About a mile into my 4-mail hike I realized how few times I have actually been alone in the woods. As a child, I was drawn to the wilderness, but at the same time I was afraid of it. I was afraid of a lot of things through my childhood: rabid loafer wolves (a result of reading Ol' Yeller at age 7), snakes, heights, unknown things lurking behind doors or under beds, and breaking yet another arm or leg. Outdoor Life was a favorite magazine, but the tales of survival in the"this happened to me" section fed my fear of facing nature on my own.
In a recent goals workshop one of the questions I had to answer was what motivates and drives me. I always look first to give a positive response, but in a moment of uncomfortable clarity I realized that much of my motivation has come from fear. I didn't want to admit it or write it as my answer, but I'm driven by fear of letting down the people closest to me. This fear has caused me to "play it safe" even though to most people I probably seem to be a "risk taker". But even as a child when my biggest goal was to see how far I could fly my bike through the air I always had a wide margin of safety. I see the extreme sports shows of high-flying stunts and painful crashes and know I was never that brave. (Or perhaps I was never that crazy.)
God has delivered me from many of my childhood fears. But some of those fears have morphed into monsters in my subconscious and are not so well defined. I think God is urging me to step out into the wilderness with Him and find my motivation and security from faith in His provision.