The other weekend my husband and I went zip lining in the mountains. It was my first time zip lining so I was a little bit nervous. We put on our harnesses and listened as the guides explained everything very thoroughly. Stepping up to the zip line, something funny happened. All of a sudden I had to make sure the directions I heard very clearly were correct. The guide was super nice, answering all of my questions before I jumped off of the platform.
Riding the zip line was exhilarating! When I got to the end something funny happened again. All of a sudden I forgot what to do. I could barely stand up let alone listen as the guide told me to grab the line over my head. And I wasn’t the only one! As I watched more people come down the zip line they very literally could not follow directions. The guide clearly told them to grab the line over their heads and they would grab everything but that line. These were smart capable people just like me, and they couldn’t follow a simple direction. Neither could I! In that moment I realized the very clear problem.
Fear Makes You Stupid
The zip lining situation is an exaggerated example of how fear makes us stupid. I don’t often jump off of platforms hundreds of feet above the ground trusting that a harness and a few cords will hold me in the air. It’s only natural that in that unusual situation we wouldn’t be able to think clearly. There are other, more common, situations in our lives where fear can get the best of us.
Most commonly I can think of fear getting in the way of our own self confidence. Maybe you compare yourselves to others, fearing you aren’t good enough. That fear keeps you from applying for a promotion or another job. It also gets in the way of you realizing your unique gifts and putting yourself out there.
We also experience fear when making life changing decisions. Where to go to college, whether or not to get married, whether or not to move, buying a house, deciding to have children. All of these are big decisions that involve risks. If we’re not careful, we can let the fear of pulling the trigger on those decisions keep us from doing something that could change our lives for the better.
The truth is, when fear overcomes our thoughts we cannot think straight.
Fear can cause an avalanche of trouble in our minds. When we are consumed with fearful thoughts it is impossible to see the truth. How many times have I misinterpreted someone’s actions because I was afraid they didn’t like something about me? How many times have I misinterpreted someone’s words because of my own insecurities? It happens to everyone.
The Bible addresses fear countless times. “Fear not,” or “do not be afraid,” can be found more than 8 times in the book of Genesis alone! Throughout the Bible we are told not to fear over and over. Yet somehow it still creeps into our lives.
God does not want us to be fearful. He wants us to trust and believe in his word and his ways. Where fear hides the truth, faith can unveil the blessings that God holds in store for our lives. My favorite verse to remember when I am feeling fearful is:
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
Don’t let fear keep you from thinking clearly.
After a few zip lines my fear was overcome by excitement. All of a sudden I could properly follow directions. I could process what the guides were asking me to do, and I could enjoy myself.
Don’t let fear keep you from thinking clearly. You won’t be able to hear when God is telling you to trust Him. When you give your fear to God you’ll be able to appreciate your blessings and live your life the way He intended.