In what circumstances does fear speak to you? What if you could learn to
fear less? Read on as Heather Riggleman prods us ahead.
By Heather Riggleman
This was my moment to push through. Feel the fear and do it anyway; I told myself with the acute awareness of more than 1,000 pounds of power, muscle, and bones beneath me. The day was designed to provide bonding with my nine-year-old daughter via horseback.
I used to love to ride. Horses were my freedom as I roamed the Black Hills of South Dakota on my uncle's ranch until one accident changed everything. Deep jagged scars on my forearms glared brightly in the sun, a constant reminder of the accident. How I missed the freedom and trust I once had. I watched my daughter giggle as her horse turned to nibble at her shoe while they moved to the front to lead. I desperately wanted a dose of her fearlessness.
Exhaling shakily, I tried to relax, but I knew horses can jump sideways, buck and bolt in the blink of an eye. My horse shook his mane and danced, antsy to get home. I squeezed my legs and froze, scared he was ready to bolt. Christine, the riding instructor appeared at my side patting his neck. She recognized my crisis. She didn't belittle me nor baby me. Instead she acknowledged my fear and walked beside me. "If you can sit with your fear today, you will fear less tomorrow," she said.
Her words resonated with so many areas of my life. I sat with her words, tasting every layer of flavor like a choice fruit before realization struck my heart. Fear had become an unwelcome guest paralyzing my life, damaging my relationships and hindering my faith.
What if fear isn't the bully or tyrant we think it is? How would our lives, connections and relationships transform if we sat with fear? What if we believed Jesus, like my instructor, walked beside us teaching us the benefit of understanding fear in an authentic way?
That moment was a holy awakening. A new characterization of fear, a different side I never knew existed. Fear isn't here to control or paralyze me. Fear is here to teach me to find the courage to meet the demands of reality.
In that moment I inhaled freedom when God reached out his hand to me and said it was time to go deeper in this lesson: "Heather stop believing how fear could hurt you and believe in me."
Since that moment, God has breathed new life into my response to fear. I sit with fear, and I move to fear less.
I sat with fear as I struggled to find my voice again as a writer.
I sat with fear when I faced off with possible uterine cancer.
I sat with fear as tears glided down my face headed into surgery for a total hysterectomy.
I sat with fear in each situation, and I could move to fear less, knowing God was with me.
This fresh perspective of fear has taught me to not run, hide or freeze. Feel fear, face fear, fear less.
Heather Riggleman is a columnist, blogger and author. She confesses to being a coffee addict and currently has no recovery plan. You can find her at blog "Living Bold Truth through Raw Faith" at heatherriggleman.com.