It is a stuffed horse. About 4 feet long and 2 feet high. It’s floppy legs spread out and it lies on the floor. Ethan’s older brothers love to ride on him.
But Ethan, a happy, engaging boy, shrinks back if you bring the horse near him. He will neigh like a horse, but he won’t get near this one.
When you shrink back in fear, what is usually the best response? To face your fear, to push beyond what you don’t like or understand, and to engage reality.
When do you shrink back? What are you afraid of?
I’m afraid of heights. Of dangerous activities that my children and grandkids love to pursue. Of grandboy Carter climbing to the highest point of everything. Of things that threaten life or limb. So I usually don’t do them, and I pray a lot when my family does. But occasionally I don’t shrink back, I face my fear and engage reality. And usually I love it—like the whitewater rapids in the Arkansas River.
Sometimes my fears are of more intangible things: Being rejected. Failing. Proving unworthy. Disappointing people. Demonstrating my inadequacy. And guess what—that is often what God calls me (you) into: the risky, the scary, the unknown. And He says, “Don’t shrink back.”
Scripture has strong admonitions to us on shrinking back: “’But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.’ But we do not belong to those who shrink back…, but to those who have faith…” (Hebrews 10:38-39)
So, in the power of the Spirit, I face my fears, step out, take the leap of faith, engage the opportunity. Though I may not shrink back, the fear and trembling are often real. But so can be the squeals—of joy—as God comes through and holds me and enables me to do all He is calling me to do.
No shrinking back.