Kaylee Page: Organizer and Planner. Dependent on caffeine – sadly. Favorite words: joy, peace, community, embrace. Devoted Wife. Proud Mother. Finds the best in everything.
I heard a church teaching once. It was about Paul. I’m not good at quoting people. I’m only good at the “gist” of things – my apologies! So the gist, the gist of this teaching was how when you translate a portion of Pauls’ writing back into his original language it actually translates really choppy, like he’s not writing in full, complete thoughts and sentences. And that some psychologists think that maybe it was because he was under so much stress and fear. The guy lived life on the edge, no doubt. And he had several moments, days, hours, even years of not knowing if he’d see tomorrow. But somehow he writes, choppy and incomplete, but he writes. And his writing expresses joy and hope and love and… really amazing, beautiful things. The point of the teaching was that maybe it doesn’t always have to be one thing, one feeling, one understanding. Paul had fear, but he had trust. Paul was under great stress, and yet could rejoice. Paul didn’t know what was to come, and yet he fully knew what was to come. So maybe – just maybe, fear and trust can sit in the same room. Maybe faith and doubt can sit down at the table together. Maybe. And maybe, at least for me, I feel freedom in knowing that a whole lot of me, a whole lot of emotions, feelings, thoughts, desires, longings — well they can sit together and still make something beautiful.
I’ve been thinking about fear a lot recently. I’m a dreadfully fearful person. I don’t love this about myself. In fact, there are days I truly loathe myself for this. It actually can paralyze me at times. I’m so ashamed of my fear that I’m actually afraid I’m not enough. Thoughts like I’m just afraid, I’ll always be afraid. I don’t know how to overcome this fear so I must not be destined for greatness.
Countless reasons for my fear, some stemming from my youth, some growing as my awareness of realities grows. Nevertheless, it’s fear.
I try to overcome the fear. And some days are better than others.
But the other night I got to thinking. If faith and doubt can sit in the same room, and if Paul sat with both fear and trust then maybe it’s okay that fear hangs out with me. I’m not defined by it. It’s only one of many beautiful things sitting in the quiet yet noisy, clear but foggy, focused but chaotic — okay but not okay — heart and soul of mine. Maybe the diversity of emotions, the array of thoughts and the complexity of the human condition is what propels me forward.
Fear. Not always bad. Can keep us from leaping without looking. It keeps us safe in good ways at times. It can even keep us grounded in good ways too. And fear changes through time. I heard someone talk about fear and how it changes as we grow — the example was of how as a kid, we’re taught not to touch the stove at all. It’s to protect us. But as our understanding of the stove grows, we learn how to safely interact with the stove. Essentially, with age and maturity, fear can and will sometimes dissipate and turn into healthy interactions.
Fear has it’s place. But it can also creep into places, decisions and thoughts where it shouldn’t be.
So we strive. We strive to be courageous. Right? I think I always thought that courage meant, oh I don’t know, like not being afraid to run and jump of a cliff.
I googled it. Courage, that is. And I read that courage is an ability. It’s the ability to confront fear (yes, fear!) but also pain, danger, uncertainty, and intimidation. Courage is acting in spite of fear. In spite. Ugh, I love it! In spite. Like saying, “yes, fear is there. It’s okay. You can have both fear and courage. You know, like taking the “bull by the horns.” Fear can run rampant like a bull but courage is the ability to manage the fear. Grasp the horns and stand steadfast.
I’ve decided. Instead of fear paralyzing and defining me. I’d like it to be just one part of the river running, one step of the journey, one atom of something that really matters.
It’s okay. I have fear. Do you? About a lot of things? Me too! Seriously. me. too.
Maybe afraid to make changes in your life that you need to make? Maybe to start something new? Maybe afraid of what might happen if you do that one thing you really want to do? Maybe petrified of what might happen if you don’t? Maybe you fear the dream is too big? Maybe you fear the dream is too small? Maybe you fear you’ll fail? Maybe you fear no one will believe with you or in you? What’s the fear? Where’s the fear? What’s the fear stem from? Why is there fear in that place, in that idea, in that decision?
[A deep sigh]
We can still make a difference.
Some people manage that fear better than we do, but it’s okay. We’re still gonna be world changers. We’re still gonna be known by the problems we solve. And the fear? Embrace it, hug it, even say hi to it. But know you can manage it. And it, among all the other thoughts, emotions, hopes and dreams you have, is just one piece of a really important gift to the world — you. All. Of. You!