Fear stops me from experiencing really great things. Of course I don’t really know that the things I’m not experiencing are great because I’m too afraid to try them! But if (er…when?) I try them I realize that I’ve been missing out!
I’ve realized this twice now in the past few months and it makes me wonder what else I’m not doing out of fear. What fun am I missing? What joys? What excitement?
For example, my fear of sleeping in a tent ended this summer and I’m so glad it did because I got to have the most amazing weekend. And the funny thing – it wasn’t really that scary! (Of course they didn’t tell me until the second day that there were lots of snakes around. But I was praying and God answered and I didn’t see not even one! )
So yesterday I agreed to tackle another fear. One that I have been pushing aside for at least 3 years now. Many (MANY!!!) of my friends have, over the years, asked me to go to Bikram Yoga with them. In case you’re unfamiliar that’s the kind where you’re in a steaming hot room for 90 minutes doing crazy stretches that your body was, oddly enough, made to do!
Yesterday I finally just said yes! Then I tried to get out of it about 5 hours later but I was held to it and I’m so thankful I was. It was truly a.ma.zing. Of course now I’m kicking myself wishing I’d gone the first time I was asked but alas, I’m a slow learner.
I want to go to one more session before I do a post fully explaining it. I think people should know what it’s like the second you walk in because that was one of my fears. But I need a bit more time for that. Today, it’s about the fear.
Over the weekend a friend and I were talking about fear being the root of our pride. It’s certainly true for me. I was afraid to sleep in a tent because I didn’t know if I was a good camping person or not and if I wasn’t? Well, what would people think. What if I didn’t pack the right stuff or set up the tent right or couldn’t sleep in such close quarters. This really boiled down to a fear of man. A what-will-people-think-of-me mentality.
Same thing with the yoga. Sure I could brush it off with, I’m just too busy or I don’t handle heat well (lies! LIES!!) but the truth of it was that I was afraid. I was afraid that I wouldn’t fit in. That everyone would be looking at me as I was doing it wrong and that they’d judge. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to handle the heat and I’d have to leave in the middle and look like a total doofus. I was worried that I didn’t have the right clothes or mat or water bottle. My pride. Wanting others to think well of me. My fear. What they really would think.
Fear of what others might think of me was keeping me from experiencing really good things. How often do I tell my children ‘not to worry about it. Just go. Play soccer. Do your best!’ Meanwhile I have shown them by my actions that I’m worrying about it. Now, in turn, they are too.
I see now that I was filling my mind with a lie. I needed to replace that lie with a truth. The truth I needed?
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
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?
I remember hearing a great example years ago. It talked of the picture of God as a Lion and if we believe that to be true then the people around us are all little kitty cats. Are we really going to be afraid of the little kitties batting there paws at us? Or will we look to and behold the Lion!
Proverbs 19:23a says, “The fear of the Lord leads to life.” and that’s the kind of life I want!