When I was young I was fearless. Seriously I think I should have competed in toddler fear factor or some other fearless childhood venture. I would swim in ice cold water, try flips off the diving board, and climb trees and cliffs without a second doubt. I was eager and willing to try and do everything, bold and confident in my active self. Not only I was fearless in the physical world but I was ever- so trusting with friendships- always expecting the best out of people. I had no fear in the world. I was at utmost security with myself, with my God, and with the people in my life whose job it was to protect me: my mom and dad.
I don't know when exactly I became afraid. Was it when my father and brother got hurt racing motocross doing the thing they loved? Was it when I got dropped on my back doing a trust fall? Was it when a guy I trusted a lot abused the relationship and I had to run from him? Or when I fell off my unicycle, broke my arm on a ripstick, or heard terrifying stories of the mission field?
I don't know one specific time when fear came upon me and anxiety entered into my thoughts. I don't remember when exactly I stopped feeling good enough, stopped feeling so brave. Yet I do remember my high school years after moving twice to different schools, I just stopped talking to most people in my class. I refused to talk to guys; I refused to answer the teacher. I literally went silent, into hiding mode, because I was afraid. Those were the beginning stages where fear began to cripple me- to hold me back from reaching God's highest potential for my life.
And I remember when I went to Campion Academy in Colorado the Lord told me that I needed to start surrendering some of those fears to Him. So in high school he helped me to play baseball (catcher actually) on a guys varsity team. This required a lot of faith and it made me nervous at times but I was forced to rely on Him to give me strength. Freshman year of college, I felt called by God to try out for Gym Masters which was out of my comfort zone. And it was challenging, extremely hard, socially and spiritually, again it pushed me to overcome some of my fears. And in the first month of Gym Masters, I was brave, but as the school year went through I gave up on many gymnastic skills and found myself juggling all alone in the corner throwing balls one after the other- bored to death- and I got mad at God and cried out to Him this isn't that fun anymore.
Ultimately though, my biggest fear factor year was the year after freshman year when I went to be a student missionary at AMOR Projects in Peru. I felt called to go to this facility even though I hated the medical field and had no desire to really work in it. And it was this year when God really gave me a list of some of my biggest fears and put them right in front of me and told me that He would help me face them and overcome them.
And for me this resulted in some of the biggest changes in my life. I felt God's call to actually change my college career and do nursing (which I didn't want to do). I felt God changing the very insides of my heart and making me a softer person. I was forced to rely on Christ to become vulnerable again inside the orphanage and with my Peruvian family and I faced many small fears that year like snakes, having to cut off my hair, illness and disease, a friend's death that pushed me actually closer to Christ instead of further away.
The thing is I believe as Christians, God is constantly asking us to step out of our comfort zones.
Like honestly I'm so NOT COMFORTABLE right now. I haven't been for the past 2 years ever since I went to missions, changed my major, followed God to be spiritual director, changed my friend groups, changed my life-- it's not easy. I'm not satisfied so called with life. But I do feel blessed. I do feel like God is constantly providing miracles for me. He is constantly speaking to me gently and helping me overcome whatever obstacles may be thrown. He is constantly questioning my fears and saying "remember when you gave that up to me" or let me help remake this part of your life.
It's ok to be afraid- to realize that you have a fear. Yet it's not ok for us to say "Because I'm afraid I'm not going to do this even though God is asking me to do." Fear is not an excused. In fact it's more of a reason why you should overcome. God calls us to be fearless. He tells us He is bigger than anything in our minds, in our physical realm, any person we should meet, any disease we should face, any nightmare that should bother us at night.
You see fear can literally ruin our lives. Fear is an obstacle; fear can keep us captive of ourselves or of others. It can cause us to not make friends (fear of trust, vulnerability) which can keep us from witnessing God's love to others. Fear can get in the middle of God's plans for your life. Fear is Satan's mechanism of getting you to think so much about yourself that you forget to look up at the Big God.
So what do we do when we are afraid? What are we do when we are anxious? What do we do when we realize that we are thinking fearful thoughts, that we are scared to do what God is calling us? That we are not following God's path because of our own selfishness?
What we do is we run to God. We tell God our fears, we whisper to Him our stories, and we listen as He says "Dear daughter, I know. I know not just each one of your fears, but I know why you are afraid of them. I remember the day when the first thought of doubt and fear came to your mind." The thing about Jesus is He not only wants to help us overcome our fears; but He knows exactly why we are afraid and the things that have hurt us at the bottom most deep places of our heart.
And God says to me. Let me deliver you from all your fears (Psalm 34:4). Let me be your shepherd that takes away your desires and helps you to lie down in greener pastures; let me restore your soul (Psalm 23:6). He says Come to me all you who labor and are heavy-laden or burdened, and you will find rest for your soul. For my burden is easy and my yoke is light.
The Lord promises us that He is bigger than whatever may face us- day or night- mental or physical. He is ready to help you overcome today. So take your fear hold it in your hand and throw it up to the Lord Almighty. He will provide faithful for you today. I believe in His name, you will receive power to overcome. (Acts 1:8 And you will receive power when the Holy Spirit shall come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the world.)