crying, and rushing me to the hospital in a panic. Lots of pain. Lots of blood. Lots of fear. Didn’t like heights anymore.
It got to the point to where when I would get around a drop-off of any significant height, I’d get dizzy. I think this is called vertigo. I would feel my stomach literally turn.
I’ve always loved the outdoors—camping, hiking, just being in Mother Nature. In the 11th grade, I joined a club at my high school called the Vagabond Club. There were two attractions—lots of pretty girls and we got to go up to the North Carolina Mountains on weekend getaways. I’m in.
I found out during the first drive up that part of the training was learning how to climb cliffs and then rappel down them. RAPPELL DOWN THEM! Oh C____! My whole purpose was to hike with pretty girls. I’d have to face this very real fear of mine.
The first cliff I had to rappel was about 120’ high. If you’re not aware of how these things work—that’s the same as a 12 story building! I remember standing about fifteen feet from the edge or the cliff just shaking. It was in September, so the temperature was probably in the low 80’s, but I was shaking anyway. Our teacher whose name was Mr. House, was also our instructor, and had many years of climbing experience. He was definitely qualified to lead our group.
I waited until everyone had gone down; acting like I was helping everyone. But I was really freaking out the whole time.
Mr. House helped me put my Swiss Seat on, showed me how the carabineer worked, and then hooked me in to the rope. He then asked me to approach the cliff—backwards. I did, taking steps that were probably 4” to 5” inches at a time. He could tell that I was scared to death.
“Robert, you can do this, son. Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.” When I got to the edge, the rope was taunt. He told me to lean back. “LEAN BACK—are you crazy???” I didn’t say that, but that’s what I was thinking. I couldn’t do it for about a minute. He was patient with me and just continued to reassure me that I was perfectly safe. So I leaned back. And I looked straight down 120’! And I was okay. He told me to take baby steps, just going down a few feet at a time until I began to feel more comfortable. “Lean back more, Robert.” It felt totally weird, but I did it anyway. He had me on belay, which meant that he had me tied in with another rope to him. If something happened to the first rope, he had me anyway.
Within a minute or so, I knew that I was okay. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that my fear magically disappeared. It didn’t. But the more I went over the edge, the easier it got. And it became a hobby that I participated in all through college in the mountains of North Carolina.
So I ask you—what are you afraid of? What has you standing still in life? What are you shaking about today? I want you to write down the first thing that comes to mind on a piece of paper.
Now read this verse. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give you a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of self-discipline.”
God doesn’t want you living in fear. He wants you living—boldly.
So now I want you to just lean back. I’ve got you on belay. But more importantly, God has you on belay. I believe that he wants you to begin confronting your fears. Let’s do it together.