Several years ago I went up in the Sears Tower in Chicago. The higher that the glass elevator soared, the more I pressed against the wall, closed my eyes, and hoped that I’d make it through the ride.Not just a little afraid. It was almost paralyzing.
When you are a strong person, overwhelming fear is frustrating.
Last year I made a “bucket list” and one of the items was to conquer my fear of heights.
In order to do that I had to face the fear head on.
I chose ziplining as my David vs. Goliath moment.
As I climbed up the 64 steps to the tower (yes I counted), I felt like I was going to free fall.
When I stood on the edge of the first tower, I wanted to go back. The teeny tiny ledge they asked me to step on, with nothing around me but air, seemed an impossibility.
But then I stepped off. . .
And it was exhilarating!
I zipped across the tops of trees. I could see across the countryside. I felt light. Free.
I wish I could say that it was an instant cure, but it didn’t work that way.
I continually had to face my fear, crossing rope bridges that swayed in the wind several stories above the ground.
I had to climb more towers. There were times as I zipped nearly a half a mile on a section of the course that I twisted in the wind, turning completely backwards.
Maybe that is what God is trying to tell us when he takes us into the harder parts of our faith.
Conquering our fears is less about the obstacle than it is about letting go.
At one point I was standing on the highest tower and I realized that I was not holding to the cable.
The tower was swaying gently. I was crowded in by people who pushed me closer to the edge (normally a panic trigger). I could see down and I was actually seeing what was below, instead of battling my fears.
“Hey,” I said to my son. “Normally I’d be so afraid right now.”
He smiled broadly. ‘Way to go, mom!”
Then I stepped stepped off one last time. . . and took my hands off the cable and spread my arms open wide.
I was flying and I wasn’t afraid anymore.
Is God asking you to let go of a fear?
Or to walk in the harder parts of your faith as you let go of the past, or anger, or unforgiveness?
Take a step of faith today. What might that look like for you? Share a verse that has encouraged you in the harder parts of your faith.
Today I’ll give away one copy of my book, The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness. Just comment below, and you’ll be entered.
This is what Susie Larson had to say about The Unburdened Heart:
In The Unburdened Heart, my friend Suzie Eller handles this topic with truth and grace. If you’ve got an unhealed area in your soul, I ask you to go on this journey with her. Trust her to hold your hand and lead you to places of grace and healing. Freedom waits for you on the other side. ~ Susie Larson, Co-host of Focus on the Family’s Everyday Relationships with Dr. Greg Smalley, Host of Live the Promise and Author of Your Beautiful Purpose
Thank you so much! Many of us are filled with one fear or another, and I’m no exception!. While I may not be quite ready to go zip lining yet…and heights is ONE of my fears…I did enjoy reading about your experience! Perhaps one day this will be a goal. Your blog entry is encouraging and I thank you with my whole heart for sharing. God is AWESOME! At the moment my greatest fear is facing an upcoming surgery. I’m not afraid of my future because I’m a child of HIs! And, I’ve faced surgeries before and felt very calm because I knew God would be with me This time it is a bit different. While I don’t believe it is anymore difficult than any other, it is a different kind of surgery for me..one in which I will be non wt bearing for a few months and possibly off work for that entire time. Thank you again. Your blog was delightful, real and as I mentioned, encouraging. Keep writing…and I’ll keep reading! God Bless!
Father, thank you for giving Cindy peace over this surgery. Make this time of rest for her a time that she totally finds rest in You. Thank you for being with her each moment before, during, and after this surgery. In Your powerful name, amen.
I enjoyed your zip line devotion so much. I have many fears to overcome at this point in my life and need to learn to let them go with God’ help.
Letting go is the hardest part. With His help, all things are possible for you, Kathy.
God is asking me to let go of fear. Fear to fail has made me take a back seat in life. There are times when I have kept quiet when I needed to speak out, when I had to act and never did. I have read the words “Fear not,…..” several times. Thank you, I realise I need to step out.
