Back when I was in the Marines, I was on this “Get over your fears in life” thing for a while. I decided to face as many of my fears as I could to overcome them. Well, I had seen the movie “Jaws” perhaps one too many times as a kid, and I was DEATHLY afraid of sharks and the ocean.
Remember my buddy Joshua Daniels I had mentioned? He lived in a house boat/ship in the San Diego harbor area. And one day I was going with him to his house boat. I decided I was going to get in the ocean and face my fear of sharks.
We got out to the ship, and I had brought my swimsuit. I put on my swimsuit, went to the edge of the ship, and decided it was time to take the plunge. Splash!!!! I jumped in. My anxiety was through the roof. My fear was high. I stayed there, treading water, experiencing anxiety and fear, and worked on calming my insides while in the midst of this gripping experience. I did this for a good 5 minutes, until I decided I was good. Then I swam back to the boat.
Listen to That Voice
I helped Joshua clean his house boat, we hung out and played music – he had been trying to teach me music. We did this for hours, until evening was upon us. I said “I’m going to jump in the ocean one more time – just to be COMPLETELY sure that I am over this fear.”
So I walked out of the house part to the edge of the boat, ready to jump in. All of a sudden this little voice said “Don’t jump in.” I examined my heart, and I was able to discern it was not fear that was holding me back. It was a different voice. The gentle quiet voice that helps us so much in life. I believe this is the voice of God, the Holy Spirit, communicating to our spirit. So I obeyed. I did not jump in. I turned around to walk back toward the house, I took one step toward the house, when all of a sudden
There was a GIANT splash in the ocean, RIGHT where I was about to be. I rushed to the edge and looked over the side of the boat – and there was the guts of something that just got eaten floating all over the place. I think it was a seal that got eaten from how big it was. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ME!!!!!!!! I almost got eaten by a shark!!!!
I was all over the place. I was just in that water but a few hours earlier. Right where something just got eaten for dinner. Was the shark circling around earlier checking me out? What if I had not of been able to discern that fear vs. Holy Spirit voice telling me not to jump? I realized that day the importance of knowing and heeding that voice of wisdom. Being skillful at hearing God can literally save your life.