I’m playing catch-up! Here’s where you can catch up on what I’ve been doing…
Fear is a terrible adviser. So I realized when the producers of Canada’s longest-running daily television show invited me to their studio to talk about my just-released memoir. I once loved traveling. But the more complicated life became and the more heartache I experienced, the more I feared venturing far from my home and family.
And it wasn’t just the trip that scared me. I feared how much it would cost. And whether my younger children would be okay while my husband, Dana, and I were gone. I feared sitting in front of a camera and not knowing what to say.
As the day for our 10-hour drive toward Toronto drew near, I prayed more than ever, entrusting each detail of our trip to God. Still the fear didn’t go away. Then I came across a quote by the late missionary and author Elisabeth Eliot, who knew a thing or two about fear. “Sometimes fear does not subside, and one must choose to do it afraid,” she said.
Long ago, I’d promised God that I would never say no because of fear. And so, Dana and I set off on a three-night trip to Canada, with extra time to enjoy the sites. One I was really looking forward to was Niagara-on-the-Lake, a Victorian village on Lake Ontario, where I’d booked a night at a budget bed-and-breakfast. Actually, I’d booked a night at a beautiful inn (twice), but fearing the cost, I’d cancelled it (twice) in favor of saving money.
Our drive went great. That is, Dana’s driving went great while I hunkered in the passenger seat with my pillow, watching the GPS and the sides of the road for signs of danger. The morning of my interview, I memorized my notes and cranked worship music to drown out my fears. After meeting the wonderful folks at 100 Huntley Street, I survived my 10-minute interview without passing out. Then, thrilled that the hardest parts were over, Dana and I enjoyed lunch at a historic tea house in Niagara-on-the-Lake before heading to our bed-and-breakfast.
Only, instead of an actual B&B, our accommodations turned out to be a dank, moldering motel. Rather than staying, we split the fee, cancelled our reservation and spent a couple hours at Niagara Falls before beginning our long drive home. After one more night at a roadside inn, we made it back to Maine, having spent $10 more for our failed stay in Niagara-on-the-Lake than we would have had we actually enjoyed a comfortable inn!
Scripture says we have an enemy – one who Jesus called a thief and a liar (John 8:44, 10:10). One of his primary tactics is fear. But Jesus came to give us peace and abundance (John 14:27, 10:10). Fear didn’t stop me from going on my trip, but it did stop me from enjoying it. So the next time fear whispers in my ear, I’m turning up the worship music and telling the enemy where to go.
Meadow Rue Merrill, the author of Redeeming Ruth: Everything Life Takes, Love Restores, writes for children and adults from a little house in the big woods of midcoast Maine. Her interview on 100 Huntley Street can be seen here.