I’m afraid of heights.
Not roller coasters or airplanes, but heights that appear to offer no protection.
Like those jungle courses at parks, or ziplines.
Or in this case, a rock.
Morro rock rests in California, rising hundreds of feet above the mountains.
Daddy remembered climbing it as a child, so during our recent trip to CA, he wanted to do it again.
First word of advice: NEVER look up pictures of the situation you’re fearing. It seldom helps to assure you.
Second word of advice: Meltdowns are allowed, but they really don’t help.
After these pictures embedded themselves in my mind, NOTHING could change my decision to stay as far away from the rock as I could.
Yet, the entire time at the conference, the battle raged. You’re going to let FEAR overcome you? You’re not going to even try?
I’m a writer, so during these times, I write.
(Excerpts from my journal during the conference:)
As I write this, I’m sitting in a white gazebo, brightly colored flowers bordering the circle.
A beautiful water fountain rests just a few feet away and the sound is soothing.
I’m at Biola University, getting ready for a writer’s conference.
I don’t know anyone yet. The unknown is all around me. But somehow, I’m not afraid. Cautious? Uncertain? Yes. But not fearful.
Why? Because I know that God is with me.
Would He not be with me when I climb the rock?
So why the terror?
I like to think that common sense has a little to do with it. The rock isn’t exactly the safest place on the planet.
Two days ago, I declared I wasn’t going.
So why the debate now? Why not just go with my original plan?
Because I don’t let anything control me. (note that I said “thing” not person!)
I don’t let feelings control me. I don’t let food control me. I don’t let electronics or social media or books (okay, that one’s debatable) or entertainment rule my life.
And I certainly don’t let fear control me.
So why not just climb the rock?
Because this is the beast. For once, the object of my fear is bigger then me.
I don’t know my decision yet, but I know what I need to do.
If only the right way was the easy way, but then again, that wouldn’t be life.
I’m sitting here, waiting for an appointment with a faculty member. I still haven’t decided upon climbing the rock.
Though, I did make a deal with Daddy. I told him that if he drank Boba tea, that I’d climb the rock. But, only because I’m pretty sure I’m safe in that regard, ha!
Is it ever okay to give in to fear? Is it ever okay to say “no”?
I climbed the mountain.
The last day of the conference, I constantly heard words like “courage” and “facing your fears.”Although they might have been geared towards writing, they might as well have spelled out my entire battle. They spoke directly to me.
I remembered scriptures like Psalm 118:6, Isaiah 12:2, and 2 Timothy 1:7.
But it wasn’t until the evening before the last day that I finally started to make up my mind.
It was through the words of the inscriptions (on some pretty amazing books, I should add!) that gave me the courage to say “yes.”
“Follow your adventure! Never fear jumping into the unknown to discover where God is leading you.”
“…. Aleigha, I hope, like Sarah, you find your courage.”
I’m not usually one to read those Facebook post anniversary things. But for some reason I did.
It was a quote I had shared a year ago to that day.
“Most people are waiting for the mountains to be removed, when what they really need is the courage to climb them."
Did I need anymore convincing after that? Um, nope.
Was I still scared? Yes, a bit. But I kept my eyes on the path, I didn’t look down. And, I made myself NOT think about how high up we were.
If I had let fear rule my decision, I would have missed out on the brilliant beauty of those mountains. But because I faced my fear, I was rewarded with a sight that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
Are you fearing something in life? Is it suffocating you, like it was me? Let it go. God's bigger than that. Fear doesn’t define you, and it certainly doesn’t have to rule you.
If I can face my fear, you can face yours.
Have you faced a certain fear recently? Even something small? Let me know about it in the comments so we can celebrate together!
And until next week, friends, keep letting your lights shine.