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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Overcoming fear so you can finish

by Pam Roth
A couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of something that happened while I was in London with my youngest daughter.  I was a rookie to the Underground rail system; but my daughter had traveled to other cities where she had used subways and train systems to get around, so she was the one in charge of navigating us through the web of the Underground when we were out sightseeing.

One day, we were out on an adventure…standing in the Underground, waiting on a train to come.  It was extremely crowded on the platform that day, so my daughter said, “We are going to need to move quickly, if we are going to get on this train.”  Everyone could see the lights of the train coming down the track, so they began pushing toward the edge of the platform.  The train stopped, the doors opened, and the automated message came on, “mind the gap.” The crowd began to pour out as those of use waiting on the platform began to work our way toward the doors of the train.  My daughter had finished the task of making it on to the train with the rush of people.  I was the next person to get on the train, when all of sudden, this man came out of nowhere – jumped in front of me and caused me to be pushed back into the crowd.  Within that moment of hesitation, everything changed.  When I looked up across the gap between the platform and the train, I saw the doors of the train closing.  There I was, standing on the platform; while my daughter was on the train.

As the doors began to close, my daughter realized that I was not on the train with her; but it was too late.  There was no way for her to work her way through the crowd and out the doors before they would close, and I had missed my opportunity to get on the train.  Pressing into the large glass window panes of the train car, my daughter could see the distress on my face.  When I saw her, I cried out, ANDREA, as I stood frozen on that platform.

The train slowly began to move down the track, and as I followed it on the platform, I could see my daughter trying to communicate to me.  Of course, I couldn’t hear her, but I finally figured out what she was saying, “Get on the next train.”  “I’ll wait for you at the next stop.”

Such a simple solution…why couldn’t I have figured that out?  The truth is I was overtaken by fear.  Fear that I was going to separated from my daughter and I didn’t know how we would reconnect.  Fear that I was now alone in a country far from home.  And, fear – that without her – I could not navigate my way through the Underground system.  Fear of the unknown was powerful that day and it paralyzed me.

Today, we laugh when we tell this story but the day it happened, it wasn’t so funny.  My daughter loves to tell people that she can still see the look of fear that I had on my face.  She describes it, “As a mother who just watched her daughter be loaded up on a train to go to a refugee camp -  separated forever.”  And, you know what?  She’s not too far off with that description.  That pretty much sums up how I felt that day – separated from someone I love, alone and scared.
So, let me ask you a few questions… “What are some of the ways that you are ‘minding the gap’ between the way things seem to be and reality?”  “Who or what is causing you to hesitate in taking the next step?”  “How much are you struggling with the fear of the unknown?”

Here are some practical ways to overcome fear so you too can finish what’s at hand:

  • Be mindful of your surroundings – through prayer and observation
  • Stand on a firm foundation – by getting in step with God
  • Get the facts – don’t operate merely on the way things seem to be
  • Don’t hesitate to move out when you know it is the right thing to do – even if someone tries to cut you off on your path
  • Keep fear in check – it can paralyze you

Feel free to leave a comment.

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1 comment:

  1. Nelson & Pam: Thank you for these thought-provoking devotionals. I love getting them each week! Blessings, Naomi

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