Victory! The morning sun was shining brightly. I had my Starbucks nonfat Cinnamon Dolce Latte in the cupholder and my 12-year-old daughter singing a Taylor Swift song, and I was driving her to an out-of-town soccer game. Me. The mom afraid to drive on freeways.
If you’ve been following along on my blog, I’ve spent the last year taking steps to overcome my fear of driving.
And this was a big step for me!
Freedom. I noticed all the cities I was passing that I could drive to now. Oh, the places I could go. Dr. Seuss was right about that one!
I couldn’t help but enjoy the freedom of releasing myself from the prison of fear that I had kept myself in for so long.
The overwhelming feeling of driving past my fears and leaving behind all the wasted years of avoiding unknown places caused a wave of emotion to wash over me.
Tears of victory, releasing my control and trusting God with my deepest fears. I couldn’t hold them back.
This was the beauty on the other side of fear! This was it!
My 12-year-old daughter began to video tape me on her phone with her reporter like commentary…
“Valerie Murray facing her fears on the highway…. We’re on our way to Atwater for my soccer game. Would you like to say anything mom—any encouraging words?”
“Encouraging words for those who want to face their fears?”
“You just have to do it. You have to be determined. You have to want to do it or you won’t do it.”
If you don’t really want to face your fears, you just won’t. Click To Tweet
And I want to.
Why do I want to?
Because I don’t want to pass my fears onto my children.
Because I don’t want fear controlling my decision making.
Because I want to exercise my trust and faith in God by letting go.
Because I want to be a confident driver.
Because I’m tired of relying on other people to take my children where they need to be.
I want to teach my children to have the courage and to do things in life they may feel uncomfortable with but will help them grow. By my example.
I thought following all the steps to face my fear would help me have victory over fearful feelings. I was fully prepared for the drive. My GPS was set. Directions were typed and printed. Bible verses to counteract fear, memorized.
For a moment I thought, is it really going to be this easy? The night before, I was terrified…my hands literally shaking at the thought of not knowing where I was going or how I would get home, you know that panicked feeling?
But soon enough the obstacles came and so did the panic.
A cop with lights and sirens sped, and thankfully, passed me. Whew! Two large garbage bags flew across the freeway and right over my windshield. A dead animal on the road. I’m not even kidding.
And then guess what? Fog! That beautiful, sunshiny morning disappeared and suddenly I hit a wall. Of fog.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that there are two things worse than driving on the freeway for me. Driving on the freeway at night and driving on the freeway in fog—or both!
And then on the drive home, my worst case scenario played out. The GPS was wrong! It was telling me to go another way to get onto the freeway that didn’t match the directions I printed out.
My husband’s words repeated in my mind.
“Just trust the GPS. Just trust the GPS.”
And I did. I followed it in circles as the robot lady kept telling me to turn right and as soon as I turned right…she told me to make a u-turn.
How do I get on the freeway to get home?
I had to remember to think positively.
Remember there’s always a plan B. Don’t panic. I won’t be lost forever. The GPS will most likely take me to the freeway if I go another way long enough.
I guess since I was facing my fear I thought God would bless me with smooth sailing. But instead, he sent obstacles my way, the very ones I’m afraid of, to show me that I would still be ok. That he would take care of me. No matter what.
Perhaps so I could say instead, “Just trust in God, just trust in God,” versus “just trust the GPS.”
Surely, God knows the way home.
Trusting in God doesn’t mean that I will never get in an accident or get lost. But it does mean that no matter what happens, I choose to believe He is in control. Not accidents.
God is in control! Not accidents! Click To Tweet
When I’m lost He’ll help me find my way home…and He will be WITH me when I’m lost.
Sometimes God nudges us deeper into our fears in order to prove that we can trust him. Click To Tweet
He nudges us in order for us to learn that we can overcome every obstacle that tries to scare us back into avoidance mode.
And you know what? I’m glad he does that.
I’m so glad he pushes me to make me stronger. Click To Tweet
I made it home safely and learned to get around those feared obstacles.
Sure, the obstacles in life can feel scary. But we don’t have to live our lives trying to avoid them.
Don’t be afraid to face the obstacles. When you face them, you learn to go around them. You learn how to overcome!
Don't be afraid to face the obstacles. When you face them, you learn to go around them! Click To Tweet
How about you? What obstacles has the Lord helped you go through in your fight against fear? I would love for you to share in the comments.