Failing is part of the process. There is no athlete, musical artist, Olympian, who ever started out and never hit the dirt, never bombed a performance, or crossed the finish line later than they hoped. It’s all part of it. We aren’t striving for perfection, just to live out our calling daily. That’s all that God requires of us, and He is the strength. When we are weak, He is strong. : ) We start to run in tandem, sing a duet, and excel far beyond our own capabilities because He is our focus, not our failures or even our successes. You can do this, with His help!!!
God Bless you, Suzie! I too have many fears, heights. Included, and I wonder if sometimes because of my own ~ I have passed them to my daughters. I pray every day for healing & have faith of the deliverance.
We do model fear to our children, but we can also model trust as we overcome that fear. That’s my prayer for you, Halona. Father, You do deliver, but You also give what we need for today. Give Halona a measure of peace day by day. Be her anchor, but also her cheerleader as she steps out in faith. It’s not about the result, but the actual act of taking that step that makes You cheer. That’s faith! Moving out in trust and knowing that whatever takes place, You are enough, and You are with us. Thank you for that!
Thank you for the reminder! My family was just discussing fears last night. My husband and I both had a fear of flying. Several years ago, God provided me an opportunity to face my fear as I took a plane to a NASA workshop in Virginia. On the ride home, I was the one watching in fascination out the window as some of the more seasoned flyers from my school were nervous about the small plane that we were in. My husband still resists it, though I pointed out to him that God reminds us several times in the Bible, Fear not. Perhaps some day, God will also provide him the opportunity to face his fear of heights and flying.
Suzie, Thank you so much for sharing your real self with us. My greatest fear in life has always been failure. Growing up in a home with a perfectionist parent and always being punished when I didn’t stand up to her standards created this fear. And then after leaving home I became my worst emeny by not allowing myself to do things that I loved because of fear of failing. But God as always is so full of mercy and because of HIs awesome grace along with lots of prayers has and is still helping me to overcome this fear . God Bless you Suzie!!!
Thank you Cheri. At some point we transition from that child who was once afraid of falling short to the truth that a broken person placed their own fears or insecurities on us. We give them grace, but we refocus to the One who truly has the right to speak into our hearts and lives. Our identity is founded in Christ. I love that you are overcoming those fears and taking HUGE steps of faith! You go, Cheri!!
Thank you for that devo.! Fear has been huge in my life and very controlling-but the LORD has been working on me and helping me through it! “Trust in the LORD and lean not on your own understanding” and saying “Jesus i am trusting you” are two things i try to fill my mind with when i am feeling fearful. The LORD is so good to us!
Thank you for this devotional – what a great encouragement and a great way to start summer vacation with all 4 of my kiddos at home (something I have been fearing for a while now:)
I would love to win this book – I have suffered many hurts and know that the Lord is trying to get me to fully forgive them so that I can walk in the freedom He has for me. Thank you for this opportunity.
Goodness, this post spoke to me this morning! There are actually a few things God is asking me to take on right now, some of my biggest strongholds and obstacles to date. He’s giving me a teeny glimpse of what might be on the other side…but for as exciting as that is, this part of the journey is still incredibly hard. I know these words were meant for me today, and I wll try to remember them as I put one foot in front of the other.
Is it possible that my biggest fear is forgiveness?
I am glad that zip lining worked for you. Nothing has helped me with my fear of heights. Mine also stems from a similar experience when as a child maybe around eight as we were visiting San Francisco, my father held my younger sister up on a fence over looking the bay, it was very windy and I thought for sure the wind was going to blow her over the edge and plummet her to the bottom.
Thanks for sharing your heart with us and being faithful to Proverbs 31 ministries. You may never know how far your words will reach. Thanks for reaching out and blessing my soul today.
Oh Tracie, you just totally made my day. You are right. There are many days when you are writing, or preparing, or studying that you have no idea what God will do with that, because it’s mostly unseen. Your words filled me up. Thank you. <3 <3
I am reading “An Unburdened Heart” and it rocks my world! Thank you for your obedience to God and for sharing it with others. Such a sweet blessing! I conquered my own fear of heights by scaling Angel’s Landing on 6/5/2011, my 42nd birthday. It was one of the best moments of my life and I will do it again, God willing. (I live in St George, Utah, near Zion National Park.) My best friend and I live far apart, but we have been reading books and doing Bible studies by phone for years. I am going to suggest we do your new book next. It’s relevant to all human beings. =) Everyone has people to forgive. God bless you for helping us keep moving in the process!
