It snowed every day while we were in Germany. It was snow globe snow. It was light and fine and filled with air. Cold air. Every day, as H and I walked around this city or that, I thought my cheeks were going to freeze into small, round blocks of ice, then slide right down the front of my coat, and onto the sidewalk at my feet. It was as if someone had stored a damp piece of velvety moss in their freezer overnight and then laid it across my face.
It was great. It was.
I’ve watched people on television and in the movies do things I thought were ridiculous. They’d get themselves in tough situations while my heart pounded as I watched them from my couch. They’d come to within an inch of their lives (based on the impression the editors gave) and then say something like, “Wow! I love it! This is awesome! I feel so alive!”
My response? “More power to you, Buddy! I’m feeling quite alive enough, right here on my couch, thank you very much,” as I reach for another handful of popcorn.
So, now you’re probably saying something like, “Hey! Aren’t you the one who jumped out of a perfectly good airplane!?!? THAT seems pretty ridiculous to me!”
But…everyone’s got their stuff, you know? And, jumping out of an airplane doesn’t cure one person of all her stuff.
I was afraid the cold air in Germany was going to turn me into a wimpy, whiney, diva — complaining that my feet were numb, or my lips were chapped, or my fingers were frozen to the shutter on my camera. I was afraid we’d get lost and have to spend the night out in the elements, surviving on the tangerine and yogourt I’d stuffed in my bag from breakfast two mornings before. I was afraid I’d get all confused by the language and say the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time.
Well, it was cold, and we got lost (often), and I said the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time. And here I am; safe and sound anyway. I’m not saying there weren’t any diva moments. Nor am I saying that I’m the only diva in the family. What I am saying is that every single moment of discomfort, fear, anxiety, and confusion was overshadowed by the thrill of actually pressing on and making it to our destination.
Fear is persistent. Unrelenting. Just when you think you’ve got it licked, there it is again — talking smack and looking down its nose at you. Fear is a bully, filled with hot air and banging on pots and pans so you can’t hear yourself think.
Most of the time, you can squash fear if you stand tall, put your hands on your hips, stare fear in the face and say, “Boo!” Often, that’s enough to send fear scampering back into the forest. Sometimes, you need a friend to stand with you because when you say “Boo!” by yourself, your voice gets quavery and your palms start to sweat. Sometimes, you need someone like a counselor, or a minister, or a spiritual advisor to help you find your voice. And guess what? Fear knows it. Fear will use its best bully voice to convince you not to say “Boo!” Fear will convince you there’s no friend you can trust enough to ask them say “Boo!” with you. Fear will tell you only losers go to counseling.
Don’t believe it.
And don’t think this means you need to go jumping out of airplanes or traveling to Germany to face your fears. We’ve all got our own stuff. Fear’s job is to make us think our stuff is too big for God to handle. Fear’s responsibility is to keep us on the couch, getting popcorn kernels stuck in our teeth. Fear’s objective is to keep us safe in our comfort zone instead of changing the world.
Only you know for sure what all of this means for you. Maybe jumping from an airplane will help. Maybe not. But don’t let fear fool you into thinking your dream is too big or too ridiculous or too crazy for God.
So, today I’d like to pray for you, if that’s okay. I know these words I’ve written are just words, and that overcoming fear is often more than a notion. I know it takes courage and strength to say “Boo!” and I know that sometimes we just don’t have any of that. So, if you’re willing, can we pray for each other? Because here’s the thing — and maybe you won’t believe me right away, but — you were born to change the world. We all were. We are the famous people, the smart people, the rich people, the beautiful people, the strong people, the powerful people. All of us. We are because God loves us, and fear doesn’t come from God. Would you share in the comments, and let us know how fear is keeping you on the couch? And then, would you please say a prayer for the person who leaves a comment before you? Let’s stand together and say “Boo!”