Mountain View - Advance! By Paula Friedrichsen

Writer Author  Church On The Mountain
Christian Column : Christian Living  - Fiction  No

Christian Author Writer One of my favorite family photographs was taken years ago at an amusement park. We were at the top of a ride called Splash Mountain and the picture was taken just as we were starting our harrowing decent. Disneyland cleverly designed an automatic camera, positioned at the scariest part of the ride to take a photo of the unsuspecting riders just after they crest a huge hill and are plummeting straight down. These hilarious pictures are then displayed at the exit of Splash Mountain and are available to purchase, which we obviously did.

Friedrichsen Park RideI love this photograph because it is so real and unrehearsed. Usually, when you know someone is going to take your picture you put on a pretty smile and fix your hair, wanting to look your best. This picture is completely spontaneous, showing a perfect blend of joy and terror upon our faces. It’s my husband, eyes bulging, mouth open, screaming, smiling and hanging on to me. It’s me laughing so hard I can’t catch my breath and hanging on to my husband’s arms with a death grip. It’s my son with his baseball cap on backwards (so it didn’t fly off) smiling, squinting, screaming and hanging on to his little sister. It’s my daughter, mouth open, eyes closed, digging her little hands into her brother’s strong arms. And before you start feeling sorry for our youngest, this ride was her idea. I normally don’t like being terrified, but she begged me to go so our whole family could experience the terror together!

I look at that photograph often and I consider it a reminder from God that I really do enjoy new and exciting experiences. I sense the Lord speaking to me through that picture saying “Let your life be an adventure, have courage and embrace new experiences all the time.”

There is exhilaration in trying something new. Studies show that the mental stimulation experienced when a person, young or old, tries something new can actually improve the health of the brain. So often we get stuck in the rut of doing the same exact thing, the same exact way, at the same exact time. And while having a routine can be a good thing, there are those of us (I’m talking about myself here) who can become bound to our routine as if it were the law.

I have seen the Lord move in great ways in my life when I was willing to take few risks. And just as Jesus beckoned Peter to step out of the boat, walk on water and come to him, I believe Jesus beckons each one of us to step out of our comfort zone, walk on water and come to him. We can count on God to supply many opportunities for us to get out of the boat and walk on water. He has provided such an adventurous life for us if we just open our eyes to the possibilities. But make no mistake; fear will always rear its ugly head, screaming “get back in the boat and stay safe!”

Fear is that horrible, sick, sinking feeling that’s meant to stop us in our tracks, making sure that we never experience the abundant life Christ came to give us. Every one of us will face the temptation to turn back, tuck tail and run at some point in our lives. The failure is not in being tempted to run, but in the running. I am inspired by what Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his first inaugural address:

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror, which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

So, when life is feeling like you’re at the top of a roller coaster with a huge scary drop right before your eyes—that’s not the time to retreat! That’s the time to advance. That’s the time to put a big smile on your face, scream if you need to, hug those you love and advance! Advance and enjoy!!

Paula Friedrichsen is a member of Church on the Mountain, a vibrant community of believers in Crowley Lake. We meet at 9:30 Sunday mornings. Call for more information: 935-4272 or

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