“You did change, and you haven’t taken any steps back,” Martha said to me.
I sat there in amazement as it all came quietly ripping into my heart. I had been really questioning the change that happened in my while in Honduras, and feeling like I had seriously taken steps backwards.
I don’t know of anyone who wants to admit they they are fearful, of anything. Of course we all have our openly-voiced fears of snakes, spiders and sky diving, but nobody wants to admit that they live in fear. Fear of goodbyes, commitment, past experience or future dreams.
I was sitting at work having random conversation with my co-worker and mentor, when she flat out told me that I was a fearful person. My immediate reaction was to defend myself, but then the thoughts came flooding in and I understood what she meant. I have been known to run away when things get real or when commitment has to be made. I have done it all of my life, and until Honduras, I didn’t even recognize it.
In Honduras, I had several experiences that caused me to run straight into fear. To not only face it, but engage it. I was constantly wrestling with it. God did so much healing in my life during that time, but it was one of the scariest things I’ve experienced.
I can think of so many times in my life that when people began to care, I became fearful and ran away.
In fact, one of my absolute dearest friends is going to Mongolia for two years at the end of this summer. A year or so ago, I completely walked away from our friendship because I was afraid. I couldn’t wrap my mind around caring and investing in someone that was going to get up and walk away eventually. I couldn’t understand that just because she was leaving eventually, the friendship we had was still worth it. I don’t know what our friendship will look like years from now. I do know that Chelsea will forever be part of my prayers and the impact she has had on my life will never be forgotten.
If you know me at all, you know that I have never truly had a boyfriend. I’ve been on a couple dates here and there, and been in one “almost” relationship (we all know those!), but never something substantial and lasting. For many years, I have felt that there were many more important things other than dating. I have never been opposed to it, but I have also never left my focus there.
When I look back at the opportunities for relationships that have existed, all I can see is fear. Often in a twisted manner. I used to have a tendency of falling for guys that I knew nothing serious would come of them. Why? Because it was an easy out. I didn’t have to truly invest myself and my heart.
The one person that I truly could see a future with and engaged that fear instead of buying into it, was the one person who has taught me what vulnerability is. I learned what it looks like to let others help me, I learned what it means to lay down preferences, I learned what it means to follow someones lead and trust him in that, and I learned the true nature of a healthy relationship. Obviously, things didn’t turn out, but I can honestly say that I have no regrets in that experience.
Since being back from Honduras, there are countless times that I have had to acknowledge the old, fearful self and engage it. I have placed myself in places of commitment in order to push through this fear that quietly rests in my heart. The thing about fear is that we often don’t recognize it ourselves. We have to have people in our lives that can see it and reveal it.
The most redundant thing about fear, is that the idea of fear itself is scary. Admitting that I was once scared of commitment was terrifying to me. There are days that I can feel that fear residing in me, but I have learned how to call it out. All of this time, I was learning how to face it, but didn’t actually understand what it was I was facing.
I’m constantly amazed at how God uses others to encourage, strengthen and challenge us. I am incredibly blessed to have people in my life that are honest, even when that’s not the easiest way.
What are some things in your life that you are fearful of, but are too afraid to admit and come to terms with? Do you have someone in your life that can call out the fear in you and help you to recognize it? Have you asked God to reveal those fears in you and to teach you how to work through them?
I believe it is a long, and possibly never-ending process.
Have a blessed day!