Oh my goodness. That just made my heart beat a little faster. : ) You see, that fear will always linger at the corner of my heart, but it doesn’t get to stay there. You may have just given me a new bucket list item! Maybe I need to get the word out when I’m overcoming a fear and see how many people show up to overcome it with me! : ) What do you think?
THANK YOU, Suzie.
Truth and grace in forgiveness and letting go of my fears is just where I desire to walk daily with Jesus.
One of my biggest fears is forgiveness. I think sometimes that I have forgiven someone, especially after seeking God about it for years, but then something triggers a feeling I have that does not show forgiveness in my heart…
Remember that a feeling is just that. Don’t give it more weight than it deserves. Forgiving doesn’t mean that it won’t try to rise up, or that you won’t face it again. It just is given it’s rightful place in your heart and life. You, with God’s help, recognize it and share the truth, which is that you have forgiven and live as a forgiver, and those feelings are real and you unpack them and deal with them, but they don’t define who you are. Right?!
Thanks for your encouragement to overcome your fear of heights. At one time in my life I was so filled with fear I couldn’t leave my home. I dreaded everyday and knew that I couldn’t live like this. I was in chains from all fears I had. Each day I took on a small fear one step at a time. Baby steps with God right beside me. I am happy to say I no longer shackled in chains of fear. Memorizing scripture helped me so much and growing closer to Jesus helped me to realise I didn’t need to fear. I still struggle with certain fears and one of them is heights. I also fear traveling out of country I live in Canada. I know I need to feel the fear and do it anyways. I heard a phrase once fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. I’m so proud of you and encouraged by you that you faced your fears and how your confidence grew! I look forward to seeing that in my life with God’s help and know I will be blessed by him. Thanks so much!!!
The word of God is so powerful! Thanks Emme, for sharing this.
Thank you so much for sharing. I have read your blog several times and was glad to see God lead me back today. My greatest fear is that I will be wrong in my trust that God’s word is really applicable to me. I feel so unworthy and have to fight to believe. I don’t really know what that says about me but it’s the feeling I have. I would appreciate your prayers. God bless you for sharing your heart.
Oh Lisa, we are all unworthy. Can we just acknowledge that together? Even John the Baptist said, “He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” But that simply makes His love for us that much greater. He came for “all the world”. He loves “all the world”. Our names are engraved upon the palm of His hand. I am praying with you today a prayer that is called “spiritual understanding” by Paul the Apostle. It was his prayer for the church of Ephesus.
It’s my prayer for you today, too. The scriptures begin in Ephesians 1:15
15For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints,16do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.18I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,19and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might20which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.22And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,23which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Put your name in this, Lisa. It’s for you. It’s for all of us.
Forgiveness is one area that God has been working on in my life this past year. Your book ” The Unburdened Heart” sounds like it deals with everything that God has been trying to teach me! I think I need to add it to my must read list!
I hope you do, Amanda. And my prayer is that it will be a source of encouragement and transformation. Forgiving, and God leading us out of those things that hold us bound, can absolutely change the direction of our lives. It frees our hearts to be all that God knows we can be.
The struggle to forgive is a lifelong one. It took real effort for me to acknowledge that I was hurt, my hurts were legitimate, but that Jesus forgave those that hurt me, just like he forgave me. But hurts will happen again, and again I have to chose to forgive those who injure and allow God to respond not only to my hurts, but to their choices. God is loving and just.
So I have realized today, after reading this blog, that I don’t know how to forgive. Funny enough, I have counseled my husband and a dear friend in forgiving and they have found it helpful. So I know the right things to say, I am just now realizing I have no idea how to apply any of those “right things” to my own life. I have a laundry list of past hurts and regrets, as most do, but I can not let them go and I am realizing its because I have not truly forgiven (them and myself). And The Lord is telling me today that it is literally eating me alive. I have multiple health issues, with the main issue being severe anxiety, and, DUH, maybe it is from not truly forgiving. I love how The Lord works, I have not been reading your blog in many months because we moved and I forgot to update you with my new email address…until yesterday. And today I find this in my inbox. Love it! And Him! Hoping your book, with The Lord, can help me out! Thank you!
