Lions & Cheatahs & Bugs (Oh My!)
I have a long, life history of dealing with irrational worries and fears. Back when I was 5 years old, I would worry about things that a little girl should not be concerned about. When I found out that St. Louis, the city I was born and raised in, was set on a pretty big fault line – I just knew I was gonna get swallowed up into the earth’s crust when the big earthquake would finally erupt! I would often wake up at night just trembling with fear about some nightmare I had, which made it difficult to fall back to sleep. To this day, I am still one of those people that has less than pleasant dreams. Jeff has these great adventure-type dreams where he’s the lead character battling against some evil force and he makes heroic moves that end up saving the world. Me? Mine are more like: I am running from a super scary half man/half monster that wants to rip my legs off and floss his teeth with them. I am running as fast as I can when suddenly, I fall down and wake up just as the monster’s drool hits my arm and I am screaming for my life. You could psychoanalyze me to figure out why I have battle fear more than others, but regardless of its origin, I deal with it on a daily basis and it stinks.
My fears have surely been my nemesis. But ironically, battling my irrational fears have actually been the catalyst of me not living a boring life. I guess you could say that I have courage, as it is fueled by my refusal to allow fear from keeping me from the life that God has intended. It may surprise you that I do things that many fear – I am a public speaker, I’ve bungy jumped, I scuba dive and I would actually skydive if given the opportunity. I am always doing things regardless of the fear that lies ahead of me. You know, there are tons of Biblical scripture that talk about fear – and I use them often, along with prayer – to tackle life’s challenges. My favorite one is Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
When Jeff approached me about the idea of climbing Kilamanjaro, I told him I would think about it. Little did he know that I already had my answer in my mind (no!), but wanted more time to elapse before sounding too close-minded. But what I didn’t realize was that the wait of my not fully answering Jeff allowed for my heart to change. As I was running one morning, I thought, “You know, this trip to Africa and climbing Kili could actually be a spiritual quest that will help put fear in its place once and for all.” [I believe that God gave me that thought.] I came to the realization that this will be a good time for God and I to do some serious business so I can continue to mature spiritually for myself and others around me. Someone like me loves the modern conveniences of living where we do in suburbia – the comfort of my home, the short treks to stores that carry daily necessities and the security of knowing that God forbid something happened, there is an emergency room and hospital just one mile from my home. In Africa, and I will be forced to draw my security from God only. Gone are many of the modern conveniences that I (falsely) find much of my security in. There we will be, high up, a world away from home and far away from most people. It’s so good to know that there is no place in the world where God is not. God is, and will be in Africa with us in August.
So yes, there are lions and cheetahs and bugs – oh my. And many other dangers like high altitude sickness, malaria and all kinds of unknowns. But I am sick of being dominated by worry of the “what if’s.” This is my way of facing them head on! I turned 40 years old this year, and I have too many real-life adventures to enjoy with my husband, children and friends.
There are too many people that are controlled by fear and worry. Surely you don’t have to travel to Africa to prove your fight like me, but have you ever thought about the things you would do without them? You may actually conquer the world. 🙂