Overcoming fears and letting go: How to stop dangling

Have you ever felt stuck in life or perhaps exhausted by your efforts? It just may be time to let go and move forward to victory. Photo: Photo: Kristi Overton-Johnson

TAMPA, Florida, October 8, 2012 ― Recently I was teaching a teenage girl to water ski at one of our In His Wakes events. Like many of our participants, this young lady had never been in the water before and was terrified by the idea of getting out of the boat in the middle of this huge lake.

Over and over again she responded to my persistent invitations, “No thank you, Ma’am.”

After about thirty minutes of reminding this participant that she would be perfectly safe in her life vest and encouraging her with the truth that she didn’t need to know how to swim to ski, she started to consider the idea of getting out of the boat. Finally, with the promise that I would be right by her side and able to give her a helping hand if needed, she agreed to give water skiing a try.

I knew with her athletic build, she would be successful her very first attempt. All she needed to do was lay her fear aside and get out of the boat. If she did, victory would soon be hers!

With much reluctance, she sat on the side of the boat as I put on her skis. She didn’t even crack a smile when I asked her if she felt like Cinderella as I put the “slippers” on her feet. After a few more minutes of encouragement and promises of safety, she finally slipped off the side of the boat and into the water. Well, almost into the water. Before her knees had even touched the water, she panicked, twisted her body around, and grabbed the side of the boat with both arms. No matter what I said, she refused to let go of the boat. She was adamant about maintaining control.

As I watched this girl desperately hold on to the side of the boat, I realized the irony of the situation. The very thing she thought she needed to save her life was the very thing keeping her from victory. As she clung to the side of the boat, she wasn’t able to move forward. To put it mildly, she was stuck.

Furthermore, the very thing she clung to with all of her might was the very thing depleting every ounce of her energy. How much easier and enjoyable this experience would have been if she had released her grip and allowed me to float her to where she needed to be. By trying to maintain control (and do things her way), she was exhausting herself and the people around her.

Have you ever felt stuck in life? Have you ever felt exhausted by your efforts? Have you ever fought so hard to maintain control but failed to see results? I know I have.

Could it be that like this young lady we are holding onto something or even someone who may be holding us back? Could it be that you and I are just too afraid of the unknown or too stubborn to “let go” and trust the One who is able to bring us to victory?

Consider your current state for a moment and I’ll consider mine. If we are completely honest with ourselves, can we not find some area in our lives where we are dangling from the side of the boat, hanging on with all of our might, trying to manipulate situations or perhaps even people?

Can we not find ourselves clawing our way back to a place of comfort that we just aren’t willing to move away from?

Perhaps we are desperately clinging to a relationship, career, idea, money, location, or desire. Maybe our hearts and minds have secured a death grip on comfortable emotions such as anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, jealousy, or revenge. Or, perhaps fear, guilt, pride, and shame. These things, people, and emotions often seem right at the time, and justifiable, but in the end, they are the very things that cause us to be “stuck” in life.

By letting go of the boat and believing in herself, she experienced victory. (Photo: Kristi Overton-Johnson)

By letting go of the boat and believing in herself, she experienced victory. (Photo: Kristi Overton-Johnson)


They are also the things that rob us of our joy, peace, and even our time, energy, and resources. In reality, these are the very things that keep us from moving forward to that place of victory God has prepared for us.

Like the young girl at our event, it’s time to let go and simply trust the One who is able to do abundantly more than we can ever hope for or imagine. It’s time to trust His heart towards us and His plan for us. As we let go and let God have His way in our lives, victory is right around the corner!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11


Kristi Overton Johnson is a wife, mother and an eight-time world waterskiing champion. Having retired from professional sports, Kristi now helps others fulfill their God-given destiny. She is the founder of Champion’s Heart and In His Wakes, divisions of KOJ Ministries. Kristi currently resides in the Lake Area Region with her husband, Tim, and their three children.

To read more by Kristi go to http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/his-wakes

To learn about her mission and work visit Kristi Overton Johnson Ministries.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Kristi Overton-Johnson


As a professional water skier for over 20 years and the World Record Holder in women’s slalom from 1992-2010, Kristi Overton Johnson has taken to the waters of the world with passion and perseverance. Kristi began her waterskiing career at the age of 4 and turned professional at 13. For 15 years, Kristi dominated women’s slalom, accumulating 80 professional wins and capturing more number one world rankings than any other female skier in history.
Before retiring from professional sports, Kristi founded a non-profit water sports ministry In His Wakes. Since its inception, In His Wakes has touched the lives of over 10,000 at-risk youth across the nation and internationally. This unique ministry brings hope, healing and encouragement through the avenue of water sports and through the message of God's love.
For years, Kristi has travelled nationally and internationally as a faith-based motivational speaker encouraging people through her life experiences as an athlete, wife, mother and ministry leader. Kristi also ministers through song and through her gift as a writer. In Running the Course, her first book, she wrote about her experiences as a top professional athlete and how through faith she found purpose for her life. 
Although Kristi is committed to helping others achieve their God-given destinies, she realizes that her first priority is her family. Kristi has been married to best friend Tim Johnson since 1994. Tim and Kristi have three children, the youngest of which were both adopted from Russia in 2004. They reside in North Florida where they raise their family and serve their community through Kristi Overton Johnson Ministries

Contact Kristi Overton-Johnson


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