I went and did it - looked not good enough in its ugly, lying face and submitted this article to Kelly Balarie's #FearFightingBook contest. It's my prayer that you, too, will be inspired to clobber any fear that lingers in your life.
If my words are an encouragement to you, I humbly ask that you'd vote for my submission. It's easy! Just click the button below and leave this number in the comment box at the bottom of the page:
With gratitude and truly nothing to lose,
She knew the answer, but couldn’t speak the words.
She took the blame to get it over with.
She had a question, but didn’t risk the attention.
She tried the new thing, but made sure nobody was watching.
She dated the guy and sold herself short.
She made the friend but held her at a distance.
She changed herself when the world wouldn't change.
She hid. She shrunk. She conceded.
Invisible is always safer than the fear of being abandoned, attacked, or ignored...
until it costs a woman her soul.
If you'd asked me a few months ago about fear, my nonchalant response would have been, “I don't really have any. Well, except torture, permanent disfigurement, or the death of a loved one. You know…the 'big-ticket' fears.” Now you can picture me shrugging my shoulders, but understand this one thing:
I intimately know the woman I wrote about above, because she is me. And sometimes, she is you too.
My initial answer sounds over-confident in hindsight. Forgive me, please. I suffer tragic bouts of avoidance once in a while and I suspect that I'm not the only one. Who has any desire to sit around and dwell on fear? It can be agonizing to take a seat with self-awareness, because acknowledging how we really think and feel can trigger avalanches of anxiety. That truth stated, fear isn't always packaged as the "big-ticket" catastrophe. It's crafty, concealed within in a thousand tiny avoidances over the course of our day:
"I'm not bothered. No need to talk about it."
"Sure, I'm fine with whatever you want to do."
"Nah, that job wasn't even really important to me."
"Ok, I'll rearrange my schedule."
"Yeah, that'd be great for the holidays."
"I'll make it happen."
We push steady - from the first sip of that frothy coffee brew, until the minute our heads leave dents in the pillow after dark. We outrun our apparitions, because doing makes for a much better distraction than just being. We believe we'll avoid disappointment if we can prove ourselves useful and important - ever-reliable "go-to" girls.
There's a catch beyond the sheer exhaustion of the race and it's this: In the midst of our very doing, we render ourselves vulnerable to the fear we've pushed down deep. Because we haven't faced it head-on, fear wells up at the most inopportune times.
- We count ourselves out, just because we believe that somebody else might.
- We say "yes" when we ought to say "no," and our God-given purpose fades into the fog of others' needs.
- We don't speak up and then feel helpless to make a difference.
- We compromise the excellence of a work project because we're afraid to make a decision or a suggestion.
- We hide behind frail caricatures of ourselves, afraid that others will truly see us and not like what they see.
- Our passion disappears behind day-after-day complacencies.
Until that day - the day the crack in the window appears and beams of light blast through dust and dark. It's the one when courage and purpose illuminate the room and as they do, so grows our distain for the hold that fear has had on us.
We get a small taste of freedom and finally get sick of it all. The risk to change seems infinitely better than the pain of enduring one more day imprisoned in fear. When that happens, there's nothing left to lose.
We have nothing to lose when our identity, capability, worth, and equipping are soundly rooted in He who is, was, and always will be.
- Because the power of rejection shrivels and dies when it turns out that our Creator is wildly committed to us, regardless of our success and failure.
- Because approval is forced to release it's grip when we finally reach the righteous anger necessary to scream into the world, "I do not belong to you! Not my body. Not my mind. Not my life!"
- Because the shackles of perfection clang to the ground each time God leads us through situations which are wildly beyond our own capabilities to solve or fix. He holds our hand in the dark, and promises not to leave.
Because "neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)
And especially, not fear. Women of danger, believe it.
With you and for you,