For a while now I have contemplated making a blog. I love journaling, I love writing, and I’m usually a pretty open person when it comes to sharing my thoughts and feelings. But when it comes to public declarations I tend to psyche myself out. Granted, my faith has grown exponentially these past few months, but anyone who’s close with me could tell you how awkward I am when I’m put on the spot in large groups of people… Especially with my faith. For example, I used to be too embarrassed to tell people why I wasn’t drinking at a party. If God was calling me to lift my hands in praise, I’d tell Him that my hands were not leaving my side. I even hesitated getting baptized last year because I thought people would label me a fraud based on my past. Oh and God forbid, if I had to say a prayer out loud or give my testimony. I’d stutter, shake, and twitch and then throw in a few “likes” and “ums” mixed with a lot of awkward silences. Then social media was a whole new ballgame. Which picture should I Instagram to show that I’m a cool-hipster-Christian but not quite a Jesus-freak? Which bible verse should I Google then tweet to get lots of retweets? The list could go on forever. My minuscule fears dictated my daily actions and hindered my growth.
Over the past year, God has really challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone and overcome these fears. Therefore, I’ve decided to write my first blog post ever… and guess what the topic of discussion shall be? Facing fears! By no means am I associating all fears with a strictly negative connotation, but if we fear failure, disapproval, judgment, and death we will nine out of ten times be led to stagnation.
In today’s society, we thrive in a world of “what-if’s.” What if I fail? What if I’m not accepted? What if I end up alone? What if I die? But the truth is: you will never fail with God, you are always accepted, you are never alone, and you are already dying. We often hear God’s calling and turn a blind eye because we are terrified of the outcome. We desire a safe life. An easy life. A life in which we simply conform to the patterns of the world. We love to pick and choose specific areas to be obedient in and then shrug off the others. We think we’ll “get right” with God “later-on,” so that we can continue to follow the norms of society and falsely habituate ourselves with an artificial life.
We need to realize that it’s only in the uncomfortable places where we can truly experience the tenderness of our Comforter. God chose to come down from PARADISE in the form of Jesus to a painful, vile, sinful Earth to SAVE all of us. Yet, we’re too scared to lift our hands in worship? Jesus called upon Noah, Paul, Gideon, Moses, and many others to pursue outrageous extreme paths and they obeyed. Yet, we are unable to obey our simple daily instructions from Him. Life is short. Especially to let futile fears interfere with His plans. With all this being said, do not confuse conquering your fears with the over-coined acronym YOLO. While saying YOLO isn’t necessarily averse, our culture typically associates the term with living recklessly and ignoring the consequences. It’s like Drake paraphrased the first part of Hebrews 9:28, “And as it is appointed of men to die once…” and forgot to add the second part, “…but after this the judgment.” Are any of my fellow conspiracy theorist thinking what I am? Totally an Illuminati scheme. Just kidding. Anyways, we should embody YOLO as an opportunity to listen to God’s plan instead of mistreating it as a mere justification.
I was forced to deal with the actuality of YOLO my freshman year of high school. On January 6th, 2009, my best friend, Leah Pope, passed away from an Arteriovenous Malformation. Due to our parents’ lifelong friendship, Leah and I were inseparable from the day we were born (literally…we were born on the same day). Leah was the type of person who could walk into a room and brighten the whole entire place with just a smile. She could easily alleviate any awkward or serious situation with her quirky sense of humor. And most of all she displayed true compassion for the people she loved on a daily basis.
Leah’s brain malformation ruptured causing her to go into a coma almost instantly. There were no warning signs or symptoms. She had unknowingly been living with this condition her whole life. Most people reflect on her death and mourn all of the things that she never got to do. But these people fail to realize that while others may get to experience more on the surface-level, Leah did more with her less-than-fifteen years than many people do with their fifty. She didn’t go to college, get married, or have kids…But she did make the most of her time here on Earth, which is why she’s rejoicing in Heaven right this very instant. She put her heart into everything, she put her love for her family and friends above all, and she endured every trial God put before her with a radiant smile on her face.
You can’t fight God’s plan for your life. It’s not in your hands. You could die tomorrow from a rare unnoticeable Arteriovenous Malformation. You could die tomorrow from walking across the street. You could die tomorrow missioning in a third world country. You could die tomorrow. You are going to die when God wants you to die and we should take comfort in that. Not by living recklessly, but by being confident in His plans. Stop living in fear.
Perhaps, God is planning something huge in your life right now. Maybe, He’s asking you to step up and start a bible study on your team, sorority/fraternity, or group of friends. He could be calling you to sign up for a ridiculously expensive trip to a third world country only three months in advance even though you’re completely broke (been there done that). Or He could be asking you to sing or play an instrument for your church’s worship band. Maybe he wants you to become a mentor. Start a nonprofit, club, or organization. Take a year off to explore the beautiful world and people He created.
He also could be calling you to do less desirable things such as quit a job. End a relationship. Donate a large sum of money. Live uncomfortably. Stand up against someone or something that you don’t believe to be right.
Most of all, we need to listen to the fears He challenges us to overcome on a daily basis. Lift your hands during worship. Tell your friends and family how much they are loved. Confess your sins. Overcome a sin. Be the one to say a prayer at dinnertime. Proudly talk about God. Go to Church. Tithe. Start a daily devotion. Open your bible. Journal.
Start a blog.
Step out of your comfort zone. Live like Leah. Conquer your fears. YOLO
(I had a fit because Leah got to be the head angel and I didn’t.. Funny how things work)