Some people say it’s best to face your fears. However, in order to embrace the freedom that is waiting on the other side, we need more than posture, we need a plan. Here is what I have found to be the number-one most effective strategy: pray out fear.
We don’t often realize how many decisions are based on our fears. While some fears are rational and designed to keep us alive, I believe most of the fear that guides our decisions are not of this life-preserving variety. These fears need to be identified and dealt with.
FIRST: FIND THE FEAR
It’s become a little game I play—an adult version of hide-and-seek—identify areas in my life where fear is hiding. Because of our traveling lifestyle, my circumstances are continually shifting. This means I always have a lot of new material to work with, making it easier for me to flush out fear from its dark corners so I can meet it head-on and pray it out.
Since we started traveling, I’ve found that each region of the country has its own natural disasters, potentially deadly animals or unique hazards. Residents worldwide are often pretty low-key about the particular brand of danger living in their own backyard. However, there always seem to be a group of people who haven’t actually been to said location but yet have strong opinions which they must share for the sake of our family’s health and welfare. We discovered this to be particularly true while planning our trip to Alaska. As often happens, the list of fear factors only seemed to grow with each new person we spoke with.
As our Alaska departure date drew near, I noticed how frequently this group of people rotated around this list like vultures, picking at their own favorite fears and flinging them in our direction. I will admit, the temptation to bite was strong.
Back in January, we attended a Fulltime Families Retreat in Southern California. One evening, we invited the Sloan family over to get to know them better. Part of our conversation included upcoming summer destinations. They planned to visit the East Coast and our plans included Alaska.
The next morning the Sloan’s informed us that their summer plans had changed during the night—they now planned to go to Alaska with us! Surprisingly, this isn’t that unusual in our lifestyle. You meet people. You like them. You travel with them. But it is funny to take myself out of the fulltime travel mindset and try to picture a scenario like this happening. You invite someone new to the area over for lunch after church. You talk about your upcoming plans for a family vacation to Florida. The following Sunday they announce surprise: they’ve booked the same flight and plan to tag along! I can’t imagine that ever happening, yet it does when you live your life on the road and get the freedom to choose your neighbors and travel companions.
Just West of Lake Ontario, our hazard lights blink-blink-blink as the freeway traffic rushes past us, sending the vehicles into small sideways rocking motions. The truck, whose engine has been whispering notions of discontent for the past few hundred miles, has acted like a toddler and erupted into a full-blown tantrum. We are perched like birds on the shoulder of the road.
If the last 10 days were a dinner, than we have been dinning at an all-you-can-eat buffet, in fast forward. Its been amazing and exhausting.
We began our journey with a brief visit with family and friends in the Coeur d’Alene area. Parking our RV in the driveway of hospitable friends, we soaked up moments and meals with many people we love but have not seen much of since our move to Kamiah a year and a half ago.
On Labor Day we set out on the open road headed east traveling through Montana. Our first official public boondocking experience left me shocked and amazed. The Cabela’s parking lot in Billings had dog kennels, horse corrals and even a dumping station (a place where we could empty our black and grey tanks)! Waking up in the same bed in a new state and realizing that this was our new life was both surreal and exciting.
After our whirlwind visit in the Black Hills, we set out once again in an easterly direction stopping briefly in Philip, South Dakota. Here Ashlyn and I dressed up in costume and our family traversed across the prairie visiting one of the last remaining sod houses in the state.
Prairie dogs peered out of their holes in the ground as the wind whipped at our dresses and bonnets. We stood amazed that settlers were able to withstand the harsh conditions of the barren land that stood before us. Between blizzards, floods, fires and pestilence, it seemed that all was against their success. Most surprising of all however was the mannequin sitting in the outhouse with his pants pulled down, he gave us a scare and a fit of giggles that we will not soon forget!