I will be telling this story with some pictures from Day One and Day Two, so bear with me. 🙂
My friends know me as the “maarte na hindi maarte.”
Meaning I like to dress up and my personality is such a girl, but at the same time I don’t mind roughing it out – I don’t make a fuss.
And so this Holy Week, 3 guys from our barkada in Manila visited Tuguegarao and the 5 of us (along with my brother) spent 4 days going around Cagayan and Ilocos. We were always somewhere, and each day was an adventure.
Now, I also like risks. I like roller coasters and bungee jumps. There was an instance more than a year ago that a huge storm took Manila. Establishments were shut down and streets were flooded, but I took the train from Mandaluyong to Taft – the wind was pounding against the train and it kept on rocking. I was actually the only person in there because I was probably the only one crazy enough to go out during that time, all because I wanted to see someone. For so many times, I would ride the jeepney and walk in the dark to go to Janna’s place wearing a sparkly dress and heels. Not exactly wise, but I’d do it for the people I love. (I’m saying these for a reason, we’ll get to that later).
And then I take risks for ootd shots. I would sit on the railings of a bridge or stand on the edge of a cliff for minutes in a twirly skirt so I usually have to shuffle in place for a while to fix it, getting one of the guys to take my shots. And one of the guys (whom I won’t name) keeps freaking out. He panicked when I made him take these shots of me, repeatedly telling me that I might slip or that the boat might tilt over. He obviously isn’t too keen on risks.
Why am I saying this? On our second day, we went caving.
Afterwards, we rode a boat through a river of deep waters and decided to do so without wearing lifevests.
We stopped in an area where it was around 30-feet when the guys decided they wanted to swim. I was hesitating because we brought no change of clothes with us and I was wearing a knit sweater and jean shorts, which would be very heavy to swim with. However, within seconds of my brother diving in, I thought “oh what the heck” and jumped off the boat.
For the next hour or so, four of us were splashing and swimming in the water, totally enjoying the cool breeze and the clear water.
Where was the other one, you may ask. He was inside the boat, watching us have fun because he didn’t know how to swim and was too afraid to try even after we repeatedly coerced him and reassured him that we were all strong swimmers who wouldn’t let anything happen to him. And so he missed out.
Yet somehow, he can go through ridiculous lengths to take crazy good photos.
I talked to him before writing this piece and he totally backed me up, giving me permission to use him as an example and encouraging me by saying that my idea is all good. And so I look forward to the day he himself gets out of the boat. 🙂
Anyway, back to my topic – facing fears. I partly tackled this in my last blog post, but that was more about exercising faith and waiting on God, holding on to the steadfastness of His character. This time, I’m focusing on how much we’re missing out on if we let our fears get the better of us, and how we have to face our fears if we want to live our lives to the full.
As I said in that post, there’s no adventure inside a box, and God is always yearning for adventure with us. But stepping out of the box, walking on the deepest waters, going out of our comfort zones, means we must learn to risk.
How many things have we missed out on just because we were too scared to step out of the boat? How many opportunities did we allow to pass by us simply because we weren’t sure, only to regret afterward? How many open doors have stared us in the face yet we didn’t walk into them simply because we don’t want to leave where we were at that moment?
The most common command in the bible is “do not fear.” Every angelic appearance began with “do not fear.” And there must be good reason.
I’m sure my friend wanted to jump into the water with us. I’m sure he wanted to try and swim again (he almost drowned when he was younger). But the thing is, he wasn’t sure anymore. He wants to, but he’s not entirely convinced if it’s worth it anymore, no matter how much he desires it.
I don’t think it’s that he think it’s not worth it, though. In a chamber of his mind, I think he knows it’s worth it – it was always worth it and it will always be worth it. He just couldn’t muster enough courage to experience it being worth it, and so he convinces himself otherwise.
And doesn’t that resonate so much about our hearts truest dreams and deepest desires? More or less you’ve tried to grab hold of that dream and there was something along the way that stopped you. So now you don’t want to try again, because you just might fail and only end up hurt again. We can convince ourselves that we don’t want, so we won’t hurt.
Trust me, I know. It took me a while to get past my fears, as you would know if you read my Managing Strengths series. But I learned, and the things I had to go through to learn was very costly and I lost so much, I missed out on so much.
Once I got the hang of it, I found out that the jump is scary, yet it’s also what makes it so much fun. And I wondered what took me so long to get it. The good thing is, there’s no such thing as too late – not with God. He redeems, He restores, He makes all things new. And He has things prepared ahead of you.
But we have to get past that place of being fearful to get where God wants us. We have to stop waiting for the fear to leave and instead, we have to attack it head on. Quoting Paula Rinehart, you must, by the grace of God, do the thing you cannot do. It becomes possible – in the actual doing of it.
What would you do if you knew you could successfully? What have you tried to convince yourself you don’t want anymore, laying it repeatedly before the Lord, only to find the desire still burning in your heart? Where would you go if you didn’t rain or your own parade or if you didn’t listen to the voices of other people telling you not to?
As a child of the Most High God, you can only imagine the destiny He has prepared for you. 1 Corinthians 2:9 states, “what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” We have to realize at this point that some dreams aren’t going to materialize the way we hope – even the ones we thought God gave us. Some will turn out better than we could imagine, some will flop. And hardly any will match the picture in our minds.
However, continuing to 1 Corinthians 2:10, “these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” No matter your age, gender or experiences, God has planted something in your heart. You know it when you know it, and your Spirit knows what it is. It might be so big that it feels too intimidating or seem so average that you wonder if it should be considered a dream at all. But either way: you have a God who shaped you for what He has placed in you. It’s not always logical, and it won’t always feel okay. Like I mentioned earlier, I have done things that aren’t exactly logical. They may also not be wise and I am not encouraging you to imitate them. What I’m trying to drive at is the essence behind why I did it – because I chose to look beyond my fear and held on to the fact that I’m doing it for people who are worth it.
Acknowledge your desires, your fears, and decide that the desires God have placed in you – the power of the God who has placed them in you – are much greater than what you fear. The truth is, it won’t always work out. There’s still the reality that you might drown. But then there’s also the reality that you just might float. Even beyond float, you just might swim ahead.
Fear can either paralyze you, or it can make you come alive. What stories do you want to tell your children and grandchildren? Are there even any at all? Live a life worth telling stories about. You are eventually going to die in any case. The real question is, are you going to live? Will you be able to say “I am doing what I was born to do. I am where I was created to be?”
You may be at a place in your life when you know deep in your heart what you want, but you can’t bring yourself to go out of the boat because of fear. I suggest you stand up and start taking small steps to the edge of the boat. Then position yourself, take a deep breath. Jump. You may not know how to swim, but believe that you have a God who will keep you from drowning.