I recently had the opportunity to fly in a helicopter with a trusted friend. Sounds exciting, except for the fact that I don’t like heights. To rephrase… I’m terrified of heights. The only problem was that everyone in my family had agreed to go, and flying was the focus of a day-trip that included a number of things I really wanted to be a part of. Enter the conflict that comes from wanting to do something and the deciding moment when that desire hits your fear square in the face.
Have you ever been there?
I know enough from our journey through the healing process that fear always has a root, and that root is generally personified by the perception of what we think we’re afraid of. In other words, it’s a viscous cycle. This cycle was not only at work in my mind that day, but it was in plain sight of my family. There my three girls sat watching me to see if what I had told them time and time again about facing their fear was as true for me as what I had implored them to believe for themselves. “You can push through the fear Mom, don’t let this stop you from flying with us.” They reiterated the very encouragement I spoke over them about asking the hard questions when we find ourselves at an impasse. “Ask yourself what you are really afraid of… not the scary thing right in front of you, but the deeper thing that is hiding in its shadow. When you find it, then you can speak directly to it and move past it.” (Well at least I now knew they were listening).
I decided to practice what I preached.
As we all loaded into the car, my prayer simply became, “Lord teach me something through this. Show me more of You as I lean into uncertainty.” Does this mean that climbing into the helicopter was easy? Not at all, but as we prepared to depart on that foggy coastal morning, I realized that this adventure was about more than just me. I’ll never forget the feeling as we lifted off the ground and hovered for a few minutes. “Ok,” I thought to myself, “this is pretty cool.” My family took notice of the smile that slowly appeared on my face.
Our very competent and capable pilot did a few maneuvers around the airport, then asked, “are you ready to go for it?” I answered back… “Yes,” and really meant it. It’s hard to describe what it was like as we gained altitude and left the ground beneath us behind. Suddenly, what seemed big became small. All the hustle and bustle of the mundane just gave way to clear perspective. Though we could hear the hum of the helicopter through our earphones, there was a quiet that brought a calm to my soul, as if I could really think way up there in the sky. Clarity…
The fog began to dissipate and we were able to pass along the coast. Tiny dots of color were the beach umbrellas of families enjoying time together in the warm sand. I could see little ripples out past the shoreline that became the crashing waves at the waters edge. From this vantage point nothing of any size or sound seemed overwhelming.
Nothing hid in the shadows from this point of view.
So what did I learn from this lofty experience? The truth is, fear taught me that flying was worth it… that it was what I was meant to do. To rise above the obstacle, the perception of what I thought might happen, and look down upon my circumstance and see that my daily stresses and unexpected problems, by perspective, are really small in the hands of big God.
I understand that someone might read this revelation and by comparison be left feeling overwhelmed by a legitimate personal circumstance. My encouragement is to take the principle that I was so lovingly reminded of and find the root of that fear, whether great or small, speak directly to it, and move past it into the limitless potential of the will of God.
Take it from me, from there, the air is clear and view is priceless.
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