I settled in one night and flipped on “60 Minutes.” It was the story of Alex Honnold, a 26-year-old rock climber from Sacramento, California. But not just any rock climber. Alex scales walls higher than the Empire State building. And he does it without ropes, harnesses, or any sort of safety gear. He does it with rock shoes, a flask of water, a few energy bars, and a chalk bag dangling from his waist. This was hard for me to watch. I don’t even like to climb a ladder. One wrong move, one slip and Alex will go tumbling down an 1,800-foot rock face to his death. It looked as if this kid had conquered fear.
Then something happened. Alex stood frozen on a tiny ledge as the wind whistled by his ears. He was motionless for several minutes as a camera crew followed him. “I’m actually freaking out a little right now,” he confessed. A few minutes later, he was back on the move; reaching, climbing, doing. He later explained that he let doubt creep in and he had to gather himself. He had to find what he calls his, ‘mental armor.’ “I had to tell myself, okay, I’m all right. It’s just a matter of standing up,” he said.
Just think if we approached each day of our lives this way.
That night I couldn’t sleep. I thought about the seemingly insurmountable mountains in my path. I wondered how I missed out on the courage Alex Honnold had. And I envied him. If my faith is as strong as I claim it to be, I thought, then it makes no sense to be afraid. It seems I let doubt creep in. I have to discover my own mental armor—remind myself that I’m okay; to just stand up and keep climbing. It’s really amazing. We tend to forget about all we’ve already climbed, as if it doesn’t matter. It does.
“This year I’ve really embraced the whole experience, embraced the unpleasant parts too. It’s kind of cool to just look around and say, this is why I’m here. This is awesome.” ~ Alex Honnold
We can learn a lot from Alex. I know I can.
The phrase, “Do not be afraid” appears in the Bible 365 times. That’s God telling us every single day, “I got this.” No matter what we face, no matter what has already happened, no matter how large the mountain in front of us.
That is real belief.
Watch Alex here if you dare: