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The sun was shining into the room, making me forget about the bite from the cold wind I felt earlier in the day. I could hear the chatter and the giggles on the other side of the door as my kids played with friends. I had every reason to be smiling from ear to ear, but as I soaked in the sun I had tears rolling down my cheeks. “God, it’s too big. This is too big for me. I don’t know if I can do this.”

That’s when the truth finally came out, “God, I’m scared.”

After wiping my tears, I was reminded of my daughter’s first day of competitive swim practice. I remember gathering my three kids into the local indoor pool as we were blasted with a gust of hot humid air and desperate to take off our winter coats. I remember helping my daughter put on a swim cap for the first time and struggling not to pull on all of her straggling little hairs. And I remember walking her down to meet her coach for the first time. There was excitement and also hesitation in the air. This was new for both my precious little blue-eyed girl and me.

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The hour flew by as I smiled from ear to earI was so proud of her as she was trying something new. I was amazed at the artistry I saw as her hands and feet entered the water with barely a splash. While it was a great day for me, it was not until I tucked her into bed that I realized her experience was quite different from mine. With tears streaming down her face, she told me how she was not a good swimmer and she did not want to compete. She said she was just not capable of doing any better than what I saw that evening.

Any of us who have children know what was really going on inside my little girl’s heart that night. She was telling me, “Mom. It’s too big. I don’t know if I can do this. I’m scared.”

Without even saying it, she was telling me she was afraid to fail.

Fear is something both my daughter and I have in common, many times allowing it to precede any decision we make. I learned that night while sitting on the edge of her bed, that I could no longer allow fear to have its grip on me. And not just for me, but also for her. I needed to show my little girl what it looked like to do something afraid.

The kicker is this is not something we fight against and then it is finished—we cannot grow complacent and allow fear to creep its way back in. Because when we do, we find ourselves sitting in a sun-filled room with tears running down our face telling God that we are once again afraid. “But, thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57, ESV).

I do not know where you are at today, but if your desperate cries to God sound anything like mine, let me remind you that you are not alone.

You are not alone because there is a Heavenly Father who is with you, and “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4, ESV). Let me share with you a prayer I wrote in my journal that day and let it breathe life into you like it did for me.

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Father,

I want to lean on your strength, not trying to muster up my own. I want to hide behind you as my shield knowing you will protect me, but I am struggling with this fear. I want to stand on the Scripture that says my heart trusts you, and my heart exalts you. So, today, as my flesh continues to push me toward worry, I will proclaim “God, though my flesh wants to worry, my heart trusts in you.” May today be filled with laughter, joy, and reasons to celebrate! May I know that the task before me is good and that you will be with me every step of the way.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Sara Dangerfield

Sara is a pastor’s wife, mom of three, and an avid learner. She resides in North Dakota where you will almost always find her with a coffee cup and book in hand. She has a secret love for art, a talent for embarrassing her kids, and a deep love for worldwide missions work. Sara also writes a monthly e-newsletter, Pioneering the Crossroads, that has a missional focus found at http://eepurl.com/hyKMgr

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