There is a story that comes with this picture. I love the water and I love boats. Always have. But I’ve always felt fear in a kayak. If you look closely at this photo, you will see the fear in my face. But guess what? God used this event to bring healing to my fear.
Sometimes we make vows, especially in our childhood. We do this in reaction to pain, or in an effort to prevent pain. We may see something bad and say, “I will never …” or “I will always …” The problem with this is that we take matters into our own hands, lock ourselves into our vow, and try to protect ourselves with our own strength. Instead, we should be relying on God. When we make our self-protective vows, no matter how well-intended, we don’t line up with God’s Word. We demand that He line up with our own word. (Never a good idea.)
While I was kayaking, and shaking inside, and growing frustrated with my fear (did I mention how much I love the water and boats!), I asked God why I was so terrified. Everything inside me wanted to quit. And here we were, on this beautiful, placid lake. I’m a good swimmer. What was there to be afraid of?
Well, as I started praying, God reminded me that when I was a kid, I read a book about how people would kayak through river rapids, and the kayak would turn a 360 circle, flipping the person under water and back up again. As a kid, that seemed terrible to me! So I made an inner vow: “I will never get in a boat that flips me upside down.”
And here I was in a kayak, the very same boat I vowed never to be in. No wonder my fear meter was off the charts! And no wonder I didn’t feel the peace of God. I had taken matters into my own hand, and God respects our free will!
Fortunately, I had a friend with me who knew how to pray with me to break that inner vow, which I did immediately. The change was immediate. Night and day different. It’s hard even to explain the change that came over me. The fear was gone, and I was myself again.
All of a sudden, I felt God’s peace surrounding me and leading me. My love for the water and boats kicked in. I enjoyed paddling across the lake. The wake of the motor boats didn’t affect me. I got close to the other kayaks. Previously, I was afraid to come near the other kayaks because they might tip me over. (That’s why I’m so far away from everyone else in the photo.) Once I broke that inner vow, I literally couldn’t even remember the feeling of fear. It was completely gone.
Best of all, I can’t wait to get back out on the water in a kayak and do this again. That is the greatest sign of healing of fear.
I was amazed at how fast and dramatically everything changed. All because I put my life (and my fun!) back in God’s hands. He is AWESOME!!!
If you want to learn more, I recommend reading about inner vows at The Center for Inner Healing.