"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
Martin Luther King Jr.
My oldest daughter is six and one of her teachers at church tells me that she is the first to offer to lead worship during their children's church service. Yesterday, our worship leader called our house and asked if she could sing a short solo for the Christmas Eve service and my outgoing daughter dissolved into tears. She was terrified at the thought of singing in front of people.
It didn't matter that she had done it before. She didn't hear us as we pointed out that she loves to perform for us all the time and reminded her of leading worship in children's church.
"I can't. I just can't" she kept crying over and over.
Fear is not a new struggle for her. Over her short life we have seen fear get a strangle hold around her. When she was two, it was a gymnastics class, when she was four, it was a set of shots. My husband and I prayed for wisdom. We didn't really care whether she sang at the Christmas Eve service - what we cared about was not letting her be ruled by her fears. We talked with her, prayed with her and told her we would take it one step at a time and that we wanted her to at least learn the song.
She wasn't happy but she eventually calmed down last night.
Today as we walked into the church for her rehearsal, she again turned into a corner and began to weep saying that she didn't want to and that she couldn't do it. I prayed, talked to her and after much cajoling got her into the practice room. Eventually we got her to sing through her tearful hiccups. Before too long I was able to leave the room. Ten minutes later she was singing on the large stage with a mike in hand and right now she is downstairs praticing the song - over and over and over again.
She asked me if I was going to make her sing on stage. When I said "yes", she said "Yeah!"
And I was grateful. It's hard to know when to push, and when to let go. My parents never pushed me and there are times I wish they had. That fear my daughter struggles with - it's not from God. It is from someone who doesn't want her to try new things and have the chance to discover the gifts within her. I want her to know that we serve a God that pushes us beyond our limits so that we will learn to trust Him - not ourselves, not the results - but Him - that He will never leave us, that we can do ALL things through Him.
It's not an easy lesson, whether you're six, or sixteen or sixty and I think it's one we continually have to learn. Being brave is not the absence of fear, but a willingness to press on despite the fear and have faith in the One who sees the beginning from the end.
I know that every time I walk my daughter through the process of moving from fear to faith, she'll grow stronger and be more willing to trust in God's strength instead of her own. I wonder today what God might be asking you to do that scares you. I hope you will let God take your hand and walk you through it. And instead of looking at what you CAN'T do, try looking at what He CAN do.