Have you heard the saying, ” Ninety-nine percent of what you fear will never happen?” Do you believe this is true in your own life, or do you find many of your fears have appeared in your life, and now they are crippling you? The latter was me a few years ago, I lacked courage in every sense of the word. I was strong physically, due to CrossFit, but when it came to facing my fears, I was a coward…
We pulled into Cocoa Beach, and our ten kids piled out. No, I don’t have ten kids, that would have impressed you right? We were vacationing in Florida with our friends, Wendell and Lila Graber, and both our families had five kids. As I walked into the change room, I could overhear people talking about a shark attack that happened on the beach just before we arrived.
Running back to the rest of our group, I told them we couldn’t swim today since there had been an attack. They all looked at me like I was crazy. None of them were afraid a shark would attack them. I on the other hand just had to mention I was scared of something and POOF it happened.
Have you seen this verse before: ‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8′ That’s exactly how I felt about Mr. Shark at the time: he coming to devour my loved ones.
I sat on the beach in a complete anxious mess as the thirteen of them went swimming, and I watched for sharks from my chair. No one was traumatized by an attack that day, but if I went into the water, guaranteed I would have come out with one less limb.
I grew up an extremely timid and fearful child. I was afraid of EVERYTHING that moved. Over the years my fears began to materialize in front of me if I spoke them out loud:
- Fear: I don’t want to push this metal football sled down the road, what if I hit a crack and cut myself. End result: seventeen stitches and five staples in my leg. I was the only person of about thirty this happened to.
- Fear: Vance I’m not going down this waterslide in that giant tube with you, you weigh 100 pounds more than me, if it tips you’re going to hurt me. End result: The tube spins as we go down and as I hit the water with my back facing it. Vance’s weight shifts and he comes barreling at me. I hit my head on the bottom of the pool and scratch my shoulder. Out of five sets of two people, we were the only couple who got hurt in our group.
- Fear: I dreamed for years at night that all my teeth fell out. End result: My teeth actually started crumbling and falling to pieces. Twenty thousand dollars later I have a beautiful smile.
I could go on and on, but I won’t bore you. I don’t know if you have had the same experience as me, or you are in with the other 99% of the world, and your fears have not materialized.
I had become so paranoid of my fears coming true that I feared to be fearful. Wrap your brain around that one. I began to pray and ask God if he could help me overcome my insecurities and worries. God does not disappoint, and he answered my prayer most unusually.
As I slept he gave me a dream, how else do you reach a woman with a noisy life? I was raising a large family, and trying to pray or have quiet time during the day was near impossible. So, often times, God would try to reach me in my sleep:
I dreamed I was standing on a hill looking down into a valley of the most beautiful, tallest, golden wheat you have ever seen. It was blowing in the breeze, and the movement was breathtaking. Somehow I knew I was supposed to cross over to the hill on the other side of this massive valley. As I looked down into the valley I could see patches of black moving in the wheat. I didn’t know what it was but headed down the hill anyway. I was running. All of a sudden the wheat opened, and I came upon a massive black bear. Fear seized me. My momentum was going to propel me into the beast, but I was able to just barely miss him. My shoulder touched his, and I felt the hairs of his coat touched my arm like a feather. I looked back at him as I ran even faster and he looked back at me with the saddest most gentle face. This happened over and over as I ran through the field until finally, I reached the opposite hill unharmed.
Then I woke up.
I have never had a dream more vivid than this one. I asked God to reveal to me what he wanted me to learn. It took a few weeks of prayer, and in the end, I had my answer: God was asking me to face my fears. He also requested that I put my faith in him to protect me instead of always trying to defend myself because apparently, that wasn’t working for me.
A month later it was our yearly trip to Florida with the Grabers again. Now there’s something you have to know about our friends, they are somewhat fearless and adventurous, traits I wish I had. Lila wanted to go on a Kayak adventure where you see manatee and dolphins. Yes, enormous beasts swim up to your Kayak. I immediately said no. This was way too much for me to handle. The thought of it could make me faint.
Then that whisper, “Cindy trust me, not yourself.”
“PLEEEEEAAASE God don’t ask me to do this.”
He reminded me of the dream. “Trust me, give me your fears.”
Finally, I submitted to God’s gentle leading, and we went on the adventure. I went in fear and trembling. I came away having one of the best experiences of my lifetime. We paddled through swampy areas and a river till finally, we were sitting in an area with manatees coming near our Kyaks. The river was beautiful, and our outing was a memory I will cherish forever.
The next year we were in Florida again, and my family wanted to try the massive long body slide at the water park. The one with the drop that lifts you slightly off the slide as you plummet to your possible death four stories below…ya that one. At first, I said no I would watch, and they all took off.
“Cindy, remember the dream.” Oh, sometimes I want to hand God a piece of duct tape and tell him to hush.
To my family’s surprise and delight, I was waiting my turn for the slide. Finally, after ten minutes it was time to plummet. I sat on the slide for a very long time as the line backed up and grew longer. I just couldn’t muster the courage to push away from safety. Then a voice called out from behind me.
“Sometimes you just need to have a little faith.” I turned to the voice and saw a dark-haired man smiling at me.
“Thank you for saying that, it’s exactly what I needed to hear.” I pushed off smiling, still scared out of my mind, but putting my life in God’s hands. I arose from the bottom of the slide triumphantly, and laughing, I walked away from my fear, a little taller and braver.
How about you? Have you been letting your fears consume you and rule your life? Are they keeping you from doing something you’d love to try? Maybe you’re afraid of rejection, failing, dying, losing something or someone you love.
I still have fears and God is working on me in the courage department, but I have learned that I am in control of nothing…except my own feelings. I can’t control the world around me. That’s God’s department, not mine.
Are you ready to place your fears in the hands of the one who wants what’s best for you? God can protect you from any beast no matter how fierce it is? All he asks is that you give him what is most precious to you and let him take care of it…
Sometimes you just need to have a little faith💗
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”- Joshua 1:9
Believing and hoping,
*Featured below is by Denis Paradis. Featured photo is by Andreane Fraser