I’ve had this fear creeping up for a few years now. I can’t tell you where it started or why. I’ve had no bad experience… no trauma. But every time we drive over tall ramps, especially if they curve, my heart jumps into my throat. It’s not so bad if the hubby is driving. Last time we faced one, he swerved slightly just to see how I would react.
My sweet daughter challenged him from the back seat, Dad, it’s a real fear.
Oh, if he only knew the thoughts that zoomed through my brain. I mean if for some reason we were to go careening off the side, well there’s a lot of time until we meet our maker. At least a minute or so, and I have imagined what I might think on the way down.
The last bridge I drove over, we were going on a mission trip. The poor youth beside me thought I was crazy as I held a hand up to block my view of the water down below and sang a praise song. Hopefully, I didn’t scar him for life.
She asked me, Are you ready for your trip tomorrow?
I think so, I replied explaining my general anxiety about new.
Well, maybe there won’t be any bridges, she said as she smiled.
What? Wait. I haven’t even thought about that, and I’m not gonna. Not now anyway.
And I didn’t. Though I did say a prayer of thanks as I went under what had to be the eighth wonder of the world, a tall, extremely high ramp with a curve. I smiled as I traveled right under and whispered, Whew!
I thought I would return home the same way I came, I thought wrong. A few miles in I realized the ramp I praised God for going under would be my exit.
Let the self-talk begin… I can do this. It’s just a bridge. People do it every day without fear. They probably talk on the phone and drive it one-handed. Get over yourself, it’s just a bridge!
As I got closer the ramp looked wide, like three lanes wide, and I had a plan. Stay in the middle lane… no problem. Eventually, the exit ramp narrowed, and the panic began. Concrete guardrails on both sides, not an inch of margin for mishap or mistake.
See, I took a picture. Yes, a picture. Don’t ask… it was the fear talking.
I won’t try to hide it now. By the time I reached the top my heart was pounding, and the panic had me breathing shallow. The cars below me looked like the flies on the movie Cars. You remember the tiny bug cars with wings flying around. I might have shed a few tears when I reached the bottom.
Here’s the best part. I will drive this bridge 20 more times in the next three years. Two-zero. My friend suggested I find a way around it. Others told me this would help me get over my fear.
I’ve heard it so many times. You’ve got to face your fears. And I understand the sentiment. I’ve even faced a few and learned it wasn’t as scary as I thought. But, the older I get, the more I realize this little sentiment is a big fat lie. Sorry, if I’ve offended you at this point.
Fear doesn’t go away just because you face it. I drove the bridge the other day. I’m still alive to tell about it. But the fear is still there. In fact, next time will probably be worse because I know what’s coming.
Here’s the truth I’m a bit disappointed to admit. Fear is a battle I’ll probably have for the rest of my life. Though it may be conquered in one area, it might crop up in another.
It reminded me of Paul’s struggle with the thorn in his flesh. We don’t really know the specifics, but it bothered Paul. He asked God to remove it, but the thorn had purpose.
So <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29013A" data-link="(A)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29013C" data-link="(C)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.–2 Cor. 12:7-8
Three times Paul asked God to remove the thorn. God answered, My grace is sufficient for you.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked God to remove fear from my life. And I’ll admit He has answered some. I’m not too anxious when I speak in front of people anymore. I don’t find myself scared when the sky turns dark after a long day. I haven’t wrapped my kids in bubble wrap and locked them in their rooms. So yeah… there are fears that don’t exist for me anymore.
My fear victories have nothing to do with me facing them. It has all to do with God walking me through them. He’s proven time and time again His grace is sufficient for me in my weakness.
So like Paul I find myself boasting today.
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29015G" data-link="(G)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the power of Christ may rest upon me.For the sake of Christ, then, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29016I" data-link="(I)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-29016J" data-link="(J
)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>when I am weak, then I am strong.–2 Cor. 12: 9-10
In my own words…
Hey world, I’m a scaredy cat! No really, it’s my weakest point. That’s me… scared to drive over bridges and tall curvy ramps. My heart beats fast, and I cry at the thought.
I wish I could say with conviction I’m content with my fear, but I’m not quite there yet.
What I can say is in my weakness, Jesus makes me strong. That my friends is enough to keep me white knuckle driving over tall ramps and stepping out into the new of this journey.