Missy, you are today’s winner of the giveaway copy of The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness! I emailed you privately. : )
I am facing a lot of different fears right now. I am getting ready to quit my working life as I know and stay at home to homeschool my children. Talk about leap of faith!!! This is the kind of encouragement that is good to hear and let me know that everything will be alright!! I just have to have faith and let it go! My children are depending on me to face this fear, so I need to be courageous for them. Thanks for all of your meaningful words
Thank you so much for sharing! My biggest struggle is trusting God. I definitly need to “let go” of control! Blessings!
Thank you, Suzie! This is SO an area I struggle with, so reading that it’s ‘normal’ is freeing in itself! You are a blessing to many! 🙂
Thank you so much for this devotional. I too have fear of heights but as I read this blog it was clear to me that other fears do exist as well. Worrying about family, and other concerns. I am taking a closer walk with God and I hope that you keep me in your prayers.
I have continually been blessed reading your blog, your writing style has always drawn me in, the way you encourage us by what God has taught you is awesome! I’m sure the book must be fabulous!
Thank you, Heather!
I just had to share your story with a friend of mine who just zipped in Colorado. Perfect timing!!
Forgiveness, such a huge thing to do on a daily basis. Can’t wait to read this book. Thank you Suzanne for all your encouragement and devotion to helping others.
I’ve always wanted to zip-line and do have that on my bucket list but didn’t realize that by doing it, it could release me from bondages real or imagined. Due to a difficult childhood, my confidence is somewhat challenged and doing things like air boat rides, zip-lines, and parasailing, build by self-esteem. My God is always leading me into situations where my faith is challenged but I know He never leaves me or forsakes me. So….hand in hand with Him, I know we can conquer any mountain. Thank you for sharing and giving me the assurance that I too “can be free”. God bless you as you continue to encourage others.
Fear of flying! I have been working on that one for a long time now.
I have worked with women since I personally learned how important forgiveness is in 1995. The ministry has been fulfilling. The Unburdened Heart has been as life changing as Victory Over Darkness was in 1995. Daily I visit forgiveness, the words that were life changing for me were: I chose to forgive______for ______and it made me feel___________. The thought that I do not need to forgive myself because that is God’s job and if I claim I John 1:9, he is faithful to forgive me. I made some big mistakes and have had some big hurts. In 1989, I felt marriage was a prison sentence, I made a decision after a short separation to stay with my husband. I forgave him in 1995 for the twenty plus years of pain, which lead me to fall in love with my husband again. We celebrate forty three years next month. I have had bosses that have hurt me but one was a change agent in my life and I have my bachelor’s and master’s degree because of her. The other one made me take stock and I made a career change and gave up management. Lastly, I have had many fears, I feared failure and I feared success, I feared being fat and I fear being thin, I feared pain and I live in pain. Each day, God’s grace is sufficient to meet my needs. I am the adult daughter of an alcoholic (I also forgave my dad in 1995) but this does not define me because I can be confident in the work that God began in me, he will complete. As far as my father is concerned, he walked 15 years as an alcoholic but he has walked 45 years with the Lord. Blessings my friend. Diana
Oh Diana, what a powerful testimony!
Thank you, Suzie. I am in awe of his majesty. If you ever need a testimony, just ask. Blessings. Diana
My husband & I both have “unhealed areas in our soul” I truly believe this book would teach me a great deal & enable better communication with my husband b /c of what I would learn. Is this book just for women or is it OK for men to read? ~
While I wrote it for women, the topic and the scriptural foundation is absolutely relevant for men. Father, heal this beautiful couple. Take those unhealed areas in their souls and fill the gaps with knowledge, with joy, with peace, and with a heart for those who have experienced those same experiences and who are seeking answers. In Jesus’ name, amen.