Friends, I want to help others to see the beauty on the other side of fear as well! If you know anyone who struggles with fear and anxiety, would you pass this along to them?
If you struggle with the fear of driving to unknown places—stay tuned because I will be sharing some practical ways to ease driving fear. You are not alone! Just read some of the comments in this post and you’ll see that many people struggle in this area.
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Hi Valerie, Yay…I have just spent the last 30 minutes or so tracking this post down again. I was despairing of finding it again. I read this earlier in the week and the concept of trusting that God has this (whatever it is) EVEN IF THINGS DON”T GO WELL is so powerful and has come back to me a number of times since. I was leading our ladies’ Bible Study tonight and one woman had deep questions about the value of suffering and why things don’t just go perfectly once we commit our ways to God. I was able to describe this post to her and the others and she found it so useful to see how faith is deepened when obstacles and trials allow us to see who we are really trusting. I really want to thank you so much for this picture and to encourage you that you have been used by God in a little Bible study in New Zealand to help someone see His truth. Blessings. Ruth van den Brink
Oh Ruth, I’m so sorry that I’m just responding to your comment. I remember being so grateful for your encouragement the first time I read it and again now, I can’ t even believe that God uses my little blog to help others. I’m just so honored and thankful. Thank you for taking the time to let me know about your Bible Study in New Zealand.
What a beautiful perspective on obstacles, sweet friend. You know I’m going through an anxiety/panic attack flare up right now so I cannot tell you how much this post ministers to my heart. I love what you had to say in the middle about God sending the very obstacles you were afraid of your way to show you that you would still be ok and He would take care of you. I think that’s what He is doing with me right now … He’s letting me face this because He wants to know if I trust Him to walk me through it to the other side. And I do! Holding on and pressing into the fear with you! Congrats on your huge milestone! XO
Dear Friend, I’m so sorry that you’ve been dealing with panic attacks and health issues lately. It’s so hard to go through those obstacles, especially when they bring physical pain, and so my heart goes out to you. I’m praying for you—that soon you’ll be on the other side and feeling better.
I’m learning to let go and let God, but it is definitely a work in progress. It’s funny that your post focuses so much on driving. Much of my personal revelation came in a car ride late Friday night that I truly felt God compelled me to make, and He definitely had some deep truths to reveal to me about letting go. Beautiful piece!!
Oh Brittany, I love when God helps us to understand the areas where He wants us to surrender to Him so He can fully show us how trustworthy He is and how much He loves us. Thank you for sharing your experience and heart here!
When my dad fell out at work and went into a coma at the hospital. I was so scared and unable to grasp how this had happened so fast all I could do was pray. I I prayed and prayed. The doctors told me after a week in ICU he wasn’t going to wake up and I ignored then and I prayed. When he woke up even the doctors were confused and amazed and said it was a miracle. I could not have handled it without god in my corner.
What an awesome testimony of clinging to God and not giving up despite the obstacles. Thank you so much for sharing! I love that the doctors even considered it a miracle.
Valerie I’m so proud of the person you have become this last year! I’ve seen you grow and not let fear stop you! I’m blessed to have you in my life and to call you family!
Amber, you are an example to me of what it means to love others. Thank you for being a huge blessing in my life! It’s a joy to be your friend!
Thank you Val, in the past year I have been faced with many challenges the greatest being anxiety and panic, often not even understanding why. I went from being confident, happy and enthusiastic about life to every day battling a seeming body symptom that has me thinking the worst. My only hope is with God and building a prayer life and I have been guilty of screaming to god why have you forsaken me. Your writing has spoken to me in understanding it’s god’s way of assuring I stay faithful and trust in him no matter what. Let go and let god!! Bless you. Thank you x
Tania, my husband went through years of the same kind of anxiety that caused him unexplained physical pain where he thought he was having a heart attack many times only to be sent home and told that everything was ok. He was so frustrated and didn’t understand why the answers could not be found. I’m so very sorry you are experiencing such anxiety. I pray you can get some answers and relief. Have you heard of the book, The Anxiety Cure by Dr. Archibald Hart? My husband really liked that book.
So that we don’t pass our fears onto our children…this has been a huge motivator for me to press through toward trusting God with every obstacle. Such an inspiring post Valerie!
