My husband and I just returned from a quick trip to Disney World for an extended weekend. I had the flights book; the hotel was reserved; the tickets were purchased. Knowing that my husband was not thrilled to track down Mickey Mouse for an autograph, I attempted to secure a Fastpass for each of the more thrilling rides the Kingdom had to offer. One of which was Splash Mountain. I, on the other hand, was more than pleased to take a whirl in the Tea Cup.
You may think it crazy that one would be slightly nervous to climb the mountain of Brer Rabbit, and rightly so. I was thinking the same thing when a 5-year-old lined up next to me without any inhibition. However, the promised, acclaimed 50 foot drop into a pool of water (hence the splash) was not something I was bargaining for. All in the name of love, right? We boarded our log raft for the ride and crept up the mountain to the playful tunes sung by eccentric animal characters. While we crept along, my grip increased on the safety bar across my lap. I’d been on this ride before, though I didn’t love it then, and was very aware the drop would come out of nowhere proceeding to our plummet. I was mentally preparing myself for that moment – the drop in my stomach, the tilt of the raft over the edge, the splash and getting wet… all of it. Fear crept over my entire body preventing me from enjoying any aspect of the ride.
When I realized how crippling my fear was becoming (in the middle of Splash Mountain for pete’s sake), I had one of those beloved “Come to Jesus moments.” This ride had been in operation for years. People did not die. They had not gotten sick the entire twenty drops we watched while waiting our turn. The drop would only last five seconds, of which Jeremy continuously reminded about. I was not being realistic with my fears, and honestly couldn’t think of what I was truly fearing. Then it hit me – the lack of control. My conclusion: I would not die. I would live to tell the tale.
Though my conclusion was simple and I really ended up enjoying the ride and the famed drop, I realized much of my life operates under the same fears. I could not control the movement of Splash Mountain. I was locked in to a ride with an inevitable drop of which I was a little frazzled about. And because, just like the course of the ride, I cannot control certain aspects of life, fear can and oftentimes does prevent me from enjoying the “ride of life.” Fear binds me to mediocrity and my own version of safety.
The Bible teaches much about fear. Why wouldn’t we have fear in a broken world? God knew fear would be ever-present in our lives; He continuously is telling us to not be afraid or discouraged. Every opportunity allows for us to turn from that fear and trust Him more. The invitation is simple and leads to much growth.
These “Splash Mountain moments” allow us to realize that our good Father has us exactly where we need to be, so we are then released to truly enjoy life. We grip the safety bar a little less knowing that He is the One protecting us. Rather than bracing for impact of the drop, we approach life with confidence that He has handcrafted every drop and peak in our lives for our good. And as our fears lessen, He ushers in more opportunities for us to be challenged and enjoy Him at the same time.