Last night I knitted my way through Paris, Italy and Santorini. OK, so it was on the Travel Channel. I love the Travel Channel! I note the sights and especially the shopping. My husband likes to watch it too but instead of shopping he sees adventure. The next thing I know he is booking our next trip. If my husband and I wrote a book together it would be called, The Adventurer and the Chicken". I am no adventurer! I qualify fair and square as the chicken! I am like our spaniels when they visit the vet. They sit on their bottoms with all fours straight out refusing to budge. That is exactly the way I feel when it is "adventure time". But I go because I don't want to miss anything.
I am not a fan of flying so that is always the first challenge. I have hyperventilated through more airports than I care to remember! Packing is the next major hurdle. I wouldn't want to need that cute top that only goes with the pants I brought and it be 4,000 miles away! But, of course, the destination is always, always the scary part!
I have found myself in a mawambo boat floating down the Amazon River where crocodiles line the shore sunning themselves. Howler monkeys jumping from mango tree to mango tree chasing after one another and trying to scare off their enemies sounding more like gorillas instead of small monkeys.
I have hiked in Alaska next to a glacier all the while yelling "woo hoo" and shaking the bushes like crazy every 10 seconds just in case a grisly bear is nearby. Not surprising a bear being the major goal.
One time while climbing a mountain path the air was getting thinner. I stopped to catch my breath thinking for sure I would be medivaced off of that mountain. But there was a couple coming down the path and they said, "oh, keep going the view is absolutely breathtaking" (poor choice of words). I kept going. I had to stop along the way a few times but I got to the top. The couple was right the view was absolutely beautiful and yes, breathtaking!
I have snorkeled in the Caribbean along side sea turtles and barracudas. I have rafted down the Snake River (now that was a story). I have walked through rain forests and been carried above tree lines of jungles. This chicken has had some adventures. My mantra always being, "I am not sure I can do this". And my husband's mantra, "Come on D.J., sure you can! Just keep putting one foot in front of another!"
In our travels I have often watched the animals. For instance, howler monkeys. They are just a little monkey but when you hear them in the jungle their voices boom like large gorillas. They do this to protect themselves and their family groups from cougars and other prey.
I was surprised to find out that bears "usually" will not approach humans if they give the illusion of appearing bigger. Hence shaking the bushes and calling out "woo hoo". The premise being the bear is more afraid of you than you are of them. (which is not possible in my personal view)
Well, it seems to work in both situations most of the time. But the reality is they are just small monkeys and a person trying to appear like a large bear. I've known a few of those, haven't you? In both cases the first reaction I have is fear. I mean ....F-E-A-R!
I have fought fear my whole life. I used to think that fear was a sin. But I have come to realize that fear is a normal life emotion. What you do with fear is important. Fear can stop you from stepping out for the Lord. You know, He calls you to a hard place or "out of your comfort zone" and you don't go because you are afraid the Lord won't do what he promised. Then there is "what will people think", caring more about our image than being obedient to the Lord. Let me give you a very small but significant example of this. Sitting in church one day our pastor said, "turn to the person beside you and pray with them". I was by myself that day and I looked to find the only other person sitting in my row was a young lady I didn't know. I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me and tell me to go over and pray for her. I didn't because I wasn't sure what she would think, even though I could feel the Holy Spirit urging me to do so. I will never know what opportunity or what difference that could have made in her life because I was afraid of what she would think. Sad, but true.
Fear and anxiety once led me into agoraphobia(fear of open places) which I will tell you about the next time we meet on the Back Porch.
Some of you have believed the illusion of fear. You been trying to climb that mountain but you are out of breath and you've sat down. You have even been thinking about changing direction, maybe going back another way or just camping there. You have believed the lie that howler monkeys are gorillas and humans are bigger than bears. I want to encourage you today to believe the Lord's word when it says in Isaiah 41:10..."I have chosen you and not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand".
Like David, we are to step out there and face the giant of fear. What would the Israelites missed if David would have believed his fear instead of the God he served?
What are you missing?
I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.