Fear Factor


For the most part, I like being me. I enjoy my personality and quirks; I like the things that make me different. There are moments, however, when I wish I was someone else. I wish I responded differently in that situation, I wish I was more this and less that, I wish a natural at x, y, or z. Sometimes I wish I could just shut off my brain entirely so I didn’t have to wish at all!

I was struggling through some of that wishing today. I was caught between wishing for two extremes: wishing I could give up in a new venture and wishing I was better at it so I could do it successfully. All sorts of thoughts flooded my mind and drove me to tears, including: I’m “too much and not enough” (one of the evilest thoughts ever), I’ll never get it right and it’s only causing me pain to keep trying, I just wasn’t cut out for this after all, I’m doomed to never see my dream come true.

Going crazy rattling around in my head and apartment, I slipped outside to walk my favorite “thinking” route. The air and exercise helped clear my head a little, but the funk was pervasive and stuck with me once I came inside. I was able to work through my thinking enough to pinpoint that the root problem was the most dangerous thing in the world — fear. So when I got home, I turned to the Bible–something I don’t do early enough when dealing with a problem–for verses on fear. As I read, new tears trekked down my face, but for a different reason. I felt peace wash over me and a very real relaxation in my muscles. I was reminded that God loves me, approves of me, has good plans for me, and is with me wherever I go. I was reminded of where my focus should be, not a “should” born of regulation, but of a Father’s love for His daughter. I was reminded that no matter what anyone thought–including myself–I am precious, beloved, irreplaceable, and incomparable. I can be rejected a thousand times by people, but my worth will stay constant. Who I am, including all the things I wish were different, is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps 139:14) .

He is the “God who sees me” (Gen 16:13-14), who knows every weakness, every dream, every wound. Sometimes I ask Him in a small voice, “But what about my dream? It’s great that you love, know, and approve of me, but it seems that the way I am makes it nearly impossible for me to see my dream fulfilled.” I think He answers, “Look at Moses, Esther, David, Paul, Peter…none of them were ‘right’ for their calling but still I fulfilled my promises for and through them!”

I’m a work in progress, and I have to trust that He who began a good work in me is faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:5-7). In the meantime, I have this promise to hold on to:  “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

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