The moment was heart-wrenching as Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette took the ice to skate her Olympic program Tuesday night. Her mother, who had sacrificed so much to see her daughter make the Olympics, had unexpectedly passed on a couple of days earlier. Now Rochette had to muster the strength and composure to go forward despite her loss. She not only skated; she skated the best short program in her career.
Rochette’s example, and many more from the Olympics, make me appreciate how going forward doesn’t depend on the perfect set of circumstances. Breakthroughs happen despite how daunting, scary, and overwhelming things seem. Going forward happens when we stop letting our desire for comfort run things and instead focus on taking the next step needed to accomplish the goal. Sometimes in order to move forward, you have to get out of your comfort zone. This isn’t always easy.
If you feel that you’re holding back or hesitating to take some next step, even if you know what is right to do, you can challenge the fear by recognizing the presence and power of God, divine Love. You are not alone in your journey; God is with you, giving you what you need.
The Bible is full of inspiring examples of those who didn’t let fear or discouragement stop them from taking positive action. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, didn’t let anything stand in the way of his ministry despite being jailed, beaten, and shipwrecked. Paul explained how relying on Christ – that supporting and freeing power of God – made him strong. He referred to Christ’s strength moving in on his weakness, and how this led him to look at his limitations differently: “I have cheerfully made up my mind to be proud of my weaknesses, because they mean a deeper experience of the power of Christ. I can even enjoy weaknesses, insults, privations, persecutions and difficulties for Christ’s sake. For my very weakness makes me strong in him” (II Cor. 12:9, 10, J.B. Phillips).
At one point in my life I was feeling I needed God’s strength even more than usual. When I heard God’s direction to move forward in my practice of Christian Science healing, it was tempting to hold back until I could map everything out. But the important lesson I learned was to face the fear head-on rather than run away or refuse to follow God’s direction. I did this by leaning on God’s love and on the many examples the Bible gives of people who may have been afraid, but who were sustained as they went forward in His care.
For example, I thought of Moses’ experience when God asked him to lead the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. Afraid he didn’t have what he needed to go forward, Moses asked God for a sign. God asked Moses to throw his rod on the ground. When he did, the rod became a serpent and Moses ran away because he was afraid. But God asked him to come back and take the serpent by the tail. When he did, the serpent turned into a rod (see Ex. 4:1–4). The lesson was clear: Face the fear and then see it disappear.
That’s what I did. I faced my fears about pursuing my healing work by trusting in Love, God, over and over again. And each time I did, the fear left and my needs were met.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, wrote, “Be of good cheer; the warfare with one’s self is grand; it gives one plenty of employment, and the divine Principle worketh with you, – and obedience crowns persistent effort with everlasting victory” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," p. 118).
If you’re going to take a forward step and you’re shaking with fear, you don’t have to be concerned. Divine Love is right there with you, holding you up and moving you forward.