“Just before you break through the sound barrier, the cockpit shakes the most.” - Chuck Yaeger
Can you imagine what it must have been like? In 1947, Chuck Yaeger -- only having been in service for a whopping six years -- is strapped into an experimental jet attempting to do the impossible and break the sound barrier for the first time ever. It’s so groundbreaking and dangerous, he doesn’t know if he’ll make it out alive much less be successful. But he believes in his mission and presses forward anyway. As the jet roars through the desert, everything around him starts shaking more and more. What if he’d caved to his fears, hit the breaks, and quit not knowing his miracle breakthrough was just around the corner?
It was a triumphant moment for me. I had just purchased my web domain name for my new business, and I was literally doing a happy dance in the living room. Big enough news to make the front page of the Washington Post? Not so much. But for me, it was a very tangible step that I needed to celebrate. I was walking in faith doing the thing I knew in my bones God had called me to do. There’s really no way to explain the sheer exhilaration, freedom, and joy God gifts you when you’re walking in obedience. I paused to soak in His grace.
Literally two minutes later, I was in the fetal position on my couch…I’m not even kidding. My “you don’t matter” gremlin was clawing away at me like I had NEVER felt before. My joy was replaced with doubt: “Why did you do that?” “It won’t amount to anything…YOU won’t amount to anything.” “Wasted money.” I couldn’t believe the 180 I had done. Instead of stuffing the emotion down -- a previously effective coping mechanism that no longer served me -- I got curious about why I felt the way I did. And as I analyzed the previous times my gremlins really flared up, I had an epiphany:
When I most walk in obedience with God’s will is when the enemy attacks me the most. And giiiirl was my cockpit rattling!
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” - 1 Cor 10:13
I could’ve laid there and wallowed all night. I am an expert wallower, after all. I honed that thought pattern for years, and it was as warm and comfy as the smell of my mama’s fresh baked bread on a snowy day. And right when I was about to settle in for a solid wallowing session, I realized: mama’s bread isn’t good for my thighs just like wallowing isn’t good for my walk with Christ.
“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Don’t be deceived, my brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” - James 1:14-17
I had to make a choice. I could either allow myself to be deceived or trust the God who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I spoke the truth from God’s word even though I didn’t really believe it in my heart in that moment. When Jesus was in the desert being tempted by Satan, the Lord’s response always started with, “It is written…” Not “I feel…” or “I think…” Jesus never sinned, but He experienced every single earthly emotion and responded to temptation by repeating God’s truth. I also reminded myself of instances in the Bible where God met his children exactly where they were. A father desperate for his son to be healed from possession begs Jesus to help him with his unbelief (Mark 9:24). Even Doubting Thomas had to be shown the wounds in Jesus’s hands to believe he had actually been resurrected (John 20:27).
I wish I could put a perfect little bow on this story and tell you that my business took off, doors magically opened, and champagne fell from the sky. The truth is my journey is still new. But God promises He will reward those who are faithful, and I can’t wait to see what God does on this crazy journey of life. So Satan can rattle the cockpit as much as he wants, because I stand on the truth that he’s already been defeated.
What thing do you feel God asking you to be obedient in that is absolutely terrifying? What is truly the worst thing that could happen if it doesn’t work out? Is dealing with that “failure” worse than sinning against God?