Fear of heights

Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37)

Last Saturday, was like any ordinary day. I planned to attend an outdoor recreation event for some summer students and faculty. However, my daughter would be home alone so I decided to bring her along. We planned to have fun but I had no idea about the exciting adventures ahead of us that day.

When we arrived, we checked in and joined the participants in various fun games —maze, blindfold and balancing activities. Each game or activity was followed by a debriefing period where we identified the objective (s) of the activity. I was glad to hear participants share their perspectives on the activities as some of what was shared reinforced the discussion I had with my daughter on Friday night about managing her responses better when things don’t go as expected. I thought, only the Lord could have planned it this way for my daughter to get practical illustrations of what we discussed the night before.

Little did I know that my turn was coming! I too would soon get a practical lesson on trust and letting go. With the Lord’s help, I did something that I thought was impossible — I overcame my fear of heights.

I think the program instructors saved the best for last. They led us to a giant structure told us that we were going zip lining. I took one look at the whole thing and immediately said to myself, “no way am I getting on that contraption.” I am afraid of heights. However as the instructor passed out helmets and harnesses, I knew I had to make a decision. Was I going to give in to my fear of heights or was I going to overcome it? I reminded myself over and over, “You are afraid of heights.”  Thankfully, the Lord brought to mind an incident that happened when we went on a family vacation with my mom to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. We went on the 18-Storey Spaceship Earth ride in EPCOT. When we got to the top, it turned pitch black just before the ride started it’s descent. My mom thought something was wrong with the ride. She was afraid; she prayed Psalm 23 aloud in Yoruba. I could not convince her that we were not in danger even after we got off that ride. In a fearful situation, my mom chose to anchor herself in God. I had a choice either to follow her example or chicken out and give in to my fear.

I said a silent prayer, “Lord you got me! Help me overcome this fear,” then I settled in my heart that I would give zip lining a shot.

I got a helmet and harness. I braced myself to face my fear of heights head on. As I watched the students climb up the rope to the platform and then zip line, I prayed hard, “Lord you got me, help me overcome this fear”. Several students who reached the platform and then went on the zip line, they let go, arms outstretched, and just made happy noises. You could tell they were excited.

At last, it was our turn. My partner was a lady who was also afraid of heights. She and I decided we would go last. We climbed the rope netting to the top platform. It was not as bad as I imagined. When we got on the platform, the instructor could tell that my partner and I were afraid. He tried to ease our fears by sharing his experience in the military and telling us that the cable could hold up to 2,600 pounds. He secured our harness to the cable and announced, ready when you are. For a moment I froze, I did not want to get off the platform into thin air. Gently, I heard the Lord whisper in my heart, “ Trust me”..…..I closed my eyes, repeated my prayer, “Lord you got me, help me overcome this fear” then I counted one, two three and stepped off ……. From the corner of my eye, I could see my partner, slowly let go.

Once I was in the air, I thanked the Lord for his help to do this. Towards the end I caught myself relaxing and enjoying the ride.

When it was over, I felt a great relief and satisfaction. I could not believe I did it. My daughter and I had a lot of fun. We also got practical illustrations of important life principles.  Through this experience, God showed me what is possible if I let go of my fears and trust Him and His promises.

How about you? Do you have any fears? What fears do you need to let go off and trust God with?

Thank you, Lord, for helping me overcome my fear of heights. Thank you for the reminder that nothing is impossible with you if we trust you. Amen!

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