Once in a while you’re blessed with a relationship like mine with my good friend Stephanie. She’s one of those girls who, before you really get to know her, you think “That woman cannot possibly be that nice.” I mean, she’s just so sweet and seems to be incredibly perfect. Then you finally get to know the real her, and you learn that she is in fact that nice. She’s not, however, so incredibly perfect. Quite honestly, she is rather imperfect and knows for herself just how imperfect that she truly is. That’s the beauty of a friend like Stephanie. She’s unafraid to be herself, and she makes it very comfortable for others to be so “real.”
Before Stephanie and I tell each other something really personal and potentially embarrassing, we sometimes preface by saying, “I’m about to be really open and honest…” and that’s our signal for If you repeat this to anyone, I’ll just die! So, dear reader, I’m about to be really open and honest when I tell you this….
For the last six months, I have been going to a Pilates exercise class. Most of the exercises are performed on the floor doing sit-ups and crunches, etc. On the first night of the class, I was a little anxious and fearful, wondering if I could do the workout or if it would be too difficult. Am I too out of shape? What if the girls in the class are skinny little college girls wearing skimpy outfits?
I managed to push those fears aside, said a little prayer, held my head up high and waltzed myself right into that class. After a few weeks, I was feeling fairly good about myself. My clothes were fitting better, I had more energy, I found that all the ladies in the class were so nice, and I found that I was really beginning to enjoy the Pilates class.
Then, probably one of the most embarrassing moments of my life happened. I B-bopped into Pilates one night and noticed, to my horror, the instructor had brought in a bunch of huge plastic exercise balls. Now, I had seen those balls advertised on TV. I knew we would not be tossing the balls, but that we would be sitting on them, balancing on them, or lying on them. A wave of fear swept over me. I said to myself, “I am not getting on that ball.” I just knew that I would fall off and break my neck! Something told me “Run! Go home before this class gets started! Run fast!”
I was on to it. I’ve wrestled with Fear for a long time, and I am to the place in life where I can spot it a mile away.
So, I rose up against Fear and expressed a sassy “NO!” I chose a big, bright blue, shiny ball for myself, held my head up high, said a little prayer, and waltzed myself right up to the front row.
The class began. We balanced and we bounced. I believe everyone in the class had at least one close call with falling off the ball, but by the time we were halfway through the class there were no casualties. No one, including myself, had fallen off the ball.
There I was, sitting on the ball, just starting to walk my feet out like the instructor instructed us to do so that my back was stretched over the ball. Then it happened. Time began to stand still as I heard a very loud POP, and I knew there must have been a drive-by shooting in the studio. As my rear-end hit the floor, I just knew that the victim of the drive-by shooting was ME! To my horror, I realized there was no drive by shooting! The truth was that my big, bright blue, shiny ball had popped like a balloon right out from under me!
The great thing is that I lived to tell about it! I did not die of embarrassment. In fact, we all had a hearty laugh, and the other ladies were amazed by the elegance and grace with which I hit the floor! They all scored me a Perfect 10 on the stunt, and then we finished the class. The very thing that I was so afraid of brought a great moment of pleasure to my life!
Fear. Some people are paralyzed by Fear. Some people defeat Fear when they turn 30. Some conquer fear when they turn 40. Others battle Fear until they are 50 or 60. Sadly, more than a few take Fear with them to the grave. You, dear Christian, are not destined to live with Fear.
I dare you to live, truly live, with the direct opposite of Fear. Live not simply with courage, but with absolute Trust. Trust is the antagonist and utter conqueror of Fear. To live in complete freedom from fear can be a reality for you.
We know that God’s perfect love casts out all fear. When you trust in His love for you, you will not be paralyzed by fear even in the bleakest of situations. Trust God’s love for you. Trust that He is working to help you be all He created you to be. Trust that God can do more that you can ask or imagine. Trust that He is concerned with your life day-in and day-out!
If you have a dream worth achieving but are afraid to try, please just Go For It! Do It! Now obviously, don’t disobey the law, don’t ignore the things that Scripture overtly prohibits or commands us to do, and don’t do things that can hurt you or other people. But do fun things! Travel! Meet all kinds of people and have all kinds of friends! Take educated, prayerful risks!
Sometimes you might find yourself landing flat on your rear end, but you’ll survive. In fact, you will do more than survive: you will literally thrive as a Christian because you came face-to-face with fear by canceling it out with absolute trust.
What ever happened to my gal Stephanie, you ask? She’s moved to another state now, so we don’t see each other as often as I wish that we could. The last time I spoke with her she was really open and honest about the goings-on in her life, so perhaps it’s best if I just leave it at that. I can assure you, though, that she’s Trusting God, unafraid and with all her might, and I’m anxiously waiting to see just where she lands!