I clung to the top of the roof, crouched like a gargoyle, and shook. How was I ever going to get down? So much for being Daddy’s daredevil.
It was football season in the mid-1980s. Dad surveyed his kids and chose to put me on the roof to adjust the antenna. I scrambled up to the top of our two-story Georgian in my best imitation of a chimpanzee, eyes focused on the objective. As I neared the top corner where the antenna was affixed, I lay flat and pulled myself to the edge. Both hands found the antenna and began to shift the heavy contraption until Dad called to stop. Mission accomplished.
I rolled over and sat up. That’s when I saw my reality and froze. Too far up for Dad to pull me down to the deck, I sat trembling and unable to move. The enemy of fear had arrived.
Has fear done this to you? Stopped you in your tracks, rendered you breathless, made you shake? It has to me more times than I can count. I don’t do heights, nope, nope, nope. Today I’m quite aware of my height threshold and I don’t cross it.
Fear in other arenas isn’t stopped quite so easily and is often accompanied by a “flight, fight, or freeze” response. Flight and fight have been the axis upon which my life was built for a long, long time. On the surface, I was angry, withdrawn, and resentful. Eventually, I came to learn that beneath all those walls of false security was a depth of fear left untreated. Once in recovery, I began to hear these acronyms for fear—
Forget Everything And Run
Face Everything And Rise
Any guesses on which one ruled my life prior to healing? Ha! I was a runner for sure. My trademark was to turn around long enough to shake a fist or curse you out, then I’d bolt again.
To heal, I had to face it all, trudge right into the belly of the beast, and unpack the innards. Slowly, I began to rise but none of this happened easily or as a singular event. Last week I wrote about my greatest help and shield. Oh, how glorious it is to look back and see the many times God has protected me from my deranged and afraid self. The key to it all is a willingness to recover and live God’s way.
Just like the little girl who sat on that roof until half-time because she wouldn’t budge toward the voice of safety, God allowed me the latitude to wrestle fear until I was good and ready to come to Him. When I finally stopped running, God showed me how to rise. When I finally moved lower on the roof, my dad was able to help me down safely.
I know there are some of us who have Daddy or God issues. Let me just say that I’ve been in those camps. Making peace wasn’t easy. Continued efforts to clear away resentments and excuses eventually brought me to a place where I could develop relationships based on the here and now, not on the past. It is my experience, strength, and hope that God never fails us. Yes, bad things happen at times, and we might cry out wondering why we’ve been abandoned. The truth is, we are never alone but our sight can be limited in observing how present God is during our hours of greatest need.
This week, if you’re not feeling particularly connected, stop for a moment and reach out to God through prayer or quiet reflection. Let Him know you’re willing to hear Him and then listen without expecting the booming voice or immediate answers. God will meet you in the gentleness of your heart and bring you into the safety of His waiting arms.
If you feel connected, thank Him for being there and think back on an event where His hands of goodness were evident in your life. Then praise God for the experience. Our Father loves a grateful heart.
And last, if you’re really feeling like going the extra mile, consider your own father or father figure and give them a thankful boost too. We are never too old to share a tender moment with our parents and I plan on thanking my dad for helping me realize heights are not my thing.
I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
-Psalm 16:8 NLT
-From the Fire Ring Blog, Vol. 1, No. 13