If I’m Honest

Freshman Year. Wow.

I learned some acting techniques (heyyyy Strasberg, Adler and Stanislavski). I learned how to function by myself. I almost mastered enjoying that time alone. I fell in love with Shakespeare all over again. I filmed a mobile banking app project. I tapped. I “gym-ed” 3-5 times a week. I ate lots of ice cream. I worked on personal growth. I filmed a Christian Christmas movie. I sang the high E in “Think of Me.” I prayed. I let go. I feared. I surrendered. I trusted.

My mom and I dubbed this year our “transitional year,” and boy, did it live up to its name. I hate change. I hate transitions. I like staying comfortable in a routine that I have planned to the second. Call it a Type A personality or control freak, it’s just the way I’m wired. Change, no matter how small, is inevitable. This year, I began the Fall semester doing a show based off of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. It was a modern adaptation, but covered the great changes (plural) in the characters… physical, emotional and mental changes. “How fitting,” I thought, “I’m in a metamorphosis, myself.” This show was a basis for my year; I made friends, made conversation and most importantly, made a family who helped me through the changes Freshman year brought. Regardless of the great relationships I made and the success I saw, I began to pick-up on a heaviness on top of me.

This Francesca Battestelli song sums it up:

…I locked up my heart and I put on a show / I let the busyness of life be a wall so nobody gets close / Well I got a lot done, yeah, I’m so type A / But I’m finding arm’s length is a safe but lonely place / So I’m gonna choose to reach out /Choose to lay down / All of the fear that I’ve been hiding / Choose to be brave / Though my heart’s afraid / To be a part of / Your Kingdom rising, oh God, I’m done running from / The reason that You sent Your Son  / So I will choose to love / Well it’s always a risk and it’s always a dare /  But it’s a far more dangerous thing to listen to fear  / But it’s a beautiful thing to know and be known / Yeah, there’s a whole lot of life outside of my comfort zone…

After finals, packing and returning to Nashville, I went back to the hallowed halls of my high school; anyone who knows me, knows how much I love my high school, and the huge impact it had on my life.  I was having a conversation with one of my mentors and favorite teachers explaining my summer plans and talking about the future, but every time I would say an aspiration or hope, I’d quickly follow it up with a concern.

Example A: I’d like to move to New York, but the City is just as scary as it is exciting. Example B: I’m super nervous for this job because I’m going to be alone, in a strange place.

It was like the Enemy had built up this massive wall of fear. “Wow,” I told myself, “the heaviness I kept feeling was fear.” Because of the busyness of my life and all of the changes happening at once, I had given the go ahead to the construction of the wall without even being aware of it. While I still fight the enemy daily on this, I do know a few things for sure:

God is bigger than our biggest fears.

Fear is not of the Lord; Satan uses anxiety and fear to stop us in our tracks, and deter us from the life and destiny the Lord has for us.

Fear is not an extreme of cautiousness; we can be cautious of people, situations, places, etc. without being fearful of them and letting it stop us from experiencing those new relationships and things.

Fear is crippling. But we don’t have to give in to it.

Fear is defeated. The same God that closed the mouths of lions for Daniel, the same God that gave Esther favor, the same God that delivered Moses and the Israelites, and the same God that made wine out of water is my Protector.

I will no longer be afraid of alone time, of the darkness, of the silence. I will be renewed by it.

There are 365 days in a year, and 365 “Fear nots” in the Bible. That’s definitely not a coincidence.

In everything new this year brought, in all of the anxiousness of the future and fear, these were the two verses that gave me so much comfort and hope:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”-Joshua 1:9

If I’m honest, I fully acknowledge I did let fear into my life. I also admit that this year it did have an influence on the act of living, enjoying life. This summer and in all of my years to come, I choose to lay down that fear…

Surrender…

Trust…

Live and fully enjoy all of the life outside of my comfort zone.

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