Seeing the top of the Rocky Mountains for the first time while flying to Las Vegas this past weekend was breathe-taking. Being a former History teacher, I love traveling and seeing parts of the world I read about as a kid. With snow at the top of the mountains, it looked like a picture you only see in magazines. When I was a kid, I was scared of the dark, heights, flying and frogs. As I grew older, I saw that it was my perspective on these things that really needed to be changed. I was scared of the dark because I thought bad things happened at night. I had a fear of flying until my mom took me on a trip to Washington D.C in 2000 for a Democratic Party social campaign called "Welfare to Work". The campaign highlighted the women & families who were on welfare and how that assistance allowed parents the opportunity to work in order to get on their feet. At the time, that was us. My mom used those services to get us the proper education and have us in the right environment while she was working and finishing her degree. I feared frogs because I thought they were ugly, until I watched an animal planet television show that examined frogs all over the world and I noticed how beautiful they were.
What I realize in my life and the lives of others are that fears are based on personal perspective. Most circumstances in life are based on how we see things, how we perceive things will happen, how we assume things will look, and how we think certain situations will make people feel. Then we become more consumed by fear, doubt, and anxiety, which leave our emotions and minds in disarray. Some people won’t learn how to drive out these things because of something that traumatized them. Some people won't even talk to certain individuals out of fear of what they will think or say. Often times from what I’ve seen in the media, fear and wanting to be accepted have been the catalyst to sexual harassment, rape, and sex trafficking. At the wake of all these sexual abuse accusations, social media campaigns to expose slavery in Libya, and now hearing about a young girl from Florida running away with her soccer coach, now is the time that we must live more fearless lives. Standing up for what is right, teaching our kids to say no to unwanted sexual comments and inappropriate behavior, respecting other women and girls, speaking up when we see injustice or offenses happening around us, and calling bullies cowards are just a few ways we must show we can no longer be afraid to run when we were created to fly.
Fear limits our minds and it highjacks our emotions. Fear constantly invades our thoughts with doubtful statements like, “No, I don’t want them to think of me like that…no, that’s too hard…that will require too much work… this is too much.” It is time for us all to let go of fear. Who cares what people think of you when they do not think positively of themselves? We have been fearlessly and wonderfully made in the eyes of God. Don’t allow fear to emotionally paralyze you or cause you to question your purpose. You got this! Just like walking up the stairs, we do not reach our destination until we reach the top. The key to reaching your fullest potential is keeping the faith by taking each step. We must continue to move forward! Faith, not fear, allows growth, healing, deliverance and wholeness. You possess the power to make a positive impact in this world; what are you willing to do with your gifts?
I challenge you this week to spend more time thinking about how to encourage others while accomplishing your goals, and moving fear out your way, allowing hope to arise within.
Your future counts on it!