We’ve all heard the irrational voice of fear in our heads telling us something terrible will happen if we don’t back away. Here’s how God helped me face and conquer the voice of fear
Standing on the Canyon Ledge Speaking to the Voice of Fear
I still can’t believe I did it. I can’t believe that I pushed aside fear and stood on the ledge one-thousand feet off the canyon floor. My feet were six inches or so from the edge. This wasn’t just any ledge; there was no guard rail, nothing in place to keep me from falling, except me. I actually sat down after my initial stand on the ledge, but then I spoke to my fear and told Fear that I had no reason to stay seated.
Fear screamed at me: “YOU’LL FALL! YOU DON’T LIKE HIGH PLACES! YOU FELL FROM THE TRAILER AND YOU’LL FALL TODAY!”
Voices in my head went back and forth until I stood up. They waited. I looked out over the vastness of Canyonlands National Park, and with all of the confidence I could muster, I calmly said out loud to the negative voices and all of creation, “This is my Father’s world.”
The voices were silent. With this declaration, I put straight and into order those who would have me miss this moment in life. I reminded them of who was in charge. This is His world, and standing still on the side of a rock ledge was a moment of worship that would not be denied me.
With a calmness that only comes from the Spirit of God, I turned and walked away from the edge and climbed back up the rock formation behind me to go find Kelly. She was right where I left her, sitting on a rock enjoying a view of the canyon in front of her. The southern end of “Island in the Sky”, part of Canyonlands National Park, afforded me the perfect place to confront fear. Not just any fear, but Fear itself.
Remembering the Day I First Heard the Voice of Fear
In the late 80’s I worked for Best Homes, a place that made prefabricated homes. I worked on
the loading docks and nearly fell twenty feet from the top of an open-top trailer to the concrete floor below. I did fall after having my feet knocked out from underneath me, but I caught the side of the trailer on the way down and scrambled back up over the side to safety inside the trailer. Being up high was never the same.
I had never faced my fear of heights before. I really hadn’t faced many of my fears like this. Standing on the ledge at Canyonlands National park was different. Was it dangerous? Absolutely. Was it foolish? No. Why? I wasn’t going to trip and fall. The wind wasn’t going to blow me off. I wasn’t doing anything that was absent-minded. I was very aware of my surroundings, and didn’t even pull my phone out of my pocket to take a picture. It wasn’t picture time. It was time to make Fear bow before the Creator. This indeed is my Father’s world. That was His ledge I was standing on. I didn’t need to fear where I was standing.
Not acting like a fool one-thousand feet up on a ledge.
Taking Your Stand Against Fear
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13, NIV)
“Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36, NIV)
Is it time to stand? Is it time to finally look Fear in the eye and say “No more.”? Is it the fear of the pandemic? Is it the fear of the unknown? It is the fear of dying from COVID-19? What fear is robbing you of life, joy, and peace? Can you name it? If so, then name that which you fear, and cry out to Jesus to help you to face this particular fear.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” (2 Timothy 1:7, HCBS)
Let’s get real for just a moment. Just between us: me and you, the reader.
REAL WORLD INFO: This is hard.
I’m not kidding. This is hard. Fighting back against fear is one of the hardest things we will ever do. Thankfully, we do not have to fight back against fear on our own, nor with our own power. We can fight back with and in the name of Jesus Christ. His Spirit gives to us strength, unconditional love, and a mind that can function as He designed us. Jesus calmed storms; he can calm your heart and mind.
Sitting down seemed to be safer, and it was. For about ten seconds. Sitting there wasn’t enough. In my mind’s eye, I could see Don Owens walking up to me and saying, “Get up! Stand up! Don’t miss this moment!”
Don’t Let Fear Keep You from God Given Adventures
Let me share some perspective. Standing on the ledge was me living my life. Fear wasn’t going to keep me from standing there and beholding with my own eyes the view of the vastness of Canyonlands National Park. Why? We were created for adventure. Podcast after podcast from John Eldredge and the team at Wild At Heart, have drilled this into me: life is an adventure that is meant to be lived. Fear didn’t want me to experience the adventure. One misstep and it was all over. However, without the steps I took to get to the ledge I never would have experienced the vastness of the canyons. I would have missed this experience. I would have missed gazing, with my mouth hanging open, the wonder of the sight which is nearly impossible to describe.
Was this perilous? Yes.
Was it dangerous? Yes.
Was it worth it? Absolutely. Because God created us to live.
Was I going to fall? No, there was nothing treacherous nor dangerous about walking to where I stood. It wasn’t as though I was free-climbing up the face of El Capitan. I casually and carefully strolled to my spot on the side of the canyon wall.
Let me say this right here: Missteps happen in life. Sometimes we wander off the trail. Other times, we have a mere stumble that causes a misstep. Missteps happen, but to stop moving and give into the fear of making a misstep will cause you to miss life. You will sit down and do nothing because you’re afraid of what might happen. Fearing the outcome is giving more power to fear. The outcome is guaranteed if you do nothing, and in that very moment, fear wins. Fear should never keep us from taking another step. Fear should never keep us from going where God is calling. Fear should not rule our lives.
“The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He renews my life; He leads me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff – they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You amount my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Psalm 23:1-5 HCSB)
Why should we have no fear in living an adventurous life? Because of four words from the preceding passage: “You are with me.” Did you catch that? Every step in life is taken with God right there next to us. Even the missteps.
I wasn’t standing alone on the ledge. God was with me. I don’t go through the hard times of life alone. God is with me. When my enemies try to take me out, God puts out a banquet table for me so that I can sit down, eat, and be refreshed right there in front of the people who are attempting to destroy me. He lets me rest in peace and quiet. He is the author of life, so He is more than able to restore my life.
It’s ok to make sure that you are going on your adventure safely. I recommend it. However, there are times when you have to push the limits. You may have to stand on a ledge and face your fear. Whatever the situation, remember these four words: “You are with me.”
Live life. Be adventurous. Get some family or friends together and find a trail on a state park. Do something you’ve always wanted to do. Live a real and full life. Jesus will be with you.
“A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (John 10:10 The Message)
Overcoming the Voice of Fear Prayer
Pray with me: “Jesus, you have called us to a life that is abundant and free. You made this world as it is for us to explore and enjoy. This is, indeed, our Father’s world. Everything in it was made by you, by the power of your very words, and we thank you for all that you have created. Thank you for standing next to us, and walking beside us every step that we take in this life. We ask for your help in facing the fears that confront us every single day. We claim the promise that You gave us when you told us to not fear because you have ‘overcome the world.’ We rest in your promise, and look forward to the day when you make all things new. ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus.’ In that name above all names we pray, Jesus, amen.”
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Copyright David Shelton 2020. All rights reserved.