toddler in swing

Chasing Quiet: Day 23 “Back and Forth”

What keeps you from taking a challenge to try something you’ve never done before?
What holds you back when you’ve discovered a new passion, but can’t quite put all your effort into going for it?

Is it fear?

Fear has a variety of flavors…fear of failure? fear of change? fear of flying? fear of letting go? fear of uncertainty?
Fear is an insidious emotion that can wiggle its way into the smallest spaces of your mind and create just enough doubt and uncertainty that you feel stuck, unable to regain your momentum.
Like a child first learning how to swing, you need a little encouraging push.

boy swingingLittle kids tend to have an approach-avoidance with swings. They are eager to climb aboard, eyes bright with anticipation as they perch for take-off. Then as the swing is pulled back, small fingers tighten around the cold, metal chains and narrow shoulders hunch downward as a ripple of fear seeps in. Some kiddos endure this pulling back into the unknown with an air of silent bravado. Others voice a quick plea, “not too high.” A simple caring response of “I’ve got you” is enough to maintain the passenger about to launch.

Once the swing is released, kids begin to catch the thrill of gliding through the air and enjoy the perspective-shift of their grubby shoes peering out over their tousled heads. They are reassured by the brief reconnection of a gentle push on their back or brush of their hair as they swing back toward you.

Back and forth.
Back and forth.
Back and forth.

toddler in swingQuiet reassurance by a loved one at each return of the swing calms a child’s fears.

As children adjust to the swing’s momentum, their bodies relax into the swaying motion. Confidence builds and chants of “higher, higher” erupt. That initial sensation of anticipatory fear has faded into the stronger exuberance of joy and excitement. Love has conquered fear.

And, thus it goes…until the next visit to the playground and this fear cycle repeats itself, though perhaps a little more muted and a bit briefer because the child now has the tactile memory of reassurance and love that quickly calms his nervous quivers.

Day 23 of #31daysofquiet

Zephaniah 3:17In a similar way, we swing back and forth in a fear cycle with things unknown. Our heart rate escalates and our bodies tighten with anxiety when we are faced with uncertainty.

Yet whatever trickles of fear may enter our minds, God’s presence is able to wash over them until they subside. It may not be immediate, but the deep foundation is there. His quiet reassurance is there, a gentle reminder of safety in the ups-and-downs of life.

The tricky part is letting go of our tight hold on things, loosening our grip on familiar fear and yielding to trust in His calming presence.

Back and forth.

Back and forth.

Back and forth.

 

calming swing
#chasingquiet

The more we practice coming back to Him, the more easily we tap into the calmness of His presence. With more experience, our heart memories remind us to release our fears.

We become more attuned to that inner nudge to trust Him, resting in His grace.

 

“He will quiet us with His love” — whatever our fear may be.

daily life transformed by God into extraordinary tapestries

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