When I Am Afraid

by | May 17, 2012 | Fear, Trust

“Nana, you’ll love this ride,” Ryan said. “So, come on!”

Noticing my hesitation, he said, “You’ll be able to get some great pictures.”

Then, he stood there, grinning at me, knowing how hard it was for me to turn down an opportunity to take photographs.

“I’m sure I could,” I acknowledged, “but I don’t like going fast and spinning around.”

“Nana, you go faster than that when you’re riding in a car!”

“That’s true, but I’m not way up in the air and spinning around while I’m going fast!”

Eventually, I summoned my courage and climbed into a seat on “The Aviator” ride at Wild Adventures Park in Valdosta, GA. I felt fairly calm as we slowly circled around, but the moment we began to ascend, while continuing to circle, I had to close my eyes. I never fully opened them again during the brief ride, although, from time to time, I opened them just enough to see if the dizzying, out-of-control feeling had stopped so that I could take pictures. Each time I tried, I gasped, pressed my spine even harder against the back of the seat, closed my eyes so tightly I thought they might not ever open again, and tightened my already white-knuckle grip on the safety bar that was across my mid section. And I prayed for the ride to end—safely!

Ryan, age 10, had loved the ride. In fact, since there weren’t many people at the park that day, he’d simply walked through the exit gate when the ride ended and then through the entrance again and again. Since he’d enjoyed the ride so much, he’d felt sure I would love it, too.

I was truly sorry I couldn’t share his enthusiasm. I wanted to enjoy it as much as he did, but my fear prevented me from doing so.

In fact, fear has kept me from doing many things that others do. But, to my credit, I force myself to face my fears from time to time. For example, while visiting a friend, I accepted her invitation to go into the pasture to photograph her two donkeys. Even though she said they wouldn’t hurt me, fear rose within me as I opened the large gate, closed it behind me, and walked into the pasture.

All the time I was taking pictures of her red barn and the beautiful field of red clover surrounding it, I kept a watchful eye on the donkeys. For brief moments, I was actually able to turn my back on them.

I’m glad I faced that fear, especially since doing so enabled me to get some beautiful pictures.

Although fear prevents me from enjoying some experiences to the same degree that others (who aren’t fearful) do, I’m always proud whenever I force myself to do something I thought I’d never, ever do. And as I reflect on such experiences, I’m delighted to see that each one brought new skills, new opportunities, new memories, new confidence, or new friends, etc., which greatly enriched my life.

And I’m learning to trust God more, especially when I’m going through a white-knuckle experience. Like David, I don’t pretend to be unafraid, especially since life’s experiences can be far scarier than the ride at the theme park. No, I simply say, as David did, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You, O God.” (See Psalm 56:3.)

© 2008 by Johnnie Ann Burgess Gaskill jgaskill@charter.netwww.jgaskill.com


When I Am Afraid