My fear of rejection lingers in the background….in such a subtle way that sometimes I don’t even notice it. Then something happens and it rears it’s ugly head. It has kept me from doing so much, being more of who I believe God wants me to be, and taking chances. All because I fear I’ll be rejected yet one more time in my life. My favorite bible verse is found in Psalms. It simply says “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” I need to trust Him more and remind myself that He won’t reject me….(By the way Suzie…I have zip-lined too and it can be scary even when I wasn’t afraid of the heights! But so fun, too….freeing, which is what God longs for us, right??)
Hey Rochelle, I love your honesty. You are so right. Whatever our fears are, they can get in the way. A fear of rejection can have deep roots, but I love that we are assured that we have been “grafted into the vine”. That means that whatever my roots were before I became a believer, they have now been transplanted into original soil, hosted by, fed by, nurtured by our Heavenly Father. People will fail us. But who are we? Whose are we? Where do we find our source of being? : ) When we grasp that identity in Christ, we give people their rightful place. We see them in all stages of wholeness or brokenness, but they lose the power to define us. Our confidence is truly in Christ. You are His, Rochelle. Grafted in. His girl. His child. That’s your anchor.
I heard you speak at the Hearts at Home Conference in Bloomington, IL in March 2013 and was very moved by your message there. I’ve been reading “The Mom I Want To Be” and look forward to reading “The Unburdened Heart”. Thanks for your daily words of encouragement via e-mail and God bless you as you continue encouraging others!
Hi Susan, I love the HAH conference, and I met so many beautiful and amazing women there. I’m so grateful that M2B is ministering to you. I hope you’ll stay in touch and share as you go through The Unburdened Heart. : ) Blessings, Susan!
My husband and I are in the process of finding a home church. This last Sunday we visited a particular one for the second time and the topic preached about was forgiveness. At the end of the service there was an altar call for those who had areas in their life in which they needed to let go and forgive. I felt I needed to go forward but at the time couldn’t put my finger on exactly why and I ignored the prompting to go forward. Later that day I knew this was a mistake. God had been giving me the opportunity to let go of a few big things I’d been carrying with me for far too long, but He is faithful and patient and He hasn’t given up on that in me because then He led me to your post and book. Thank you for your willingness to be used by God. God bless!
(the link on my name in my original comment is not me, sorry about the error)
Can we make this a sacred alter right now? May we kneel, sister to sister, at the mercy seat of Christ and hold our hands up, cupped, to receive all that He’s offering. Oh, Father, let us give to You anything we’ve held on to that holds us back. In Jesus’ powerful name, amen. And thank you, Savior, that You love us enough to shine a light on those areas and draw us to wholeness.
Amen. Thank you and God bless!
Hi Suzie! I attended a session that you moderated at She Speaks 2012, and am looking forward to She Speaks again this year! Just a comment about fear of heights – my fear stems from a very similar situation in my childhood where I was the kid my dad held on a very tall ledge of a building! Your overcoming a fear of heights is very encouraging to me, and also a great metaphor (as you mention) for our Christian faith. Very inspirational!
Sometimes fear in our faith keeps us from going where God desires, but also where our own heart desires. I want to be in the center of His will. To experience His greatest love. To watch people find and discover that love for themselves. That’s my heartbeat, and yet fear can get in the way. May we all celebrate when He leads us into the harder parts of our faith. May we see it for what it is — not a mountain, but a journey to a higher place where we experience God on a greater level.
Thanks so much for this, fear is something I’m trying to conqueror and letting go to let God take care of it is a big part of it. One of my favorite verses that I recite when I’m facing fear is Psalm 18:1-2.
I love you, Lord, you are my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection,
He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.
When I say it out loud and proclaim it, I feel so powerfully filled with the confidence I claim in Christ Jesus! 🙂
Just this week I am writing about the power of God’s Word in our lives. It truly rewires us, gives hope, offers direction, lifts us from the “miry clay” — a place that sure sounds like being stuck to me! I love the verses you shared.
I really could use some help letting go of some unforgiveness in important relationships. I love your encouragement and the power of God’s truth in our hearts.