Elisabeth Elliot is not only one of my favorite authors but also one of my favorite women heroes. Reflecting this past week, in the midst of faith facing fear, one of her quotes spoke to my heart: “Sometimes fear does not subside, and one must CHOOSE to do it afraid”.
I suppose there are many of us right now facing something tangibly fearful, and if we are not yet there today, the unknowns of tomorrow can creep quietly in with an ever-foreboding sense of uneasiness.
At times we may feel hard pressed on every side in the midst of situations we neither planned, wanted or felt prepared for.
We may even have the choice to face the very thing we are afraid of, or to run as fast as we can in the other direction furthest away from it.
Today I wanted to run away when fear came calling. And my greatest fear came calling in the form of great heights.
Petrified of heights, especially walking along the edges of them, a friend suggested that we scale some rocks on the beach to get to a beautiful cove. I was in no shape, way or form going to do it until my stubborn pride took over and I decided I was not going to let fear make me look weak or vulnerable.
So, I quietly started following my friend scaling over rocks along the beginnings of the cliff’s edges. But just a few minutes in, I looked at the edge of the cliff and fear took over. I looked down to see my legs shaking in panic and literally terrified, I was not able to move.
I realized no amount of choosing to do it afraid was going to work, I was stuck. I was relying solely on myself in an attempt not to look weak, which was ironically making me look weaker and my fear was growing deeper.
Then ever-so selflessly my friend offered his hand. He said, ‘I’ll help you, you can do it, just take my hand, place your foot on the rock and trust me”.
And in that moment of pure vulnerability I realized I could choose to be brave not because I was choosing to trust in myself, but because I could admit in my own weakness that I was not strong enough to do it in my own strength. I could choose brave because I could choose to trust in someone other than myself.
Just like my fear of heights, we must admit that we are not strong enough in and of ourselves to do “it” ourselves. Because it is only through Christ alone that we gain the strength to conquer Faith over Fear and Bravery over Weakness.
True bravery is admitting that we can’t do it in our own strength and embracing that we can only do it in His. It is standing on the rock of His salvation proclaiming, “Only through the power of the Cross”, calling us not to rely on ourselves but to fully rely on Him.”
And it is only through Him, that we can truly conquer our fears and “Choose Faith over Fear” because the truth of choosing brave is the very genuineness of knowing that it is His. In the presence of fear, we need to give ourselves grace and in the presence of fear, we need to let His grace be enough.
God doesn’t always choose the brave, He sometimes choses those who are most afraid to show that His Grace enough and to give them the strength that His Brave is too.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me”. 2 Corinthians 12:9