Like most people, in May 2020, I had been self-isolating and locked down in my home for several months following the covid-19 hysteria. As a policy response, the UK government permitted residents to leave their homes only for limited purposes. One of such was for “one form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.” To prevent the likelihood of losing my mind, I decided to leave home and drive to the Peak District – to walk around its “stunning landscapes, with reservoirs, viaducts, cycleways and varied wildlife and habitats.” I made a stunning discovery during this walk, and I hope you don’t mind I share some lessons from this experience with you.
With a scenic backdrop of rolling hills and lush meadows, I had set off on my mission to reach the mountain peaks by following fixed trails. I quickly tackled the rough terrain, dodging sheep droppings, pausing for the occasional sip of water, and indulging my camera. An hour and a half in, when I was within metres of the pinnacle, I was suddenly jolted by surging emotions. A paralytic feeling of fear, anxiety and panic came upon me.
Suddenly, I could move no further. Looking down the mountain sent shivers down my spine. I immediately became crippled by ‘my age-old’ fear of heights. I panicked from imaginations of falling off the ledge. At this exact moment, I received profound insight into a challenge of life. It occurred to me that Everyone will face a few high mountains in their lives. For some, it will be their careers; and for others, their relationships.
Just when you’re about to reach your goal, to ‘smash’ that target or achieve ‘your’ success, you will face three fiery demons – fear, anxiety and worry.
In his famous book The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan noted that “Despair” and “Fear” will always be hard at work, trying to send us into their “Doubting Castle” to be imprisoned, beaten, and starved of confidence. John depicted Despair and Fear as authoritarians who will initially appear appealing and non-threatening, only to manifest their ill-intentions and sheer cruelty, laced with pure disdain. In this ‘castle’ of self-doubt, these authoritarians will frighten us into possibly quit, harbour suicidal thoughts, or consider withdrawing or retirement. Despair and Fear will almost convince us to abandon our mission.
BUT, to reach our respective peaks, we must never give in to Fear and Despair. Despite the challenges of life, a breakthrough may be within reach. Remember, you have in you everything required for every good work. You have the ‘Power of Creation’ living within you. The God who lives in you is more significant than whatever intimidates or frightens you. Fear is a lie. Resist the lies, take hold of the armour of faith and press forward towards your goal.