Have you ever been scared? I mean really scared? This weekend I was scared.
My husband and I were given a trip, from our dear friends, to get away for our birthdays. Two plane tickets were part of the gift. What a blessing! What none of us knew was that our flight would be in a very small plane. This was going to be an adventure.
Little did I know I was headed for a battle against fear.
Our flight to St. Louis was fairly pleasant. We hit one air pocket that led me to pray out loud for the entire group of 8 passengers (including the two pilots). After that it was smooth sailing. We made a friend on the flight who was more scared than I was and she really appreciated the prayer. Thankfully our landing was exceptional. I was so relieved and so thankful. We headed into the city and had a really fun time.
Occasionally a bit of fear about our returning flight would pop into my thoughts and I would intentionally refocus. I refused to let fear steal from our vacation. I was begin responsible for my thoughts.
It might help to know a little background. Growing up I was scared. From the time I was a child until about 10 years ago, I lived in fear. In fact, listing all the fears I had would be impossible because there were so many. Even as young adult, when I was coming home, I would check every nook and cranny to make sure there was not a burglar. Many times I would wake my dear husband up because I had “heard something in the house.” It was a miserable way to live.
Then the Great Shift happened. To put into words, I began to know God as bigger. I realized that God is real and that He not only cares about my life but that He choses to be apart of it. He actually wants to help me with my present struggles and be a part of my everyday life. I began to learn that I am never alone and the King of Angel Armies is with me.
The night things officially changed for me there happened to be a real prowler on our street. Neighbors were looking and watching as one of my greatest fears was practically knocking at the door. It was the middle of the night and there was not resolution that I could see. The song "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" came to mind. It was not a song that I sang a lot. However, I stood at a window looking out at our street and sang the song out loud.
Surprisingly enough, I laid down in the bed and went fast asleep. I have not been the same again.
But by the time of this trip I had lived in freedom from fear for quite a while. When we boarded the plane in St. Louis to head home the pilot announced we would have a bumpy flight before we ever took off. I immediately began to pray against those words. I just knew that that flight was going to be smooth.
Guess what? It was the roughest, bumpiest flight I have ever been on (including one broken down African flight in a plane that looked like it flew in World War II). I prayed with a fervor. My whole body shook in fear and my husband said he needed prayer because I squeezed his fingers so hard.
I was down right afraid. But this time I leaned into the Lord. About mid-flight it became smoother and Taylor pried my fingers off his hand. I began to breathe again.
I had to choose to refocus, to let God be bigger than the fear. As I relaxed I began to watch the river we were following.
I began to write notes these notes about rivers.
Rivers bring life and provide life.
They transport goods and necessities.
Rivers nourish the land.
The water is fun and provides entertainment.
It provides sustenance and beauty.
People come to rivers,
build near rivers,
plant near rivers,
and play in rivers.
Rivers are mighty and powerful.
I remembered the Bible says, "Whoever believes in me, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." John 7:8 This river that I was seeing was a picture of what is flowing through us as believers. Amazing!
And I would like to say the descent was better, the clouds parted and we floated effortless to the runway. But we did not. We bumped and jumped around all the way down. In fact, the descent was worse than the ascent. But my thoughts had a new focus. I was considering the river that flows through us. This thought changed my prayers. I actually became aware of other scared people on board and began to pray for them. I continued to write.
Because of Whose we are, we Christians are like that river.
We bring life and provide life.
In fact we bring what people want and need.
We are fun.
Sustenance and beauty come through us.
People come to us.
We are mighty and powerful because He is might and powerful.
Thinking back, it is not surprising that these thoughts changed my prayers. God became bigger and our flight became smaller. It did not become more pleasant--but my perspective changed.
I do not desire to return to a life of fear. Life with God brings freedom. If anything is standing in our way, be it fear or anything else, we need to think about the river that is flowing through us.
There is a great children's song that says,
"I have a river of life flowing out of me.
Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see.
Opens prison doors and sets the captives free.
I've got a river of life flowing out of me."
Our lives can and do make a difference. When we begin to know WHOSE we are are and WHO we are we can fly with freedom!