The View From the Top



When I visited Paris two summers ago, taking the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower held little appeal for me. Although I’m not exactly terrified of heights, I'd much rather avoid them. Standing at the foot of the tower, it seemed so enormous. Much more massive than it appeared in pictures. I only went to the first-level observation deck, but as I walked along and looked down, I got a little dizzy. But when I looked out, the view was quite different. All I could see was beauty. Paris was all around me.


As I talked about my trip with a friend recently, he thought I had definitely missed out by not going to the top of the tower. Since he’s extremely adventurous, he told me I'd gone all the way to Paris so why not experience it all? 

But sometimes I listen to the loud voices of my fears. I hear them telling me to stay where it’s safe. I hear them warn me not to get in a precarious spot. I hear them shout that it’s too risky to go out on that limb since there's a lot that could go wrong out there.



Fear of disappointment tells me to avoid having any hopes so they can’t be dashed.

Fear of regretting what I’ll say tells me to keep quiet so I won’t make a mistake.

Fear of not being perfect tells me to control it all so everything will meet my unrealistic expectations.

Fear of looking foolish tells me to stay guarded to avoid being vulnerable in my friendships and relationships.



But those voices of fear don’t tell the whole story. I can choose to listen to them beat a drumbeat over my life. Or I can lean a little closer to listen to what God is whispering to me.

Last week I had lunch with a friend I hadn't seen in a while. I always enjoy our time together but I just didn't feel like sharing. I was tired of talking. I was thinking about postponing it. Then I heard the words, This lunch isn't about you. I thought about ignoring that nudge but instead I kept the lunch on my calendar. 

When I asked my friend how she'd been, she said she was in the middle of a difficult situation but she wasn't sure she wanted to share it with me. But we both decided to talk and promised to pray. She sent me a text as soon as she left the restaurant that she prayed for me as she drove out of the parking lot. And I felt ashamed that I had almost let my selfish feelings take the lead. Even though I tried to encourage her, I left our lunch feeling more encouraged by her words than I had in weeks. 



I wonder when I'll realize that God always has more for me than I can imagine.

When I tell God that I don’t have anything anyone would want to read, he unearths a long-ago memory or brings an idea to mind. And I start to think that I have a story worth telling.

When I tell God that I don’t have what it takes and I can’t do it, he whispers that he is enough. And I start to believe that He’s given me what I need to live out what’s required of me today.

When I tell God that what he’s given me is too hard, he whispers that I’m strong in him. And I start to believe that he’s beside me in what I’m walking through.

If I had listened to my fears, I wouldn't have traveled to Paris. If I had listened to what fear says, I would never have started writing my thoughts and posting them on the internet for all to read on a blog. If I had listened to fear's clamoring, I would have never said yes to a first date. But in taking all those first steps forward, fear takes a step back. 

Instead of looming large and blocking my way, fear shrinks back to the periphery, back to the edges of my life. It's still there, but just a shadow of its former self. A poor imitation of something large and powerful instead of casting a shadow over my life as big as the Eiffel Tower.



In Paris, the Eiffel Tower was what I was most excited to see. At lunch in the first-level restaurant I found it hard to believe that I was actually sitting inside this world-famous monument. As I took my first taste of an exquisite French dessert, the view on my plate was pretty spectacular. 

And now when I remember that extraordinary panorama, I think the next time I go to Paris I’d like to take my fears for a ride and see what the view is like from the top of the Eiffel Tower.


I'm linking up with the wonderful writers over at God-sized Dreams today. Click the image to read their stories about their dreams and their fears.



Comments

  1. Holly Gerth refers to fear as a 'barking Chihuahua' and I think it's the perfect description for it. It's always right there yipping at our heels. I'm so glad you didn't listen to the lies of fear!! You are here for a reason and you have a beautiful writing voice. It's always a treat to drop in here and read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Alecia! I've so appreciated getting to know you through your blog and the link-up at God-sized Dreams. Your kind words mean so much!

      Delete
  2. Inspiring words! No one would never do anything spectacular if they listened to their fear! Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, there are great rewards in facing fear, I know that is true!

      Delete
  3. Thank you for shedding light on the ways that fear quietly but persistently chips away at our zeal for the big things God prepares for us. At work, my fears are continuously stretched & challenged. I know I need that same push in my personal life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marilyn,
      You are such an encouragement to me here and in our group! Just doing what you do and living where you live takes courage that I wouldn't ever have! Thank you for inspiring me . . .

      Delete
  4. Fear is an ever present temptation for me. It's good to be reminded not to give in. Thanks for the great post!
    Christy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christy,
      Your fearless quest to write speaks of great courage to me -- you constantly drive fear into the shadows and I endlessly admire that!

      Delete
  5. I have a sticky note taped to my desk that says "fear is the greatest enemy of your future." There is a song called "Voice of Truth" that talks about listening to the voice of TRUTH and not the voice of fear. To step out of our comfort zone, into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is. If it were only that easy!! I am so thankful that you did not give in to fear and made the decision to start your beautiful blog. You have such a gift for being able to reveal what all of us feel at times, yet we can't even find the words to express. I also love looking at your gorgeous pictures - Paris is on my bucket list. Hopefully someday!!! -Shawna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shawna, I love that song, too, the words are so powerful! Thank you so much for reading and sending your sweet words my way -- your encouragement means more than you can know. I know you would love Paris -- with your Parisian sense of style, you would feel like you were right at home!

      Delete
  6. I can lean a little closer to listen to what God is whispering to me. <--- These words are Divine. I hope to act on those whispers too. I tend to be afraid. Trying to be bolder for Him and me! :) I would like to see Paris too some day...thanks for sharing your big and small adventures here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenn,
      I think God blesses even our tiniest efforts to be brave! And thank you for your sweet words . . . praying for you!

      Delete
  7. We grow as we fight our fears and know that we can overcome anything with God's help. I stayed stuck for many years and I was withering away. No more! Great post Valerie..and that view and dessert look awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, Yes! We can overcome our fears with God's help -- love how you are moving forward!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading -- I love to hear your comments! To leave a comment, you can choose an ID in the "comment as" box or just choose anonymous. Choose your ID first, write your comment in the box and hit publish. Your comment will be visible just as soon as I can post it!

Popular Posts