I’ve got a friend who is a rock climber. I wish I had an adventurous hobby like that, but I don’t. I tend to lean toward hobbies that allow me to excel at them while holding a Yeti cup in my hand.

But he absolutely loves adventure and rock climbing and stuff like that. He tells me that when you’re rock climbing, as long as you’re just hanging on where you are, it’s impossible to go any higher. As aforementioned, I’ve never done any rock climbing, but I can imagine that when you’re fifty, seventy-five, or a hundred feet up on a steep rock face, having both hands and both feet dug into a good, tight hold would feel pretty good. When gravity is working against you, it’s nice to know you can hang on to something.

But guess what? Hanging on where you are guarantees that you won’t go anywhere—up or down. To make progress in either direction, you’ve got to release your present security and reach out.

I believe that many of us, in our battles with our fears and troubles, have given up on progress and settled for just not falling. I understand that impulse. I really do. It’s paralyzed me more times than I can count. But I believe we have a God who longs to reach out and take us by the hand and draw us up toward higher ground. And as long as our fists are clenched around the things we presently trust, we can’t grip God’s outstretched hand. We won’t go any higher.

I’m convinced that no matter what you are holding on to right now—whether it is your 401(k), your job title, your protective mistrust of the people around you, your anger at a friend’s betrayal, your ideology, your dependence upon another person, or whatever it is you think makes you feel safe—you will be more secure once you’ve let go of that and grabbed God’s hand.

The faithfulness of God is far stronger than whatever fears or challenges are holding you back. He doesn’t promise that it will be easy (anything that exceeds the bounds of our comfort zone rarely is)- but God didn’t call us to live comfortably in contentment either. He calls us to live with a faith-filled, love-fueled and grace-addicted heart. Not one constrained by the paralysis of fear, hurt, or our past.