Pastor’s Pen: That flipping fear

As I stood there watching I wanted to join in, but would fear keep me from entering the arena?

We had all paid for the same experience, but I wasn’t using its full potential. I stood off to the side and watched as the teens flipped, jumped and had fun at the trampoline park. They were having a blast. I enjoyed watching them but part of me wanted to join in.

Another part feared looking foolish in front of all these people and reminded me of the potential for my knee to go out of place. I was content to stand back and observe, that is, until several teens continued to prod until I reluctantly gave in. I went up to the trampoline fearing how dumb I would look. I didn’t disappoint. I just about lost my balance from the start. It would have made quite the humorous YouTube video or some strange meme on Facebook. I felt stupid, and yet a little more determined to figure this thing out.

One reason I wanted to get onto these trampolines was that I’ve always been impressed by people who could do flips and I wanted to do one myself. The teens encouraged me in that as well. My first attempt looked like a flailing cat falling out of a tree – not very impressive at all. I tried again and failed... I tried again and failed... I continued to try and continued to fail. It looked hopeless.

But then Zandrea, one of our teens, helped me out. She would watch my foolish attempts to flip and let me know what I was doing wrong and how to fix it. Since she could do flips, I listened. After about my fifteenth try, I did my first ever front flip! It was exciting and I ran around the building telling everyone I could find, whether they cared or not. It was quite an accomplishment.

The fact is that if I had given into my fear of what other people think I would never have looked foolish, I would have never have tried to flip and I never would have done a flip. I would have always wondered what could have been. We do this same thing in our spiritual lives. We are afraid to let go of what we have and what makes us comfortable. We don’t want to step out in faith and follow God into the unknown because we don’t know what will happen. What if people laugh at us? What if we fail? What if we end up in an unsafe place?

But why do we fear? Psalm 118:6 tells us “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

Think of the Israelites crossing the Jordan. Who knew what would happen when the priest’s feet hit the water? What laughter must have been heard in Jericho when they marched around the walls! Yet they followed God and God saw them through. Think of the apostles when they were thrown in jail and told to no longer preach of Christ. Did they respond with fear? Not fear of men. They said this: “We must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29).

When I choose to follow God in spite of my fear it doesn’t mean there won’t be laughter, failure or difficult times. It means that, just as I trusted Zandrea while I looked foolish trying to flip, I trust God through those difficult times when I may look foolish and continue to follow His lead.

Who or what do you fear? Don’t allow your fear to keep you from following God into the unknown.