April 19, 2011

Paris and the Fear of Heights

I spent four days and five nights in the City of Light with my mom. It was excellent - she and I have always been good travel buddies, though such occasions are rare now. Before I left, a friend encouraged me (and others prayed) to look for God in a special way.

While I was waiting in line for the Eiffel Tower, I thought about my fear of heights and the things I've missed because of it like skiing, mountain biking (with chairlifts), and visiting tall towers. And then I started to realize all of the other things that I've either done or (mostly) not done simply out of fear. The chances I didn't take, the paralysis I've experienced over the past year, the reluctance to have a baby in the first place, not following through on friendships or career opportunities... going back as far as I can remember. I couldn't say how much of any of it was learned behavior, but God opened my eyes just enough that day to show me what I have been missing. And I thought - I don't want this anymore. I don't want my life defined by the things I'm too afraid to do, and I definitely don't want fear to stand in the way of my faith.

So Saturday morning, I told my friend about this and we decided to pray. She asked Jesus to cast out this spirit of fear and replace it with His spirit and joy. I felt like I was literally breathing in the Holy Spirit, and His presence was palpable. Warm chills, tears in my eyes, and a soft perfect peace permeated the room. Even now my heart is pounding with the memory of it. God didn't just show up - He delivered me from fear.

And in case you're wondering what that fearlessness looks like so far, today I did something I've been afraid to do for years: I invited a friend and her partner to church for Easter. I have always been terrified of witnessing in any way, but this was a wonderful experience and we had a great conversation.

I'm actually looking forward to mountain biking this summer, and I am finally ready to embrace everything God has for me instead of being paralyzed by fear and indecision. Stay tuned...