The Tomboy

I’m a tomboy, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

As a child, instead of playing dolls or hopscotch with the rest of the girls, I spent recess “galloping” across the playground as a “horse”. Instead of lying in the sun and enjoying the ocean, I passed my time at the beach by climbing the cliffs at the edge of the sand.

It wasn’t that I disliked doing “girl” things. It was simply that I preferred climbing trees, hunting cicada skins, building tumbleweed forts, riding horses—and backpacking! To this day, my idea of a perfect vacation is to slip on my hiking shoes, call the dog, and take off for some remote parts of the world known only to mosquitoes.

Having grown up in the Los Angeles area, the most logical hiking spots were in the San Angeles Mountains. The trails in the area often crisscross streams and creeks, which can become quite swollen in the spring. In addition, the frequent forest fires, coupled with the sometimes-heavy winter rains, often result in mud and rock slides that pit the trails with washed-out sections.

While these may not seem like “big” obstacles to most people, to an 8 year-old girl with a heavy backpack, fording swollen streams and crossing mudslides were ominous undertakings. It was then that I learned I had a BIG desire to maintain my body in ONE PIECE! This observation immediately gave birth to a fear of falling, and this fear mushroomed with each slippery log, each set of too-widely spaced moss-covered rocks, and each washed-out section of the trail. Before long, it was also interfering with horseback riding, rock climbing, and sadly, even tree climbing! It was keeping me from being a tomboy!

Until one day, that is.

We had come to a particularly wide section of washed-out trail. As I watched the older kids pick their way from one shifty-looking foothold to another, I realized there was no way I would ever make it across. It was then that I knew I had to make a decision: Either I gave up my fear of falling, or I gave up being a tomboy!

The choice was clear: Fear had to go!

So I started out, one foot at a time: You can do it! You can do it! I didn’t allow myself to look up or down. I didn’t even allow myself to look ahead. I only allowed myself to concentrate on the next step.

Needless to say, I made it across that “chasm” unscathed. And by handling the next swollen stream and scary section of the trail in the same manner, I slowly overcame my fear of falling. The inner strength I discovered that day served me well throughout my childhood, and nothing ever again came between me and being a tomboy!

As life went on, however, I quickly learned that most problems are bigger than what I could conquer on my own. For example, it didn’t matter how much inner strength I had, it couldn’t change the fact that I hated my job. It couldn’t heal my husband’s back pain. It couldn’t change my children’s defiant behavior, or make them do better with their schoolwork. This lack of control frustrated me beyond comprehension.

Then I learned that I did have something within that was strong enough to combat even the worst situation. I had asked Jesus into my heart, and now HE resided there! All I had to do was rely on Him. I had to let Him hold my hand!

But after relying on my own strength for so many years, it was hard to relinquish control. Just like my fear of falling nearly ripped away my childhood desire to be a tomboy, control now threatened to snatch my ability to overcome the now-bigger obstacles. I was again faced with a decision: Give up, or relinquish control.

Again, the choice was clear: Control had to go!

So I started out. One step at a time: I can do ALL things—THROUGH CHRIST! I couldn’t allow myself to look at the situation—the illness, my children’s behavior, the reality of a stressful job. I couldn’t even allow myself to look ahead to what could be. I had to learn to focus on one step at a time, trusting Jesus with the rest. Where I once had reached inside for inner strength, I now reached inside for Jesus’ strength!

By relying on Jesus for each situation that arises, my much-bigger problems no longer have the ability to make me afraid. I have once again conquered fear—and concern, worry, anxiety, apprehension, and even my fretfulness! As long as I rest in the arms of Christ, nothing will ever again come between me and being—A Tomboy for Christ!

God bless each one of you!

Lyn Chaffart

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