As a youth, I was on a swim team and competed in one and three-meter diving competitions for many years. Later, as a young man and new father, I visited an Olympic indoor swimming pool with my wife, son, mother and father-in-law. The sports complex had a 10-meter diving platform which I had only seen on TV in the Olympics. I was eager to dive off a 10-meter platform so I left our child with my wife and began to climb to the top with my wife and in-laws looking on. When I got to the top and stood at the edge of the diving platform, I looked down at the water below. Gulp!? What had I done? What could I have been thinking? It looked so very very high from where I was standing. My stomach knotted up inside and I had to fold my arms to keep from trembling. I was scared, but I was stuck.
My wife (and especially my in-laws) were down there at the edge of the swimming pool looking up at me. What would they think if I changed my mind? What could I do? I was in a dilemma. I had to decide if my fear of certain humiliation (i.e. if I didn’t jump) or my fear of potenial pain (i.e. if I did jump) would prevail. Both choices were about self-preservation.
Life is full of tough choices. But sadly too many of us are caught in patterns of decisions making that are driven by fear. I regret that so many decisions in my life are/were driven by fears (fear of others, fear of being an impostor, fear of humiliation, etc.)
Jesus taught us a better way, the way of love. In the New Testament it is written, “There is no fear in love but perfect love drives out fear.” (1Jn 4:18) I want to learn from Jesus the way of love. I want my decisions in life to be driven by love not fear.