Thursday, November 07, 2013

Facing Fear

Recently a few friends and I volunteered at Ironman Florida. An Ironman is a long course triathlon consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, a bike ride of 112 miles, followed by a 26.2 mile run. It’s truly an endurance event lasting all day and, for many, into the night.

Some of my friends have done them, and I want to do one too. (Insert "Crazy!" "Nuts!" comments here.) I can ride and run the distance. My problem is swimming. Two years ago I couldn’t dog paddle to save my life. Literally. The water terrified me, but my desire to learn to swim was greater than my fear of drowning.

It has been a long journey and I’m still not there, but I’ve never been alone. From the first frightful night in the pool, my friends have encouraged and helped me. While at Ironman, I donned my wetsuit and made my way into the rough water. Two friends went in with me, while two watched from the shore.

The nearby presence of accomplished swimmers, coupled with watchful eyes on shore, took away (most of) the fear. I gained confidence and believe, a year from now, I will complete the open water swim.

Reflecting on this experience, I see a picture of God’s presence and protection. God, I believe, often makes his presence known through other people, reminding us we don’t have to face our fears alone. I am thankful for supportive and protective friends. I’m sure you are too.

I am thankful to receive support and protection, and I hope to be a representative of God’s support and protection in the lives of others facing fears. Maybe you would like to too? Let’s keep our eyes open for opportunities today.

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