This has been a trying week. In the middle of preparing to move to a new state, I was scheduled to work a week in Idaho. Specifically, I was working in the Idaho panhandle. After my 5 hour flight (including layover), it was an additional 6 hour drive (with the road construction) from the Spokane International Airport to Clarkston, WA where my hotel was located.
I didn’t want to eat at the airport because I have been trying to make healthier food choices. I get my rental car and start driving only to realize I am in the middle of the mountains and there are not a lot of pit stops. I see a sign for a Subway and take the next exit.
Back on the road again, I run into road construction. The two-lane highway became a one-lane highway. I was stuck for 30 minutes while the opposing lane passed. This happened twice.
In the last 30 minute leg of the drive, I had to cross a mountain. The kicker, I didn’t realize I was on a mountain until I happened to look over and see NOTHING. No trees, no guardrails – just a thousand feet drop if I veered to close to the edge. I was driving on the outer lane. I nearly panicked. I felt dizzy. I felt pressure in my ears. I had to quickly refocus and concentrate on the car in front of me.
There is something you should know about me, I am no fan of heights. I don’t even ride roller coasters. I asked God, why did He allow me to have to cross this mountain and be this scared? It was the thing I needed or expected.
I finally make it across and to my hotel. The billing was not correct. Thankfully, the girl at the Quality Inn was nice and said that we could figure it all out in the morning.
I get to my room and I vomit. I mean uncontrollable, projectile vomiting. I am not sure if it was food poisoning, travel stress, or the fear of dying that caused this but I was miserable. I tried to sleep but I keep waking up - stomach pain, alternately hot and cold. The morning comes and I force myself to eat 3 spoonful of oatmeal. I drive the 1.5 hours to the site, work, and then drive 1.5 hours back.
I call my mom to vent. She tells me, laughing, that God blinded me until I got too far to turn around. She said sometimes, you have to go through the mountain. It is not the end. She was right. I was angry, initially. I felt really strong afterward. I had crossed a flipping mountain.
With my anxiety abated, I took in the surroundings. Idaho is beautiful country. I probably never would have journeyed here on my own. If I had known I would have to cross a literal mountain, I would have turned around.
I began to think of all of the opportunities I had neglected due to fear. I always chose the safest route even if the destination was not where I truly wanted to be. Fear has kept me from expressing my truest feelings, afraid that I may lose the relationship and be alone. This trip has helped me to identify the real enemy – fear.
Fear is helpful. It is meant to keep you from physical danger. Fear can also be an emotional response to lack of control in other areas of life. I feared falling off the side of a mountain to my death. The fear of not being in control of where the road I was travelling was taking me magnified that emotion. I needed to redirect that energy and transform it into courage and into faith.
On my way back to the airport. I was prepared. I kept my eyes on the road and did not become distracted by the side of the cliff. There was still construction. There were still no guardrails but I was not afraid. After about 30 minutes, I was past it.
There are times in life that you have to face your biggest fear. You do it because there is something on the other side of that mountain that you need to get to – rest, provision, or goal. You do it because there is no other choice. I wanted God to keep me from the mountain. He wanted me to learn that He can carry me across it. There is power in the mountain. There is power in the traveler. Which power reigns depends on where you place your faith. The fear? Defeat it, don't let it defeat you. Nothing has the power to keep you from your destiny. If you believe the Good Shepherd is guiding you, you will not fall.