We spent yesterday at The City Museum in St. Louis. I spent the day climbing through tubes, running up and down ramps and sliding down slides. This morning, my 37-year-old body is telling me that I'm not 8 years old. I think every muscle in my body is protesting any movement at all.
As I contemplate moving from my chair, I'm struck by the things that we do for our children. In that picture at the top of this post, you'll find me and my youngest climbing across a tube that had to be at least 20 feet in the air -- all in pursuit of a slide to go down. The funny thing about that picture is I'm afraid of heights. I'm the person who sobbed all the way down the spiral staircase at the Statue of Liberty when I was a teenager. When we lived in Chicago, I always got queasy when we went to the top of the Sears Tower. I don't even like to stand at the top of a tall staircase.
Yet, yesterday when my youngest said, will you take me to that slide, I looked at it, swallowed my fear and climbed -- and climbed and climbed. (My oldest daughter and my husband had already declared their intentions to remain firmly planted on solid ground.) Rather than disappoint my daughter, I said, "Sure, let's go."
On our trip up to the slide, I discovered the key to not turning into a sobbing puddle of goo was to simply keep my eyes firmly planted on my daughter's back. As long as I didn't look down, I could deal with the fear. One glance down, though, reminded me that I was way outside my comfort zone. So, for our two trips through the tube, I kept my eyes glued to the back of my daughter's Mickey Mouse T-shirt.
As I climbed, it struck me that God sometimes asks us to step out in faith and do something that scares us. Putting my first foot in that seemingly flimsy tube was an act of faith. Knowing the only thing that stood between me and plunging to the ground was a good welding job required a certain level of faith. The same is true when we do what God asks of us. It requires faith to step out on a new journey with God. It requires us to believe that God is going to lead us and protect us.
Stepping out in faith also requires us to keep our eyes firmly planted on God. Remember the story of Peter walking on the water? As long as Peter had his eyes on Jesus, he was able to stay above the waves. But what happened, when Peter focused on the wind and the waves? "But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30)
When God asks us or our kids to do something, we don't have to be afraid -- no matter the outside circumstances. We simply have to keep our eyes focused on Him. The next time you or your kids are faced with God asking you to do something that scares you, try these things to keep your eyes on Him:
1. Remember Peter. Read Matthew 14: 22-33. Talk with your kids about how Peter was able to do the impossible when he was focused on Jesus. It was only when he focused on the circumstances that he became afraid.
2. Create a prayer word. Brainstorm a word that you can use to remind each other to pray about the situation. If God is asking your child to make a new friend or be nice to someone who is mean to them, think of word that describes the situation. Encourage your child to pray about the situation every time they hear that word.
3. Encourage one another. Pray for your child in their situation, and ask your kids to pray for you. Offer encouraging words or notes that remind your child that God is not going to ask them to do more than He is prepared to help them with.
4. Print off a picture of some clipart eyes. Post those eyes where your child can see them. Ask your child to remember every time he sees the eyes to keep his eyes focused on Jesus.
God sometimes asks us to do things that we think we can't do. He asks us to put aside our fears and focus on Him. We can accomplish great things for God as long as our eyes are on Him and not straying to the waves and the wind.