Fear Itself

Ever stopped long enough to wonder what it is you’re afraid of? I need to, have to, want to, should, but I’m afraid to __________. That’s the story of several things in my life. Some I need to do, others I have to, but I’m afraid to for one reason or another; I honestly looked at myself the other day and wondered, what is it I’m really afraid of? What’s the problem, really?

Short version: I was convinced God wanted me to be a teacher in addition to youth minister. I went back to school and received my Bachelor’s (Summa Cum Laude) in education, was told by all who watched me that I would be great, was tolerated by some students, loved by many . . . but that last semester got me. I suddenly thought things like, “this is NOT what I had in mind” and “this is apparently NOT where I belong.” I abandoned that plan and decided to do something else. Hasn’t worked out for me. I had my doubts at first, and thought for a while that I was indeed doing what God planned all along by pursuing something else. Apparently not; over time I have seen every other door slam in my face. I have now accepted that unless I completely misunderstand the situation, I will end up teaching, and I’m not excited. Why?

Now there are honestly many reasons, but I was honest with God and myself a few days ago. The biggest reason I could come up with: I’m afraid, afraid I’ll be miserable. I’m afraid He has chosen something for me that I won’t enjoy, to put it nicely. The thing about teaching is that you sign a contract, so you can’t just back out. (Sidenote: I don’t take commitments lightly.) I think that any other reason I could list would fall under that category. I know, it’s not about me; God will empower me to do what He calls me to; etc. I know all that, and I believe it. But, it doesn’t change the way I feel. So now what? I’m not sure. I’ll obey, if I KNOW what I’m supposed to do, even if it doesn’t mean happiness. My hope is that if that really is my path my fear will seem foolish after a day or two and I will love it. Even if that’s not the case though, I will go if I must.

To be fair here, I usually really enjoy actually teaching; it’s all the other, which is a huge category, that ruins it for me.

There’s much more to that whole story, but I won’t bore you. I will say that realization spurred me onto pondering what other things I’m afraid of though.

I LOVE playing guitar. I LOVE singing. I LOVE worship and praise music, or just music in general that expresses what my heart feels. I love leading others in singing. I enjoy singing in front of whoever will listen, though I have a hard time doing it. I’ve now had around 6 or 7 people hear me and encourage me to share my voice with everyone. I want to. So why don’t I? What am I afraid of? I think I’m afraid I will sound the way I hear myself. I have heard my voice and can’t stand it. Apparently it doesn’t sound that way to others. Maybe I’m afraid my dreams will come true. I just had a poignant thought: what if I’m afraid of standing on the platform God designed me for? Maybe I’m afraid of being embarrassed or talked about. I’ll be quick to admit that I am afraid of being disliked, not a quality I care for.

I’m afraid of failing.

I’m afraid of spiders (like any other sane person).

I’m afraid of not being in control.

I’m afraid I won’t do my part.

My brain hurts now. Maybe I will add to the list later.

What are you afraid of? I’m dying to find out I’m not the only one afraid of things I know I shouldn’t be.

 

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2 thoughts on “Fear Itself

  1. My goodness! The entire time I was reading this post, I was thinking, “You took the words right out of my mouth!” My situation is so similar to yours! I’m in a place, as well, where I’m just terrified to find out what the Lord has in store for me. Surrendering to His plan is certainly not an easy thing to do. All that I’ve ever wanted to do was be a homemaker- I’ve watched my mother do it for 21 incredible years, and I can honestly think of no worthier career. My dream was always to marry straight out of high school, like a number of my friends were doing, but come graduation, God gave me not a husband, but an acceptance letter to Yale.

    I matriculated (so scary! I’m like you when it comes to commitments) and came here, doing just as the Lord told me to do, but I have suffered terribly from homesickness and loneliness ever since. Thus far, God’s plan has been a real struggle for me, but I’m doing everything I can to hold up my commitment to Him anyway. It makes me think of that song, “Lonesome Valley”. We’ve all got to walk them sometimes, to get to where the Lord is sending us, and even though I have no idea where that is right now, I am confident that God will reward me for being obedient to Him, even in the face of uncertainty.

    I’m terrified by the fact God’s plan has included something that makes me miserable. I have moments of doubt where I think, “What if the entire life that He’s planned for me leaves me feeling this way?” But then I remember that God promises that we find true joy in Him, and living in accordance to His will and His word, so I know for sure that wherever this path is headed, there is supreme happiness and fulfillment at its end. Even Jesus had to be obedient to a cruel and frightening fate: crucifixion, but through God, He was able to overcome death and achieve His purpose of extending salvation to mankind, and takes great joy in seeing God’s children united with the Father again because of what He did. We just have to remember that if we do as He tells us, God will raise us up like this, as well. But it sure is hard sometimes.

    I’ll be praying for clarity and peace for you as you discern where the Lord is leading you! God bless!

    • My apologies, I do check fairly often and try to quickly reply, but when I think I will write a long one I wait until I’m on a computer.

      It really did make my day to know someone out there feels my pain, and from the same part of the country no less! I admire your going across the country as you have out of obedience, and I genuinely think many people vastly underestimate the importance and difficulty of being a housewife. I believe that how we handle marriage and raise our kids will be at the very top of the things we will be held accountable for.

      Thanks for reminding me that even if I do end up being miserable it won’t compare to the misery that He knew for me. I get all wrapped up in my immediate surroundings and forget the bigger picture.

      I would like to add a little to my story. As of today I have been asked to meet with my employer from several years ago. I never intended to go back (slightly above minimum wage job). I still have good friends there, and management was always good to me, but it feels like a huge step backward after all that’s happened since then. You see, even in accepting that God apparently is SERIOUS about the teaching thing I have been searching everywhere for income until I can find a permanent job. Considering that I haven’t been able to get on at even those jobs where they will hire anyone, I can only assume this is exactly what He wants me to do. I’m thankful for the opportunity when it seems that no one else will extend their hand to me. I spoke with the boss’ wife today and after thinking a while I realized that they see my worth as an employee. I have to say that it felt great for someone to think enough of me to say they would find room. I guess the moral of the story is to pay attention and be thankful for those who see our worth. Also, I am doing my best to think of the big story, there may be someone I will meet during this time who I am to show Jesus to. Who knows? Regardless, I am excited to see what will happen in the near future simply because I’m confident He is leading the way.

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