An Honest Journey
I Chose Fear Over Faith

I Chose Fear Over Faith

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18

Our family recently returned from a much-needed restful and fun vacation to the Smoky Mountains. During our visit, we decided to check out the Gatlinburg SkyPark, which maintains North America’s longest pedestrian cable bridge. To reach this bridge, we needed to take a chair lift up the mountainside.

Having ridden many roller coasters in my lifetime, I figured this was not a big deal. I’ve never been downhill skiing, but from the ground, this chair lift didn’t look much different than scaling the climb in a rollercoaster car.

But boy, was I wrong!

Since the lift seats were limited to 3 people, my husband and son rode up together, and my daughter and I sat together in a separate seat behind them. When it was our turn to sit on the moving seat, I realized how exposed we were. Our feet dangled down to the streets and river below us, as we slowly began scaling the side of the mountain.

As I looked down, I realized the large gap between the metal bars and my thighs. I also noticed the large space separating my daughter’s side of the seat from mine. It was a larger gap than I expected, and I quickly recognized most people could easily slip out of this lift, especially a child. This was a different set-up than a roller coaster car and seemed much less secure (at least in my mind).

I couldn’t look down or up any longer as fear gripped my body. Laughing, I hoped to relieve some of my anxious nerves by admitting my fears aloud,

“Mommy’s a bit scared,” I shared with my five-year-old, who was happily smiling and looking around. I continued to clutch the bar in front of me and the back of her seat trying to look out to the side, rather than straight up or down.

“Do you want to hold my hand, mommy?”

I chuckled and grinned at the thoughtfulness of my daughter’s request, but I couldn’t move. I thanked her for her considerate offer though.

As I looked at the seat in front of us, my husband and son were happily having a conversation and seemed to be at ease. Apparently, I was the only one afraid of heights and nervous about slipping out the bottom of our lift chairs.

Thankfully, by the time we reached the top of the mountain, I was at ease. From there, I had no problem walking the SkyBridge or taking the lift back down. And I found the whole experience rather enjoyable, not to mention the views were spectacular.

Ironically, or not, the word “fear” was in my mind long before I sat on that chair lift. Back at home, I was drawn to reflect on 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Two words stood out as I recited this verse repeatedly, “fear” and “punishment”.

While fear can be helpful to steer us away from danger (or help us to recognize it- like scaling a mountain in a chair lift), it can also be used against us to prevent us from living a full life in Christ.

How many fear-based decisions have I made in the last year?

I soon realized far too many of my decisions were dictated by the fear of “punishment” from others- feeling left out, unaccepted, alone, misunderstood, or not worthy of love. I also made decisions out of fear of the future. I was afraid of “punishment” for making a “wrong decision.”

While fear in the flesh is completely normal, what I failed to do was direct my fears back to the Lord. The Lord’s perfect love casts out all fear, reminding us of His infinite love, grace, and mercy through Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, I internalized many of these fears and looked to the world to steer my decisions. I sought out validation from others, or I took the “safe route” rather than choose to seek God for direction. Instead of praying and asking others to pray over decisions in my life, I made decisions out of fear that only pushed me into more stress and anxiety.

Thankfully, my breaking point wasn’t a nervous breakdown, but rather the vacation that brought fear to the forefront of my mind. It was stepping away from the daily grind that allowed space for me to listen and be directed by the Holy Spirit to stop and reflect on how I was living.

When I returned from our family trip, my husband and I had some serious conversations about what was best for me and our family moving forward. I prayed and asked friends to pray over me as I looked for guidance on how to use my time, energy, and God-given talents.

God’s peace resonated louder in my heart and mind than the fear of others or my future.

I feel emboldened to share that after this school year, I won’t be tutoring anymore. I will solely be focused on writing for my blog and focusing on my book. While I dearly love my students, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to work remotely, I know God is directing me to step out in faith and focus on my writing moving forward. This last school year, I felt compelled to use my education degree the “right way” and to contribute financially to our home, but I know in this time and place God is directing me elsewhere. I’m choosing to respond out of obedience, trust, and faith in Him to pursue what’s been in my heart since I was five years old.

My dream is to be the best homemaker, wife, mother, and writer that I can be. There’s beauty in prioritizing the people I’m called to care for and the home God has blessed us with, and to have the privilege to write and share the truth of Christ with those who are exposed to this blog. I love spending quality time with my family and making sure our home is in order. I love studying and reflecting on God’s Word and applying it to my life, and sharing it with the world through this blog.

I do not write these things to look for validation or to justify my decision, but I hope that by writing this, it will inspire others to reflect on what, or rather Who you are living for. We are to live by faith and not fear.

I know this decision means our family will continue to live a simpler lifestyle, but I’m thankful and happy for our simple life. There is more to life than money and stuff, and I’m already recognizing how many things our family has to be thankful for. I’m grateful to have a husband who supports me in this decision and can provide for our family so that I can make this choice. And while there is much unknown ahead, and probably some more fears too, I will continue to bring my fears to the Lord and put my hope and trust in Him.

Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Photo by Mario Azzi on Unsplash

9 thoughts on “I Chose Fear Over Faith

    • Author gravatar

      Your newsletter really blessed me with it’s transparency and encouragement to not make decisions or respond to others from a place of fear. Thank you! I am excited about you focusing on writing and homemaking during the next season of your life!

      • Author gravatar

        Thank you, Rachel! God is definitely at work, as I keep coming across faith over fear podcasts, blog posts, and encouragement from other readers. I’m glad this post was encouraging to you, and thank you for your encouragement.

        “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you are doing.” -1 Thess. 5:11

    • Author gravatar

      Great post Amber! So many great nuggets to take from it. I’m happy that you are stepping out in obedience to the Lord, even if it means there may be some belt tightening ahead. I can tell you from personal experience that it’s worth it! When my wife and I were first married we made the decision to live off of my income alone so she could be a full time mom. I’ll admit that at times it was discouraging seeing the neighbors with their boats, 4 wheelers, and other “toys” while we plodded along just doing our best. I’ve never regretted that decision however, because we have one of the most amazing family connections of anyone I know. God is faithful, so just watch and see how He will provide for your family!

      • Author gravatar

        Thank you for that insight and encouragement, Ron. I do feel pressure from others to “get back in the work force” and then there’s inflation, but I need to trust the Lord. Honestly, it was such a relief to make that decision, but i know it will be tough at times. I appreciate the encouragement. God bless you and your family this Holy Week!

    • Author gravatar

      Great post my friend! Very encouraging and inspiring and I pray that you be blessed in all of your future endeavors. Blessings and Peace!

    • Author gravatar

      I am so glad that although it is often not easy, you have been able to push aside fears to trust in God and do as he leads you.

      Yes, sometimes it seems convenient to have more money but we are better off doing the will of God and being satisfied in his provision.

      I’m glad your husband supported your decision, as you are doing as you feel the Lord is leading you to do, rather than overworking yourself out of fear and to have more money. I’m glad your husband is a good provider.

      By the way, roller coasters are my favorite! 🙂

    • Author gravatar

      I wish you much success w/ your decision, and w/ your writing. I am sure God will support you in this.

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