From Fear to Faith to Freedom

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)


Chewy was afraid to go down the basement stairs. In large part this was because when she was just a puppy, she had taken a tumble down those very stairs.

Though I understood her trepidation, I was growing tired of Fear stopping her from moving freely about the house. I decided to try to train the fear out of her. I tried coaxing, speaking firmly, gently encouraging, and I tried praying for her. I finally resorted to attempting to bribe her with treats. Unfortunately, all my efforts were to no avail. That dog would not go down those basement stairs for any reason. In fact, she was growing increasingly suspicious of me.

This “training” continued until one day my husband decided to get involved. He started by putting her on the first step. Then he simply called her to come down the rest of the way. Wouldn’t you know it, on his first try, the dog effortlessly obeyed. Well, I thought, ok, I guess that’s what I have to do: put her on the first step and she would come down the rest of the way. And that’s what I did for a long time. After a while, my husband asked me if Chewy was still going down the stairs, I said, “Sure, but only when I put her on the first step.” He proceeded to go to the bottom of the stairs, and with a firm voice commanded Chewy to come down. She did. Without any hesitation or help to the first step, she glided to him without a care in the world.

This was irritating to me. I had spent a lot of time trying to convince Chewy that she could do this and that I would be right there to help her if she fell. Then Curt comes along and just as easy as you please, delivers the dog from a life-time of stair-fear.

After thinking about it, I realized that the dog had more fear of Curt than she did of falling down the stairs. He was authoritative, but not scary. The dog did not exhibit any signs of terror whatsoever.

In addition to his authority (where she found a sense of security), I think she may have also been responding to his confidence in her that she could do this. You see, Curt wasn’t giving her a reason to wimp out, no sweet talking or babying her. Plus, his position was

at the bottom of the stairs. It was do or die.

I, on the other hand, had been coddling her and unintentionally positioning myself too close to her at the top of the stairs. I was not giving her enough room to fall, and perhaps that made her afraid to try because she sensed that even I wasn’t confident that she could do this. I’m not trying to be some kind of “dog psychologist.” I just know that she has been free to use the stairs ever since.

I wonder if we are like that with God. Is it possible that we don’t obey God in the things that have hurt us in the past because we fear that hurt and failure more than we revere God?

Make no mistake. If God is calling us to go down the proverbial basement stairs, He will be waiting at the bottom of the stairs (or trial) to catch us if we fall. It won’t be easy to obey God in a thing where we may have previously failed, but like Chewy, the reward of increased liberty to move about awaits us as we go from fear to faith to freedom.

Thanks so much for reading!

Shalom, Big D

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