Purposeful Faith

The Best Way Out of Fear

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

All I wanted him to do was pedal.

I pleaded and coerced, ran behind the bike and offered words of encouragement.

“You can do this. You know how. Just keep going.”

But as soon as I let go of the seat, his feet went down. Every time, without fail. And as much as I tried to hide my frustration, I knew it was as obvious as the sweat gleaming on my face.

I wanted him to succeed at this, but I couldn’t do it for him.

We put the bike away for a few weeks and he went back to racing his Dodge Viper around the cul-de-sac. Yes, my six-year-old was driving a nicer car than his Mama, complete with a rechargeable battery, radio and gear shift.

Little brother rode shotgun, occasionally grabbing the wheel and crashing the car into the overgrown flowerbed. A loud mixture of laughter and aggravated shouts poured out of the vehicle.

I buried myself in my latest copy of Hello, Darling and told myself the training wheels would come off eventually. He wouldn’t start high school with them on, right?

Skimming over the pages, one article grabbed me. The authors, both child psychologists, were talking about fear. Yes, this was what I needed. Some sound advice from those who understood how the mind of a child worked.

Their advice? Tell him it was okay to be afraid. Tell him it was okay, but he had to walk through it.

In the words of my favorite poet, Robert Frost, “The best way out is always through.”

Yet so often instead of confronting the fear, we want to run and hide.

I know. I’m an expert, and I’m sure my son’s behavior was modeled after his mom, the master hider.

When we hide from our fears we do nothing but fuel them.

When we confront them head on and walk through them, we expose them for what they really are: lies. And the father of lies would like nothing more than for us to live life cowering behind a self-made façade of what-ifs.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV

The following day I sat down with my son and the mid-summer heat.

“Hey buddy, you want to give the bike a try again?”


He didn’t elaborate.

“Why not?”

He paused, considering his answer.

“Because I don’t want to fall again,” he said in all honesty.

I looked him straight in the eyes and silently prayed my words would sink in.

“Buddy, it’s okay to be afraid. But it’s not okay not to try.”

He stood there, thinking about my words and taking his time. Then he turned on his heels and ran toward the garage, not waiting for me to follow him.

That evening, my son rode his bike without training wheels for the first time. His joy was contagious, and within hours he couldn’t even remember why he was scared.

As I stood there watching, God pressed his message on my heart. While fear of the unknown was as certain as the sunset, my response to it didn’t have to be.

Sometimes we just have to do it afraid.

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*photo credit

Guest Contributor Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly   pursues her, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.


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Kelly, a fun-loving, active and spunky mom of two rambunctious toddlers, spends her days pushing swings, changing diapers and pursuing the Lord with all her heart. Called a "Cheerleader of Faith", Kelly's greatest desire is to help women live passionately, purposefully and unencumbered for the Lord.

Read more about Kelly

17 CommentsLeave a comment

  • “Sometimes we just have to do it afraid.” Abby, this quote is going up on the fridge door as soon as I hit “post comment.” I’m so glad you shared this story today!

  • A tale well-told, Abby.

    I find that in dealing with this, the most bleakly frightening time of my life (and this day, as I type, is something of a nadir), what I have to do is show up.

    It hurts to sit up and type; it’s hard to frame the thoughts that allow my participation in the blogosphere. It’s also necessary.

    • Andrew, I have followed a bit of your story and let me just say I am lifting you up in prayer today. I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but I know you are loved by a perfect God. My he surround you with his love today and in the days to follow.

  • Your timing is a God-send. Thank you for these words as I’ve been thrashing around in unknown territory for months due to fear. It’s almost embarrassing that I’ve let it get so bad. But I know Who is in control and praying it through will pull me up out of those waters. I am grateful for this encouragement.

    • Jennifer, it amazes me and humbles me that God would allow me to share this story during a season when you need it. I give him all the glory and praise. Thank you for your words and I pray that his perfect love continues to cast out the fear you are facing.

  • Amen, Abby – sometimes we just have to do it afraid. It’s kind of amazing what happens when we do, right? God always meets those faith steps – and what He does usually far surpasses our small expectations. So grateful for a God whose perfect love casts our fear. Thanks for the reminder today – to keep pressing through it. xoxo

    • Yes, it is amazing, Tiffany. God is always faithful when we take that next step in faith and obedience. Thank you for being here today and walking alongside me in this faith journey.

  • Abby, I used these words with my daughter yesterday. I didn’t get the same response you did, but it’s not about the result – it is all about the heart. Thank you dear friend. You continue to pour blessing after blessing over my head.

    • Keep at it, Kelly. So often it’s hard to see how we’re making a difference in our kids’ lives unless we have one of those infrequent “aha” moments. You are doing a wonderful job, my friend. (hugs)

  • Ooh, so true, Abby: “When we hide from our fears, we do nothing but fuel them.”
    Fears have a way of growing in the dark, don’t they? Thanks for sharing, Abby, and thanks for posting, Kelly. 🙂

  • What I love about your message is that it’s ok to feel fear. For this religiously brought up girl, that is a freeing message. It’s ok. You will feel fear and you can admit it.

    Thank you Abby!!

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