Thank you Crystal! Yes, our children learn from our reactions to situations. One time on a family vacation, we took an elevator that was a bit loud and shaky. My 8 year old saw my nervous reaction. She did not want to ride that elevator again!
Yay, Valerie – so proud of you! (My fear isn’t driving, but FLYING.) I especially love: “Why do I want to? Because I don’t want to pass my fears onto my children. Because I don’t want fear controlling my decision making. Because I want to exercise my trust and faith in God by letting go.” I’m saving this post for my next flight in April. Thank you, Valerie!
Flying! That’s my next step to conquer. I’m traveling by myself for the first time in April and taking a flight (the last time I was on a plane was 15 years ago). I think I’m more afraid of not knowing where I am or the feeling that I’ll be far away from my family. But I’m praying that my faith will prove stronger than my fear. Thank you so much for your heartfelt comment and for sharing. Praying that God alleviates your anxiety and gives you peace for your flight.
Yes! Yes! Yes! So good, Val!
“Sometimes God nudges us deeper into our fears in order to prove we can trust Him.” – I have experienced this so many times. But what is funny about me (and I THINK it’s more than just me 🙂 ) is that I balk at that nudging every single time. Because it just isn’t comfortable!
Thank you for sharing your heart, your life, and your courage with us!
That’s right, it sure isn’t comfortable being gently nudged into what we are afraid of. It’s always so good to know you’re not alone in fear. I sure appreciate you and your support and friendship. Love you!
Oh my word, yes I hear you on this sister! So uncomfortable. But I’m thankful we have each other and God to carry on. <3
Visiting you from hope writers. Love what you said ‘You just have to do it. You have to be determined. You have to want to do it or you won’t do it.”
Fear was something that held me captive for a long time but God woke me up to the fact that if I didn’t deal with the fear I would pass it on to my children and not live in the fullness God had for me. I’m so thankful for the determination He gave me to keep pressing into His promises!
It’s wonderful to hear God has given you the determination to press into Him and release your fears. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post. God bless you!
Go, Valerie, Go!
You are facing down your fears and obstacles and winning!
I’m so proud of you!
Yay! It feels so good to exercise faith and stomp on fear!
Oh, YES!! I so needed this today! I’m facing some things that feel like obstacles right now, but trusting that God’s got this! Thanks for these encouraging words from your heart! Congratulations on tackling your fears!
I’m so glad this encouraged you Liz! May you have peace as you trust in God and work through those obstacles.
Yes! Val, we’ve been in that sort of situation where the GPS took us around ???
Trusting God over all….including the GPS
Love your fear series…
Ha, yep sometimes that GPS just doesn’t make sense. Glad I’m not the only one. Thank you so much for reading!
Oh, Valerie, you know how you speak to my heart! Freedom and joy flourish on the other side of fear and it is grace that gets us there. Praise God!
It sure is grace that gets us there, isn’t it? I’m so glad I have you in my life as someone who has been through it and understands!
There is beauty on the other side of fear! I loved reading your post today, Valerie. You are an encouragement to me. A fear that I’ll be facing soon is public speaking. I will keep your words in mind as I prepare to my speech this weekend.
Oh yes, that’ a big one for me too. I’m usually anxious before I speak but God always seems to give me complete peace when I start talking. Praying that you have peace beyond understanding as you give your speech this weekend!
Great post, Valerie! I think God invented GPS just for me. I am sooooo …. directionally challenged! But, like you, it has led me astray, but God is bigger. I believe God actually brings those challenges just when we get hold of some truth just as a teacher gives homework to reinforce the principles her students have learned. Thanks for these great truths. I’m pinning and sharing.
Donna, I totally agree! It’s like God is giving us homework to put the truth we have learned into action. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I appreciate it!
When we came home from living abroad, we had been years without driving on a regular basis. Our host country had very dangerous traffic and I found myself very very anxious about driving in America. Slowly but surely God has helped me face and release my fear! I am so glad you are becoming bolder too!
Oh Helene, I can see how it would be hard to get used to driving in America again. I’m so glad that you’ve been able to release your fear and move through it!
Driving at night, but not having a choice, I just had to do it, so sometimes just moving forward is what we need to do, while trusting God has it!
Yes, that’s a hard one; I can’t see very well at night so I try not to drive very far when it’s dark.