The pier seemed to stretch to the middle of Lake Michigan. It was a clear divide. One side still as a summer night. One side as rambunctious as a toddler thrown down in full declaration of his will.
As I stood at the start of the pier, the end seemed completely out of reach. To reach the end, I’d have to face the strength of the wind to my right and the force of the waves as they pounded the walkway. Rather than a peaceful pier stroll, for me, it was a walk filled with the taunts and distractions of fear. The wind roared in my ears. My heart drummed so loudly I was certain it could be heard over the crashing waves.
“Why haven’t they closed this pier?” I wondered. It seemed far too dangerous. No guard rails held up their protective embrace.
My family felt none of the emotions I struggled through. They laughed and played all the way to the clear end. I, on the other hand, baby-stepped my way plank by terrifying plank.
“What if the wind sent Andrew in the water?”
“What if the brothers are goofing off and someone accidentally falls in?”
“What if they don’t see how slippery the pier is and end up fighting the lake that behaves like a sea.”
I never made it to the end of the pier. Fear kept me barely past the start, never progressing. Fear won.
Later I looked at the picture and videos I captured of that scene. If I turned to the left, the water was calm, still, and peaceful. If I turned to the right, the wind slapped water across my legs as it landed on the pier in repeat.
A clear divide separated peace and chaos.
On the side of peace, all lay still. The water glistened. Facing the side of peace, the wind was behind you, so the sound much less threatening. A turn in the opposite direction, the noise intensified, the danger warned to stay back.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Faith and fear don’t mix. When we choose faith, we silence fear. When we choose fear, we silence faith.
It’s a trust issue. Do we trust faith or fear? One way or the other, we are making a choice. Intentionally or not, it’s a choice. Whose hand will I reach for to hold me steady? Will I reach toward my faith even though I’m scared to death? Or will I reach toward my fear with trembling arms?
See, either way I may be scared at the start.
It’s all about focus. If I am fixed on Him, I experience His calm, soothing voice. If I’m fixed on my fears, all I hear are the threats of what-ifs.
On the last leg of our family road trip, we each shared favorite moments. The pier walk did not earn a spot on my favorites list because it was clouded with fear. But you know what? It did earn a spot on the list of everyone in my family who silenced fear and enjoyed the stroll.
If I live my life with the voice of fear constantly allowed to speak, I will remain stuck and never arrive at the end of the pier and experience the beauty waiting. I’ll stand at the beginning and watch everyone else lean towards faith as they experience the joy of watching fear fade into the shadow of lies from which it dawned.