We are kicking off a new series on Palms of Joy this week - Stories of Summer!
Sharing our stories is one of the most courageous acts we can do for ourselves and others. I think Brene Brown says it best:
“Vulnerability is not about winning, and it’s not about losing. It’s about having the courage to show up and be seen.”
There is so much beauty in sharing our lives, just as they are, with those around us. God can use our experiences to glorify him, and connect us deeply with others. Sharing and connecting reminds us we aren't alone!
Throughout this series, I am going to share stories of my own. There will be a few guest writers with inspiring stories as well (one of them being my husband, Kyle!).
So, welcome to Stories of Summer!
Kyle is an adventure seeker. He wants to fully experience a new trail, waterfall or mountaintop even if it’s potentially unsafe. Safety? What’s that? Kyle does backflips over my comfort zones. I play it safe more times than I’d like to admit!
However, I’m learning more and more that there’s a lot of fun, freedom and joy waiting on the other side of our comfort zones; all it takes is a little courage, faith and trust to break through.
Kyle and I love traveling! Sedona, Arizona is one of the most beautiful places we’ve visited, so naturally we wanted to explore as much as possible while we were there. On our last day in Sedona, we chose a hiking trail, packed our bags and drove to the base of the mountain to start our hike.
We slowly started climbing; taking time to stare at the mountains, valleys and endless sky all around us. Up and up we went until we finally reached the end of the marked trail, where we were met by a large safety sign that read, WARNING. CONTINUE HIKING AT YOUR OWN RISK.
To me, that sign meant, “That was fun! Let’s turn around now.”
To Kyle, that sign meant, “Are you coming up to the top with me?”
One of the reasons I love Kyle so much is because he gently nudges me to get out of my comfort zones in life. Heights scare me, so climbing all the way to the top of the mountain was 100% out of my comfort zone. However, Kyle was confident. He lovingly encouraged me to go up. He never made me feel ashamed or belittled because I was afraid and uncomfortable.
So, I slowly walked past the safety sign and started climbing.
Kyle encouraged me every step of the way. He walked behind me on the way up the mountain so if I slipped, he would be there to catch me. Step by step, heartbeat by heartbeat, prayer by prayer, I climbed with the added comfort of knowing Kyle was with me. Was I scared? YES, but I trusted him. I think faith works in a similar way. We can trust God even if we don’t feel confident, simply because he is always with us.
Kyle and I made it to the top safely! We held each other tightly, and stood in silence as we looked at Sedona below. The sense of accomplishment I felt was a mix between making it to the top alive, facing my fear of heights, and successfully not hurling. As we trekked down the mountain, Kyle reassured me once again by walking in front of me, so if I slipped, he would catch me if I fell forward.
Here is a picture from the climb!
After reflecting on my near death climbing experience, I realized how much God prepares and protects us as we face our fears. The warning sign on the mountain triggered fear in me, but walking past the sign to start the climb triggered a sense of dependence and surrender. Faith works like this too.
God wants us to take steps past our safety signs in life so we can truly cling to his strength and resilience instead of our own. Kyle was a physical example of God’s love by the way he encouraged me at every turn of our climb. He was willing to do anything to help me make it to the top of the mountain with him. Kyle wanted me to face my fear and succeed.
God loves us the same way. He would rather catch us as we’re falling than not catch us at all. God will proudly and lovingly hold us close whether we make it to the top or not; he just wants our surrendered, trusting hearts.
Isaiah 41:13 says, For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
The more we lean on God, the more he leans back. We can walk past our safety signs, face our fears, and begin climbing our mountains with confidence because of him!
So, what is your safety sign (or fear you face) that you need to confidently walk by? What is your mountain to climb?
Thankful for y’all – have a great week!
What makes you uncomfortable/fearful? Maybe it’s quitting your job, going on a date with someone, making a new friend, trying a new workout, moving to a new city or maybe it’s slowing down to be in solitude. What triggers fear in your life and how can you depend on God to help you break through?
Do you let fear or trust lead your steps in life?
How can you allow yourself to fall forward, or fail trying, at something new this week?