The past semester and season of my life has been . . . a lot. It has been good and bad and, simply put, a lot. I’m at a very different place than I was last year at this time. And as I sit here, 373 days after that post, I am overwhelmed and amazed at what God has done and how He is chiseling me.
For starters, I have spent more of this semester confused than confident and stressed than strong. I have spent hours worrying about things that aren’t in my control, days doubting something that is easily in my reach, and so many moments frustrated at my Father. One of my good friends always says, “Things done with love are done well”. It’s a nice quote, but frankly, I never cared to think much about it. Obviously things done with love are done well?
This semester I have been acting out of fear. For four months, I have let an inevitable “what if” control my steps, control my thoughts. I have been making decisions fearfully, I have not been trusting fully, and I have relied on my on strength constantly. The latter two points are important, but I want to touch on fear. Because, as the girl who has blasted Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” since the day I was sixteen, skydives, and drives over the speed limit, I never thought fear would be a problem of mine (I’m still in a bit of denial about it . . . shh.)
With every decision I have made, I’ve been worried about how it would be viewed by friends or family. With every internship application filled out, I was able to fully convince myself I wouldn’t get it before I even clicked submit. I call it “being realistic,” but ultimately, it’s being terrified. With every sickness, every illness, every bug that I caught, I was sitting there waiting for the bad news. Waiting to be told the worst, waiting to break down for the umpteenth time, waiting in fear. I feared as the Ferguson verdict came out; I feared as I read Twitter with the pure hatred and anger I came across. I worried incessantly about my never-ending and self-imposed to-do list. I feared as being sick prevented me from running and how I really, really enjoyed doing that. I feared every day of December because December hasn’t always been my favorite month. I had a nearly full-fledged panic attack, ask Lauren, as my final grades loaded and they weren’t what I wanted.
I feared God. I view my Dad as a Dictator and feared Him, like at any waking-minute He was going to take away something or somebody I loved. And that’s when something hit me. Fear is powerful. Fear is so powerful and fear is paralyzing. I wasn’t able to laugh freely, to smile carelessly (okay, I don’t know if I did either of those things before). When I was terrified–petrified–of God, I was not able to fully love Him.
And as I worked through four months of grueling pain, of grueling fear, I was reminded a couple things. I was reminded that fear and love are one-in-the-same. That the things I love deeply, I have a fear of losing. That the things I fear immensely, I find hard to love. It’s a weird theory of sorts, but I find that the things I care most about, are often the things I worry and stress about, too. I care about my future and spend a lot of time worried about it. I know my future is, in part, determined by my education, so I spend a lot of time stressed about my grades.
I was also reminded that a life with God is a life without fear, without worry, without stress. That He blatantly tells us not to worry about tomorrow, that He articulates to us that He has a plan for our future–a good, better-than-we-can-imagine plan. Following God is living fearlessly. I believe that if we want to live a full life for Him and seek a future promised to us, we do that fearlessly. Like a trust fall, like being led with a blindfold, we simply go. We go with Him, as He walks with us. We go with Him fearlessly because He has gone before us, because He has finished it.