It was mid October, and we had been gifted a beautiful fall afternoon. In celebration of my son’s birthday, we loaded up the car and made our way to an amusement park. I had decided that, when it came to riding the roller coasters, I would observe from the safety of the sideline.
We arrived at the park to find that we had chosen one of the busiest days of the year. This meant that the wait to ride most rides would be about an hour long. If I were to stand on the sidelines, I would miss the fun we could have together while waiting in line. I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to face my fear of roller coasters.
We finally made it through our first line. The rest of the group got on the ride before Brian and I, so we were able to stand back and watch the excitement. Then came our turn. My children anxiously waited and watched on the other side of the ride, wondering how I would do. I walked over to a row of seats and sat in one of the middle chairs. Down clanged the shoulder attachment that secures you into the seat.
The ride began…
When Did I Stop Enjoying Roller Coasters?
It was June 1990 when a fear I’d never known entered my heart. The second I saw my newborn daughter, I became overwhelmed with the weight of responsibility I held in my arms. The combination of all of the things I didn’t want to do or be as a mom, and all the things I did want to do or be as a mom, was what began to motivate much of what I did. The safety and protection of my babies became my first priority, and was what directed most of what I did for the next few years.
The moment that fear entered my heart, my normally carefree, adventure loving, people loving self went somewhere to hide. Who I had become, and who I used to be, could not coexist.
Although my desires were good ones, I thought that I was the one who could control our little world. This eventually led me down the road of legalism, although it was a short stay. I am so grateful that the Lord mercifully showed me that a life lived, motivated by fear, was not His way of doing things. He graciously worked in my heart and opened my eyes to how He wanted me to live.
Five Life Transforming Lessons That Changed Fear Into Faith:
1. God wants me to live my life focused on the Gospel, finding my hope and security in Him alone. “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.” Psalm 62:1
2. God wants to me to remember that it is up to Him to accomplish every good thing He has planned for my children, our family, and in me. “The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your loving kindness, O LORD, is everlasting…” Psalm 138:8
3. God wants me to relinquish my control, and to choose to walk in faith, not in fear. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
4. God wants me to find peace, to trust Him, to enjoy life and being a mom, and to allow Him to guide me in the right direction as I seek Him for wisdom, trusting the promise found in Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
5. God assures me that my past, the way I was brought up, or any potentially negative traits that may be found in my family history does not have to define me. God desires that He be exalted in and through our family, and He will do a new thing if we choose to seek Him. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19
The Roller Coaster Ride – Continued
…I tried to remain calm as we began the first climb. Slowly. The anticipation grew. I found I was able to mentally control my anxiety by focusing on the truth that those who had designed the ride designed it to be enjoyed with safety. We reached the top of the hill and I shut my eyes. The train was thrown into a sudden and rapid descent, the gush of wind pushed my head against the seat. I mentally let go…and allowed the ride take over. Right. Left. Up. Down. Upside down. Fears gone, I was free to enjoy the intoxicating, invigorating. suspenseful, experience called a roller coaster ride!
God has taught me that if I take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Cor.10:5), He will enable me replace anxiety with truth (Philippians 4:8), and remember that He who created me is faithful and able to do more than I can imagine. In me. In my children. In my family. (1 Thessalonians 5:24; Ephesians 3:20) The exhausting weight of fear was sucking the life out of my family. Learning to walk in the cool shade of God’s grace breathed life into my heart, and into our family.
Exhilarating. Breathtaking. Inspiring.