One day, I had made plans to visit my friend Mary Kate. I was running late. In fact, I became so upset on my way to her house that I threw up in the car. Not pretty, I know. But fear is ugly. It not only cripples and paralyzes us and keeps us from doing what our hearts want to do, it can also mess with our stomachs! I decided to go to Mary Kate’s house anyway because she is the kind of friend whose house you can go to when your nose is running, your face is swollen from crying, and you have throw-up on your shirt. (She’s now my sister-in-law, and I love that.)
Still, I thought it might be a good idea to try to calm down a little bit first. So I drove around a neighborhood not far from her house. Suddenly, my brother John Luke appeared. He had been at Mary Kate’s house because he was dating her at the time, but for some reason, he ended up just where I needed him at just the right moment. He could see I was falling apart, but he had no idea what was wrong. He tried to get me to roll down the car window and talk to him, but I refused. I was so caught up in fear and so upset that I wasn’t thinking clearly. So John Luke jumped on my car. And he would not get off. I drove around that neighborhood for forty minutes with my brother on my car. Talk about love! He was not going to let me be alone, and he was not going to let me go—no matter what.
Eventually, I just decided to pull into Mary Kate’s driveway and John Luke got off the car, and we went inside Mary Kate’s house. Together, he and Mary Kate helped me settle down and began to talk me through the situation. “You can do this, Sadie,” they said. “It’ll be great.” I wasn’t convinced, but they kept encouraging me. That encouragement was even more remarkable because John Luke really wanted to be on Dancing with the Stars himself. Had they called him instead of me, he would have been on the plane to LA that day without one bit of fear or hesitation. It would have been pure joy and excitement for him.
As much as he wanted to be on the show, when he saw me having such a hard time with it, he never said, “What’s wrong with you? This is the coolest thing ever, and you’re saying you don’t want to do it?” He never even mentioned his own dream of appearing on the show. He simply listened to me, spoke truth to me, loved me unconditionally, and showed the most beautiful display of selfless generosity I think I’ve ever seen.
By the time I left Mary Kate’s house, I felt much better. Their affirmation and support had taken me from being almost torn apart by fear to a place of decision. I ultimately decided to go for it and appear on Dancing with the Stars. Even after the show started, with every practice and every performance, I had to face my fear. Sometimes I felt like arrows of fear were flying at me from all different directions (just like in Ephesians 6:16)—fear of not getting my steps right, fear that something awkward might happen with my wardrobe, fear of letting my partner down, fear of so many new experiences in such a short time. Day after day, rehearsal after rehearsal, televised show after televised show, I gradually found myself no longer dodging arrows but surrounded by a shield of faith that knocked them to the ground. I was still aware of them, but much better able to hold up my shield of faith so they would ricochet off of it, powerless.
It’s not that things aren’t scary. They are, and they will continue to be. But each of us has to come to a deep, personal realization that God has already conquered fear—and by the power of His Spirit we can live completely free from fear. There’s so much more to this life, so much we can experience and give to others if we can break free from fear. If we can learn to let God lead us instead of letting fear control us.
HERE’S SOME ENCOURAGEMENT:
If you know fear is talking, go ahead and silence it. You be the one who does the talking!
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN PRAY:
Lord, give me to strength to say yes when You want me to do something. Give me guidance to know what to do next in my life. I surrender my no to You and agree with what You want for me. If You’re saying yes, I say yes, too.