One aspect of my life that I have been challenged on this week is my tendency to worry and be fearful. Fear is something I have allowed to become a dominant feature of who I am and to be honest it has been eye opener to realise how constricting and lifeless it has made me. I am in no way saying that I have overcome fear, but I am learning of how to deal with it. For this blog I wanted to share some wise lessons that I have learnt, this has been partly through reading Sadie Robertson’s ‘Live Fearless’, I hope and pray that if you are being overshadowed be fear that you can find hope and life too.
I believe that I am not on my own when I say that I allow fear to control me. Even the fear of speaking to people is something that I battle with daily, worrying that I will get my words all mixed up or that no one will be interested in what I have to say. I fear that I am incapable of doing my job and I also fear about how I look. One of the reasons that I fear so much is because I do not fit into society’s mould. There is this line from a Fall Out Boy song that states ‘I’ve became such a strange shape from trying to fit in.’ Isn’t this so true? Some of us have done reckless things to just try and fit in. We are also the generation which has the term ‘FOMO’, due to everything being published on social media, these days if you are not at the latest party,etc then you have not made the cut. There is this overwhelming pressure of fear that does resonate with us all in one way or another. It is how we choose to face it which is most important.
For me, battling with fear led me to coming back to the roots of my faith. One question that has challenged me is where I put my trust, do I put it in people or do I put it in God? Truthfully, I think so often I put my trust and my hope in people and that is where the fear comes from. At the end of the day, people are just people and they have their own weaknesses too. They cannot be the be all and end all because then I will always be disappointed. I understand some people who are reading this may not have a faith, I accept that we are all on our own journeys. I do find a lot of peace when I trust God with my life, when I soak in God’s truth and allow that to guide me. I can look to the world for truth, but its truth keeps changing. When I take the time to quiet my mind, read God’s word and have some time of prayer that is where the healing begins. There was one passage that resonated with truth for me this week and it is found in Isaiah 41:13 ‘For I am the Lord you God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you’. It just reminded me that when I feel alone, and I believe I am battling life alone, that is not the truth. God makes a steadfast promise that I will be helped. I know that promise cannot be broken, that gives me faith that even in the hardest battles I face there will always be hope. Although a lot of life can make me fearful, I no longer have to let that fear overcome me. It is putting into action, having faith over fear.
Lessons that I have learnt….
- Stop worrying about always making people happy. My goodness, up to a couple of months ago I had massive issue of being a people pleaser. I wanted people to be happy and a lot of the time I would give a lot of my time and energy. Then when they were not happy, I feared that I had done something wrong. One key lesson that I have learnt is that some people will never be satisfied and there are people who choose to be miserable or bad tempered. It is about doing what I can to help people but also remembering that I am not responsible for people’s happiness and neither are you. If someone is persistently taking advantage of you then it is time to reassess what is going on there and how much you can help.
- Life is like a dot to dot and we never see the full picture until the end. This is a topic that Sadie highlights in one of her books and I think it is a beautiful way to view life. There are these events that we must go through to make us who we are, they all add up to tell our story. One point that Sadie emphasised that not all the dots will be the same, in reference to the events we will face in life. She makes the point that some of them will be a lot bigger and some of them a lot darker. That once we face that event head on, that is the only way we can move forward. From a faith perspective it is such a beautiful image of how God connects all these dots to make this beautiful masterpiece of who we are meant to be, that is only if we allow God to do that.
- That sometimes we need to ‘be like Plankton’. This sounds so odd, but this lesson taught me so much. Plankton are microscopic, but they have this big role to play as they provide oxygen for over half of the world. They also make this journey from the darkest depth of the ocean, travelling vertically up until they reach the top for the light. Sadie used this as a metaphor to represent our purpose here on earth. Referring to the light as the word and truth of God which we need to seek daily. As we are nourished by that we can nourish others who are still living in the darkness. We have travelled out of the darkness to get to the light, we take that light with us so that others can travel out of the darkness too. God has purpose for each one of us, we will all share that light differently as we work in the field that God has provided us with.
- Learning not to focus on the negative thoughts in my head. I am a very negative thinker and while I may be very optimistic on the outside when it comes to just me and my thoughts I often think the worse. I am learning that this is not a healthy way to be, Sadie refers to this idea of ‘The crazy train’ which I think I am onboard most of the time. It is this idea that one negative thought leads to another negative thought and so on, then you have this train going full speed in goodness knows what direction. It drives you crazy all these ideas that have harboured all in your mind and some of them may not actually have any reality. There was a Bible passage to focus on when your mind was beginning to go full steam ahead on the crazy train, Philippians 4:8 ‘Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.’ Choosing to focus on the truth rather than ideas that I may have that someone may think about me or that something has gone wrong. Until I can deal with the situation, there is no point driving myself crazy thinking about the outcome.
I really hope and pray that you too will go on your own journey of dealing with the fear in your life. It is not that life will not be frightening/ worrying but it is choosing not to let that overcome you. You have so much purpose, I pray that you would not allow fear to limit you from what you dream and desire to do. Keep your eyes focused on God, keep seeking the light and truth of Jesus. Allow the truth to nurture you so that you can bless others too. Choose not to live in fear, this is a daily choice which is not always easy but if fear wins it will only ever cripple you. Fear is always going to be there, it does not have to determine your life if you choose to face it head on.
Hebrews 13:6 ’So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper: I will not be afraid what can mere mortals do to me?”
May you have a blessed week, full of love and strength.