“You have to get closer to the edge to start rappelling.”
I had a death grip on my rope and belay device. My instructor, Rainbow Weinstock, was trying to encourage me that I was safe. I had spent the last three hours climbing up the side of a mountain and it was total bliss. Now that I had to get down, and the only way down was rappelling off the edge of a high cliff, total bliss was consumed by total fear.
I have a terrible fear of heights and falling. Why would I pick this activity? Everything in me was screaming “danger!” “run!” “escape!”. I couldn’t move. I was frozen in my fear, yet Rainbow kept encouraging me.
“I’ve got you. You’re tied into the anchor, the anchor is secured to the mountain, your belay device is secure, and there are guys on the ground to help guide you down. You’re not going to lose control and fall. You have to move closer to the edge, and lean back in your harness to be in the right position. This is the only way to get down.”
Can I Do This
I take a quick glimpse over the edge of the mountain and immediately tighten my death-grip on the rope. This guy is nuts. He wants me to get closer to the edge? Surely that move is sudden death. What am I doing here?
Yet, I climbed this mountain. Unless I wanted to live up here, I had to get down. Slowly, I ignore the voice in my head screaming “danger!” “death!” and move closer to the edge. Once I got close enough, I turned my back to it. Tears start to fall.
“Okay Renegade, you have to lean back further in your harness.”
The voice screaming “danger” gets louder.
I start to shake.
Slowly, I lean back.
“Alright, now remember what I showed you. Slowly start moving the rope in between your hands and start lowering yourself. Remember, you control the speed. And if anything happens, I’ve got you.”
Slowly with tears falling, I start to lower myself over the edge of the cliff. I take small steps, and soon my feet are in front of me and I am standing on the edge of a mountain. The ground is over 100 feet below me. My fear is loud, but I push past it. With each step, I get over the edge and closer to the ground. 10 minutes later, I am on the ground.
I couldn’t believe what I had done.
From the top, the way down seemed impossible. But once I got a grip on my fear, I was able to do it. I was elated; I had just rappelled 170 feet down the side of a mountain! All the fear I experienced earlier that was almost crippling was entirely gone. I stared into the face of something I truly feared and conquered it.
Freedom from Fear
In my journey with fear, I have learned the only way to conquer it, is to run towards it. This goes against everything our flesh says- run from or avoid what you fear. But by running from it, we only delay the inevitable: soon we will have to face what we fear.
I find the best example of running toward fear is the battle between David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Here were Israel and King Saul unable to continue in battle because they were paralyzed by fear. For days, they were assaulted by Goliath’s threats of destruction. Note, Goliath never actually did anything physically to the army of Israel. They were just verbal threats.
Yet this was enough to paralyze them. They forgot that they were God’s chosen and instead of facing Goliath, they ran from him. This happened repeatedly until David showed up.
David knew who he was and who’s he was.
He knew who was fighting for him it allowed him to face the giant.
Ultimately, David got the victory.
There’s a lot to learn from David’s actions and I’ve done my best to apply them to fear-conquering. Once I learned to trust God and move toward what I was afraid of, I found that I had victory far more often than defeat.
Have you ever struggled with fear as I have? If so, here are a few truths that I’ve used to get me through. I hope they can be a help to you as well:
Truth # 1: Fear is not from God.
2 Timothy 1:7 states, “ For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Fear is a spirit sent from the devil to torment, trap and steal from us. I’ve had fear destroy relationships, take away blessings, prevent promotions, delay promises just because I had fear controlling me. We are children of God. The only thing that should be ruling us is Christ and His love (1 John 4:18). The only spirit we should allow in our lives is the Holy Spirit.
Truth # 2: God is always with us.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord goes with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9).
God is always with us. When we realize this, we’re able to accomplish anything set before us. I knew that God had me on that mountain for a reason and that nothing bad would happen because He was there. I was still afraid, but knowing this, I was able to get down that mountain.
Truth # 3: Trusting God quiets fear.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall [a]direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
God has set the path that is before us. When we trust Him with the path and understand that He has good things for us, we have no reason to fear. (Jeremiah 29:11).
Alexis is a 35 year old lover of Jesus, loose leaf tea, roller coasters, writing stories and going on adventures. Originally from Marietta, GA, Alexis now resides in Fresno, CA. You can always find Alexis outdoors enjoying a walk in her neighborhood, scoping out the newest food truck, hanging out with friends or planning her next trip. Her church, The Revival Center, and family mean the world to her. They have supported her through the loss of her mother and her own cancer diagnosis. Alexis enjoys encourging others by reminding them not to look at what they see, but to always look to God, who is working in the unseen.