Terrified: facing your fears
Terrified: a fear of heights
I’m not one to give in to fears and anxieties very often (my weakness is usually about what people think rather than doing something new). I am the type to dig down to uncover what it is I’m afraid of, why I’m afraid of it and where it roots from. But this week I was terrified and I didn’t know why.
Heights seem to give me a physical reaction that I have less control over. Like my mind is saying I’ll be ok, I’m ok, IT’S OK!! But my body is shaking, my heart pounding and my hands sweating.
While on vacation we took a cable car up a mountain and then hiked up the rest to the top. The cable car surprised me. I went from admiring the views to eyes closed, rocking in the corner (though I couldn’t actually sit in the corner because it would shift the weight balance!).
I was telling everyone to “STOP leaning on the sides and SIT DOWN! Mummy is struggling with this!”
My head began to spin and my body was ready to fly out. But once we landed I was fine …what just happened?
We hiked (getting some funny looks at 8 months pregnant!) up the rest and at the top there was a steep and rickety tower...all sides and steps were open. No walls just a frame! What were they thinking?!
The kids and my husband went to the top and then I thought I’d have a go.
No big deal. Right?!
I got one floor up before my legs started shaking and my hands began to sweat. I got to the second floor and Nic ran up to take a photo with me just before I thought I was going to faint and die!! I may be smiling but this is me absolutely bricking it! 💩
What are you afraid of?
I have had physical reactions to fears before but I can always work out why and see where my thinking has taken over. In the moment I couldn’t think of why. Surely it was logical to not want to plummet to my death, but was this the thing I was actually afraid of? Was it just falling? Why couldn’t I just enjoy the view?
I couldn’t think of why… it felt too silly. I had to jump to think of How. How was I going to get down?! How was I going to handle this? How was I going to respond?
How do we respond to fear?
Can you track the physical clues that something is off balance in your mind?
Can you track back to the root of what causes or triggers it?
Sometimes we have to pause the why and jump to the how, what next…
I realised when I felt secure and safe (holding on to my husband as he helped me climb back down) I was able to consider my why. Sometimes we just need to feel safe before we start digging into understanding why we do and say things and react the way we do.
How do your kids respond when they’re afraid?
And when they’re afraid how do we respond to them?
Do we say, “No big deal, stop being a baby, toughen up, don’t cry, you’re OK....”?
Do we see their fears as little, because they are little?
Even though if it was us on the tightrope, the tower, the edge of a new school, or about to sit an exam, our emotions would feel just as big. So what would we need?
The Bible says perfect love casts out fear.
I want to reflect the way Jesus handles fear. He doesn’t invite it in, he pushes it out.
He pushes fear away, and he ushers in love, pours in love, saturates fear in love.
Do we do the same?
Do we go to the God of Love when we are afraid?
Do we reflect him with our kids when they’re scared?
I can tell myself, or my kids, ‘til I’m blue in the face that, “It’s gonna be OK” but what I really need is the safety of being loved. I needed to remind myself that God loves me, he’s with me, he’s holding me, HE IS OK even when I’m not. And it’s OK for me not to be. I can be terrified and bricking it while held in him.
“Faith over fear” is not about having faith you’ll be OK, it’s about having faith in God who is steady when you’re not. Having faith in His LOVE that is strong enough to hold you up.
They need to learn the same truth.
We can introduce our kids to God’s love and usher them in to his presence. This is our most important job as parents, to bring them to Jesus - the One who defeated fear and darkness on the cross and comes to live in us to give us the same victory as conquerors!
We can model going to him with our fear, bringing all our feelings to him.
We can model receiving his love in exchange.
And then from this place of our hearts being safe, we can enter into the Why’s.
We can afford to dig deeper when we trust the One who’s holding us all together.
My hope is that the more I do things that frighten me, the more I lean into his love and take risks, the longer I’ll be able to stand to admire the views… without shaking. The longer I’ll be able to stand in the face of my fears and anxieties. Because I’ll know whose standing beside me, whose life is in me, whose LOVE is big enough to cast out fear.
Standing in the face of my Saviour, enables me to stand in the face of my fears.
What about you?
My prayer today is that you’d lean in to God and his invitation for MORE of his love. I pray the God of Love saturates you so that even when you’re terrified and bricking it, you know he’s closer than ever. I pray for your kids that they’d meet his great love through you this week, as you reflect his gentleness and encouragement and victory.
Keep standing friends. The view is about to get better!