I questioned whether or not I should use this picture because I fear that many of you will only stare at this picture and not read anything. I don't blame you. My niece is pretty dang cute. She must take after her aunt or something.
I use this picture because it is the focus of this blog. I'm not going to talk about Mattie's adorable facial expression, her cute flower, or even her chubby and very kissable cheeks (stop kissing the computer screen weirdo). I'm going to talk about what this moment seems to capture.
Here is my eight month old niece very near to a gorilla. Gorillas are actually quite peaceful animals, but no one can deny their enormous strength, size, and weight. I mean, they're ginormous and yet, here my niece sits unbeknownst to her that this massive animal is on the other side of the glass. Yes, I realize there are several layers of glass between her and this gorilla, but does she know that? My sweet and simple dog often runs into glass--not that I'm comparing my dog to my niece, but you get it. Mattie doesn't really know that there is a protection there.
Fear is a funny thing. Fear is something some of us live with daily. Some of us have extreme phobias that paralyze us from so much. Some of us are face to face with fear daily and some of us merely play the "what-if" game and become worriers and fearful. Sadly, so much of what we are fearful about come to reality and so we waste so much time. Let me help you with some examples of fears:
1) A bear is running at you.
2) You're worried your future unborn child will not like chick-fil-a.
3) Your eight-year old comes home and says she wants to be Miley Cyrus for Halloween. Although it would be budget friendly, it sends up some major fear red flags.
4) You're fearful that sharks will grow legs and walk on land.
5) You're having to drive in Dallas in the rain.
6) You got a job clear across the country and you know no one there.
Some of these are completely legitimate and some are just irrational. Either way, they can freak us out and keep us from living a life that God calls us to. We are taught to look fear straight in the eye right? My question is, why even acknowledge it? Stay with me here. Yes, there are times where you need to realize there is a fear factor (how about you don't jump off the roof into the kiddie pool), but often enough we focus so much on the fear that we don't even attempt to fight it.
This all reminds me of Peter when he walks on water. We all know the familiar story. He walks on water and does so because he is focused on Jesus. He doesn't even acknowledge what is below him. Fear is biting at his heels, but he doesn't notice.
But then he does. And he starts to sink.
This is why I love this picture of Mattie. She doesn't even acknowledge the gorilla. She doesn't even acknowledge there could be potentially be something fearful right behind her. She is looking straight ahead and she smiles. She smiles at what is ahead of her.
I'm thinking we could all learn something from Mattie.