Getting Unstuck from Fear: How Surfing Helped Me Find My Courage and Joy

By Angie Gibbons

God's Brave Women - Angie's Story


I like to say that I surf. But what I do has more in common with a baby who has just learned to toddle back and forth between its parents. We call it walking but we all know it is really falling in slow motion.


My version of surfing also involves wobbles and regular falls. It has changed my life nevertheless. In fact, I have come to believe that God uses the unexpected, sometimes the things that terrify us a little, to unlock our full potential.


"I have come to believe that God uses the unexpected, sometimes the things that terrify us a little, to unlock our full potential."

I had been nervous in pool-deep water since I was a kid. Nervous about heights. Nervous about enclosed spaces. All around nervous. It turned into continuous anxiety in my adulthood.


I was in my early 40s when I got the call that my dad had been in an accident and was in serious condition. Just a handful of days later he chose to withdrawal life-sustaining care so he could, in his own words, “go to heaven instead.”


He left this life the same way He lived it—calm, confident, and faithful. He left me deeply unsettled.


A Christian for most of my life, I had well-defined opinions about eternity and a relationship with God I felt was secure. Losing my dad, a constant source of strength in my life, exposed my soft underbelly. All of my doubts and fears came to the surface in dramatic fashion. I was a believer, yes. But I was terrified of so many things. I knew I was living a half-life, accepting fear as part of my every day, part of my own identity.