If you knew me from earlier years, you may remember me as a timid, even fearful child on many fronts.
–One who would shy away from active outdoor play after one ugly scrape.
–One who would think twice to re-audition for school choir after not making the cut once before.
–One who would take all the time in the world to make even the simplest decision—from choosing a book at the store to thinking of what to wear that day.
Fast forward to age 30, I’d like to think I’ve shed a good deal of these hang-ups growing up, but every now and then, this hesitation wells within me, and only a good dose of prayer, an internal pep talk and deep breaths, set me straight on my path.
And so in our first life group this year, we all cast our personal “visions”—naming them with short, punchy phrases, and encapsulating them in those ubiquitous “hashtags”, for easy ownership, even accountability.
It was perhaps no coincidence that everyone spoke about some desire for reaching higher ground, doing and experiencing new things, all which could only be attained by letting go (yes, “Frozen” reference there) of all those nagging doubts. #Fearless, so we said.
For my part, the confirmation came in three’s; it left no doubt as to what 2014 would be about—
First, a surprise Lego Gingerbread man from Jeannie, raising its cup with an encouraging “Dunk Me” sign, and urging me to just dive in.
Next, my aunt’s diagnosis of “fear” as the only negative energy she could sense in me after an acupuncture session.
But most importantly, a recurring verse that has presented itself countless times, toward the end of last year, to the first weeks of this year and all the way to last night’s devo huddle.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)
I’d like to share a personal prayer, reflecting on this verse I’ve claimed as a compass for the year.
“Lord, in the moments that I am gripped and paralyzed by fear, may I be reminded of Your saving and selfless Love. Take away all my anxiety, and may I allow you God, to be my God. Help me let go of these small, earthly comforts, these unnecessary attachments. For in cowering in a supposed safety zone, there is no safe haven, but only fear. Break down this wall that separates me from truly embracing and receiving all that You wish to bless me with, and in turn allowing me to bless and love others.
Lord, lead me down Your path, strengthen my faith—make me fearless in the assurance of Your Love.”
As I mused in my previous post, I knew there would be more to this story of “diving in”. And it excites and amazes me that in just the first month, circumstances placed me squarely in front of long-standing sources of “distress”.
Prompted by a recently concluded trip to Batanes, I mustered the will to learn to ride an honest-to-goodness bicycle—a serious feat for someone who isn’t the most balanced or coordinated person to hit the bicycle lanes of East Coast Park. Two weeks after picking it up, those “skills” were put to the test on the uphill roads of Batan Island. It was a thrill to traverse the town, ride around the Basco airport tarmac, and just be one with the wind.
Then, in the so-called adult “real world” there were investment opportunities cropping up. I was faced with that daunting of making grown-up financial decisions that have never been my cup of tea, but with the help of His wisdom and advice from money-savvy friends, I made up my mind with full peace.
Now, every step of the way, I trust in God’s grace to get over the fear, the self-judgment — the idea of not being good enough, or not being cut out to do something out of my perceived nature. The girl who once shunned the outdoors, now looks forward to mornings in the park.
All things are possible, precisely because I am not the one in-charge.
As in finding my way with a bicycle, I have to let God be God and surrender completely to His will. Looking straight at the road He has laid out, a relaxed hold on the handlebars, eyes on the horizon, fearless.
I urge you then to think of the things that prevent you from making that step into the path He lays down before you. What are you fearful of?
In this next month, offer these all up to Him. I daresay it will erase the fear and bring complete rest and peace to your heart, far better than any horoscope forecast can conjure.
*The push to write this down finally came as a result of commemorating a year since that paradigm-shifting retreat and joining my beloved Life Group. Well, technically, that was toward the end of January 2013. Yes, it has been one year—and what a beautiful year.
Thank you, Lord. You never give up on this sporadic, errant and hesitant writer. 🙂