As I lead a group around the corner of our challenge course and show them the platform they have to climb up and fall backward from, I know the exact moment fear will show up.
This knowledge causes me to spend a good amount of time building up each person’s courage for this very moment, and enthusiasm runs high while making our way through the tunnel of trees. I hear the chatter of voices echoing their ability to conquer anything as what was hidden on the course comes into view. They really don’t know what’s coming, and it makes me smile.
The group’s boisterous commitment to courage is short lived as we round the corner, and the platform comes into view. It takes a few minutes for me to help them pick their courage up off the ground and place it firmly within their hearts again. I train them how to fall as straight as a board, how to catch and make someone feel safe and how to repeat commands to ensure everyone is ready. That’s the easy stuff!
The hard part is my favorite part. Before anyone can leave the platform, I ask them to surrender one area of fear or unbelief and to do so by speaking it out loud so the entire group can hear. Almost always, someone asks me why I would do such a thing. Why would I ask someone to be so vulnerable? I smile, not because I find some sick humor in exposing vulnerable places but because what is coming really is the best part!
My answer is pretty simple: “There is power in the declaring. Fear loses its grip when it can no longer hide in the shadows.”
How true this is in our own lives!
We’ve all been there, rounding the corner and finding ourselves staring at a situation we never planned for or expected, and in most cases, never saw coming. This is when fear makes its ugly, controlling presence known. Once fear has one foot in the door, you can bet it’s not going to leave without a fight.
I know in my own life, fear is the biggest issue I wrestle with. My blog posts declare it so as does my passion for leading people through their fear through teambuilding. In all of my wrestling, I have realized my fear was embedded in my heart from a very young age due to difficult circumstances, and I have spent my entire life battling this enemy of my soul.
Is it the same for you? Perhaps fear entered as the result of tragedy which shook your faith. Perhaps fear found a home as the result of abuse which stole your security. Perhaps fear resides as the result of depression which darkens all hope. However it happened, one thing is true…..you can kick fear to the curb and not allow it to re-enter.
You can choose to loosen the grip fear has on our heart and on our daily living. How? By first declaring it and exposing it instead of feeding it.
- It takes great courage to look fear in the face and declare it to be powerless.
- It takes great inner strength to let go and believe you will be caught.
- It takes great faith to believe God (not just believe in God) when you cannot see what lies ahead.
In declaring, we enter into surrendering fear to God’s mending power. Fear is a selfish house guest, and it leaves no room for faith to reside. When we surrender our fear to God, he promises to sustain us and carry us through whatever difficult situation we are facing.
“For I the LORD thy God will hold your right hand, saying unto you, Fear not; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
“The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life…of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
I wish it were an easy process, but we all know differently. When the participants took the first step in declaring their fear, it was just that, a first step. But make no mistake, there was huge, life changing power in taking that first step. With each step to follow, the surrendering becomes easier and more comfortable. Each step brings renewed strength and powerful joy as we allow God to take control and pour His love and mending into our hearts.
So why do I love the look of fear on other’s faces? Because I know what’s coming.
When the fear is declared powerless and its shadow erased, it will be replaced by faith, trust and joy…….. and that really is the best part!