I loved connecting with the girls and I loved watching them disconnect from their fears. One does not conquer one’s fears by succumbing to them. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear….” (2 Timothy 1:7) Fear is NOT from God. Fear is binding, limiting and enslaving. It is not something to be avoided nor is it something to be pampered. Instead it is something to be faced and vanquished.
“This is actually fun,” Angie said almost incredulously, as she paddled her kayak in Pineview Reservoir. Initially she’d refused to get in the water. Lured by the fun everyone else seemed to be having (and by the cute boys who were kayaking off shore), she donned a life vest, boarded a kayak, and enjoyed herself. Lisa and Kristen, also initial kayak-refusers, ended up spending over an hour in the lake, sometimes inside the kayak and sometimes in the water beside it. Elaine, who has “boat issues”, paddled around near shore in a kayak. Empowering.
Horses scare some people. Both Linda and Sina entered the arena carrying a bad horse experience; Sina broke her arm in her last horse experience and Linda tipped her last horse over when trying to mount it. Both of them wanted to ride a horse again and were terrified to do so. Most of us have felt that—conflicting desires, one urging us to try/do/say/be something and one fearfully urging us to stay safely inert. With a little encouragement from a lot of people, both got back up on a horse. Linda called her mom immediately. “I did it, I did it!” she exalted. Sina posted on her Facebook page “Goal accomplished got back on a horse”.
The high adventures ropes course certainly facilitated fear-facing and fear conquering situations. Initially Elaine and Angie would not even enter the gate. In the end, both were in harnesses tackling the climbing wall. Elaine’s self-reported take-home message from youth conference: “I faced my fears.” YEA YOU girlfriend!
My Grace, who cannot think of anything she of which she is afraid, had a fear-facing experience. One of the course’s obstacles is a free standing pole, about 2 stories high and 12 inches wide, with metal rods on the side. Participants use the rods to climb up the pole until they reach the top at which point they free stand for a moment, rotate 180 degrees with arms outspread and jump off. Scary enough when you can see. Grace did it blindfolded.
How did Grace do blindfolded what most people fear to do sighted? Trust. The course facilitator challenged her to do it blindfolded and promised to verbally guide her to the top. She trusted him. She trusted him enough both to put on the blindfold and then to follow his instructions. And she made it. To the top.
Isn’t trust what conquering fear is all about? Trusting that the harness and rope will not let you fall from the climbing wall, trusting that the life jacket will not let you drowned in the lake, trusting that the horse handler knows her stuff when she says the horse is gentle, trusting that the leaders have your best interests at heart, trusting the other youth to be encouraging and supportive… Trust conquers fear.
And how does one develop trust? Connections. It’s all about connections. We trust each other because we have connected. Time, circumstances, and choices have forged positive connects between us and because we have positive connections, we have trust. And we can use that trust to conquer fears.
It is all about connections with God too. We learn to trust God when we become connected to Him. When we use time, choice circumstances, and make choices that put ourselves on His path, we forge positive connections with Him and because we have positive connections with Him, we trust Him. And we can use our trust in Him to conquer fears. All fears.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
“All things work together for good to them that love God.” (Romans 8:28)
Connecting with God creates trust. Trust in God eliminates fears. Trusting God means that we know that no matter what happens, all things will work together for our good. “It will all work out.” (President Hinkley)
I am not sure what the youth took home from their youth conference activity but this is a message I hope they got:
- It’s all about connections
- Connecting with others helps you face and conquer fears
- Connecting with God will help you face and conquer all fears
- Connect with God
It’s all about connections.