Fear is either a stepping stone or a stumbling block
“Don’t stop dreaming, don’t stop hoping, don’t let the river of life smooth your edges so that you are indistinguishable. You can choose to let life shape you into something beautiful. Similarly, let the hardships you go encounter become your stepping stones.”
Our choices shape our lives
I recently spoke on the radio about how fear can either be a stumbling block or a stepping stone in our lives. One’s life is made up of a series of choices. However, those seemingly insignificant choices, when added up, make a lifetime of moments that end up directing us into a particular path. For instance, when my dad became ill with cancer, I remember thinking about our mortality. The decision to not leave things unsaid became very real for me because the fear of vulnerability has the potential to isolate one from deep relationships.
Consequently, one of my values now is to live with love in mind. Therefore, I consciously choose love wherever I can. It doesn’t mean I get it right all the time, but it was a stepping stone to live a more intentional love-filled life.
Firstly, what little choices do you need to make today to own to your fears?
Secondly, what other small decisions do you need to make to step across onto a different trajectory?
Fear is a reaction to a stimulus that causes us to think that we are in danger.
One night I thought I heard a noise in my house, for instance. I later realized that it was just a dream. Because fear used to trigger a heart-racing, hand-sweating response to normal noises such as a car driving past outside or the wind rattling our windows, I wanted to react. But, then as I woke, I knew I had a choice to make. Would I allow the fear of being attacked by an intruder to rear its head again? I decided to think for a moment, then breathed and finally looked around. It was just a dream, and so I relaxed and fell asleep again.
A prayer that helped me through the night watches
Prayer helps us step up and over. Moreover, studies show that prayer is not only good for your spiritual life but for our body too. It brings your heart rate and blood pressure down. In an excerpt from my journal, dated 16 October 2015, I wrote about my desire to see my grief turned into joy (see John 16:20). After many anxious nights, I penned this prayer. “Lord, I give you my fears and the control over protecting my family. I surrender to you my dreams, my nights and my days. I give you my feeling of being scared, and I give you my heaviness. All of these have been stumbling stones, and I ask that you turn them into stepping stones. Amen.”
We are never the same person day after day. Healing takes time and growth takes time.
“The best way to treat obstacles is to use them as stepping stones. Laugh at them, tread on them and let them lead you to something better,” Enid Blyton in Mr. Galliano’s Circus.
How about viewing your battle against fear as a stepping stone?
Fear doesn’t need to control your life. You can use what the enemy intended for harm to become a stepping stone for you and your family.
Smith Wigglesworth, a general of the faith who overcame significant obstacles, wrote these inspirational words, “Great faith is the product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs are the outcome of great trials. Every stumbling block must become a stepping stone. And every opposition must become an opportunity.”
Lessons I learned from using stepping stones to get to the other side of fear
Stepping stones enable people to cross from one walkway to another.
Everyone has a story. What is yours? If something is holding you back, then take the first step. Are you struggling with the victim mindset? Do you need to get someone to journey with you?
Galatians 5:13 gives us a beautiful insight into how to live as victors: we are called to live in freedom, but not to use our liberty to gratify our sinful nature. Then in verse 16, Paul, writing to the early believers, reminds them (and us today) to let the Holy Spirit guide their lives. Why? Because a victim sometimes indulges the flesh with feelings of self-pity and helplessness. The Holy Spirit produces fruit in our lives as we grow in maturity and understanding. We overcome a victim mentality by living according to the spirit of God. Therefore, the fruit of the Spirit as spoken of in Galatians 5 produces healing from fear in your life.
An overcomer’s mindset is a progressive mindset.
Use a stepping stone as action towards a specific goal.
A goal is simply a dream with wings. Are you able to visualize yourself free from the specific fear you struggle with on a regular basis? Write it down, think about it and start heading in that direction.
A stepping stone helps you cross over to the other side and opens up a new vista
A raised stone was used on its own or in a series of steps to help the person cross the stream. Each little decision we make influence who we become tomorrow.
Most importantly, the only difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone is the way in which you use them. Let your fight against fear in your life become a stepping stone to a healed, victorious and stronger you.
Take your pick from stepping stones of:
- Letting go
- Permission to make mistakes
In conclusion, ultimately, the choice is yours. These stepping stones can become healing stones.