Saturday, March 22, 2014

Conquer Your Fears

Conquer Your Fears

Fear is the opposite to faith. When fear starts to creep in, faith is pushed out. This lack of faith often restricts what we can do with our lives, and usually limits the success we originally planned to have. Many dreams have been thrown away because fear was allowed to overpower faith. One question I often ask myself, "Why is it so hard to replace my fear with faith? What more can I do?" The conclusion I have drawn came from some decisions and experience I had about this time last year.

I have never been a big fan of heights, or more so, falling from heights. So often this would restrict some of the outdoor activities I could do. During the school holidays, I was able to participate in a youth camp at a big scout park. This park had all sorts of activities, from canoeing, hiking, trail rides, obstacle courses and a big abseiling/repelling tower. This big tower was what most of the young men were looking forward to using, and I thought I would give it a go.

On the very last day of the camp, everybody gathered round the big tower for a safety briefing, and harnesses and helmets were issued. Everybody cheered as the first few people repelled down the lower level of the tower. It was a great experience for all that tried it. As it came to the last few in the group, the crowds dispersed as the novelty wore off. The facilitators announced that 5 people would get the chance to have a go from the very top of the tower. A few people who thought they were brave stepped forward to take up the offer. But there was still one spot left. Being the oldest in the group, everybody turned towards me. I decided that I wanted to have a go, so I stepped forward as well. This was going to be an interesting experience.

As I stood at the top of the tower, everybody nominated me to go first. I looked out over the beautiful forest as I waited for the ropes to be fastened. I stood on the ledge as my harness was fastened onto the rope. It looked a lot higher from up here. Should I go? Should I just back out? As my heart pounded, I thought of a favorite scripture in Mark 5:36, where the Savior gives a very specific commandment. " Be not afraid, only believe." How could I change this fear, to faith? How could I take that leap into the unknown, not knowing if the ropes would hold me or not. It all came down to my faith in Heavenly Father.

The thoughts flew through my head, and I quickly drew the conclusion that faith works miracles. Fear is our choice; it will always be mind over matter. So all I had to do was choose not to be scared. So I closed my eyes and told myself, " You are not scared of heights, you are not scared of heights..." I opened my eyes and took a leap of faith forward off the tower. Adrenaline rushed as I sprinted down the side of this vertical wall. Nothing could cause that fear to creep back into my mind again.

I learnt a valuable lesson that day. Satan will always try and use fear tactics to push us from the straight and narrow. It is our choice whether we let him do this, or whether we have faith in the righteous choices we are making. At times it may be some friends teasing because you made the choice not to drink alcohol; or maybe you miss out on the grand final match of the football team you play for because you would not play on Sunday. Fear of others can paralyse our personal and eternal progression. Fear will destroy the faith you have. We may not know how choosing the right will turn out, but we can be assured that it will work out to our eternal benefit.

I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. He wants us to be happy and successful. He never wants to see us fail, so He has given us the hope of the Atonement to rely on. As we put our "Trust in the Lord" (Proverbs 3:5), we will be lifted above satan's grasp. We will know and receive reassurance that the choice we are making is the right one. Obedience brings blessing. I have seen this principle in action many a time in my life, and I can testify of its divine authenticity as a promise from God. Trust in God, always put your mind over matter, and remember the Savior's promise and commandment; "Be not afraid, only believe." It is my prayer that all may feel the love and confirmation from our Father in Heaven as we follow His commandments with courage. We will never stand alone when we stand with God.

-Elder Ben Cullen

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