When I was much younger, I did not know how to swim. Actually, if truth were told, I did not want to try. I was afraid of the water. I just knew if I let go of the edge, I would drown. When I was eleven years old, my mother married again to a rather interesting man who did not know much about raising children. He came from a rather harsh school of life himself, so I suspect it is not surprising that he treated us the same way he had been treated.
One afternoon, we were visiting my grandmother in California and swimming in the pool at her apartment. Mike decided that I needed to learn to swim and promptly picked me up and threw me into the middle of the deep end. I was terrified! I was crying! I was a mess!
He stood at the end of the pool with his arms folded and told me that I had better learn to swim because he was not going to come in a get me. So, I dog paddled furiously, bearly treading water, and made my way (finally) to the edge of the pool. I think I swallowed most of the water in there, and I know it made my stomach hurt later on in the day. But I did swim! I actually made it to the edge. Along with lots of tears, there was born in my young mind a great feeling of pride and satisfaction that I could really do it. I could work around my fear and succeed.
It was one of the best lessons I have ever learned.
We all have things in life that scare us. Sometimes, it is something that actually happens to us or those we love. Sometimes it is our own fears of what might happen. Being afraid is part of our human nature. But with this experienced, I also learned that being afraid does not have to keep us from learning and growing. It does not have to hold us back.
Anciently, the Lord spoke to Isaiah and said, "Fear not, for I am with thee". (Gen. 26:24). The Lord was very clear and direct in His speaking. Yet, fear still surrounds us today. It stiffles creativity, saps our strength and weakens our faith. It causes doubts and mistrust. It is a completely negative emotion.
“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee. …I don't think that there are any among us that has not felt fear at one time or another in our lives. There are so many things to be afraid of. But I think it is important to realize that fear itself can cripple us and keep us for accomplishing those things in our lives that we want and need to do. I love that the Lord does not give us the spirit of fear. But He gives us love. Fear is the opposite of faith, and the opposite of hope. The power of His love tells us that we are sons and daughters of God. We have a purpose in our lives here.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:6–7.)
We can overcome fear, doubt, discouragement and worry through the sustaining power of love. Love of family, love of friends, love of the gospel, and the greatest love of all, that of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Let us find strength in the strength that comes from Him. Let us find peace in the peace that He taught. And let us find His love in the multitude of blessings that surround us.
Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them. ~Brendan Francis
There is much in the world to make us afraid. There is much more in our faith to make us unafraid. ~Frederick W. Cropp