A few years ago, I spoke to a wise person about fear, but shortly after explaining it, I rushed to say, as any good Christian would, that, like Peter, I was well aware that despite this fear, I had to get out of the boat,
That’s how one walks on water, after all.
For me, to stay in the boat, felt very, very wrong. Because, it meant that I wasn’t responding to Jesus’ call, and that’s not who I wanted to be. But also, to step out of the boat made some (quite important) part of me feel strangely abandoned, and I was getting a bit tired of that.
For those of us who have worked on anxiety a little, I think sometimes we perceive its presence as a constant call to plough through, rather than a genuine need to step back and listen from where that fear is coming, first.
I think sometimes it’s both, but it’s almost always the latter. I think the latter might actually, at times, communicate an internal truth that is, in actual fact, crying out to be heard and tended to, rather than cast aside and thoughtlessly, continuously, immersed into deep waters.
In these moments, fear might even be protecting us from drowning, because walking on the water wasn’t for this moment. The boat was.
I think we just need to tune in,
before we decide whether to plough,
or whether to pause.
I think, particularly when our fears are anchored in how we feel others will perceive us, then we have to also be particularly careful we don’t confuse ploughing through, as choosing the right thing, or as responding to Jesus’ call.
What’s to say it’s simply just, as it looks: the people around us thinking thoughts (as they do), seeing things differently (as they do), and that, in actual fact, doesn’t have some deeper personal challenge woven into it? (To ‘choose the hard, going-against-the-grain thing’).
What if that’s quite okay for them to offer these thoughts? But that, this doesn’t always mean these perceptions have to always be acted upon?
Facing our fear, might actually be honouring what we know is important to us right now, and that might stand in contrast to what others perceive to be best for us sometimes.
What if, honouring what we know and feel, is actually, in effect, stepping out of the boat, too?