I blame my experiences as a child on my dislike of water sports today.
I remember three specific events that lead me to be a land lover. The first happened when, as a pre-teen, my dad took me water-skiing. I was a pretty good sport and even enjoyed jumping the wake from the boat. But then I fell. The fall itself didn't hurt and I didn't injure myself. But I landed in a bed of seaweed and could feel the slippery tentacles crawling up my legs and clawing at my life jacket. It was all I could do not to scream in terror. My father turned the boat around and when he pulled me in, I vowed never to water-ski again.
The next summer, I was a passenger in a speedboat with a maniac driver. He thought it fun to scare children by going as fast as he could and making the boat wobble. The terror seized me so badly that I had to seek a place to hide under the bow of the boat. I vowed never to go in a speedboat again.
Lastly, as a teenager, I agreed to go fishing with two friends in a canoe. We were staying at a remote hunting lodge. Leaving early in the morning, we paddled to the end of a marshy lake before the middle passenger decided to stand and move around. Our canoe flipped over, spilling all the contents, including us, into the frigid spring waters. We managed to pull the canoe to shore. Soaked, cold and scared, we loaded ourselves back in, without our gear, and returned to the camp. I vowed never to go in a canoe again.
Fast forward to today. My husband and children are camping in a park in Quebec. My husband wakes me up in the early morning hours, excited to invite us all on a 5-hour trek to a remote waterfall. I grudgingly enquire about this voyage, and then quickly decline his invitation when I find out that half of the trip is by canoe. “No way.”
My husband counters with claims that it will be the “best fun ever” and I would regret it always if I didn’t join the family. In the back of my mind, I am reminded that God did not give me a spirit of fear but one of power. With this Scripture in mind, and the coaxing of my husband, I agree to go.
I write this now, in the safety of my office, with a grin on my face. It was a trip I will never forget. The canoe ride was surrounded by the Laurentian Mountains. The hike was one-hour uphill to a majestic waterfall. At the falls, we ate sandwiches and the kids splashed in the waters. We returned to our campsite, although a little worn out, a happy family.
My husband was right; I would have regretted not going. I am grateful that the Lord reminded me that fear is not from Him. If I let fear rule my day, I would have missed out on one of the best experiences of my life.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV).