The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here

I settle into a cup of black coffee on a porch off of Belmont, my ears ringing with the loveliest of sounds. The weekend is winding down, but I think it’s only just begun. On Friday, I felt a creative storm brewing and instead of listening to music at work, I opted to start an audio book. I have a bunch of titles on my list of books to read, but I impulsively decided on “Scary Close” by Donald Miller. I’ve been a fan of Donald’s writing ever since reading Blue Like Jazz and I enjoy how he questions things and the transparency he provides. For whatever the reason, I couldn’t have chosen a better book to listen to, it was if the stars had aligned. In the book he talks about learning to be himself, dealing with a performer personality, pursuing romantic love, moving to Nashville and so many other things that have been on my mind lately. I found myself laughing out loud as the words were nearly spot on to what I have been thinking over the last month or so. The book ended up being fairly short with a run time of a little over 4 hours, so after I finished it I just soaked in the mindset it left me with.

In these days, more than any other days I’ve known, I’m learning to set aside fear and pursue what I want out of life. When I stop and think about it, I fear a lot of things that have held me back: fear of letting down my family, fear of failing in relationships, fear of not doing enough with my time, fear of falling back into negative habits or cycles, fear of truly being known and not loved for who I am…the list goes on and on. Over the last month or two though, I’ve started to change my mindset, I’ve started to abandon those fears and simply be myself and chase after the life I want. I understand that we don’t always know what’s best for ourselves, but it’s a starting point and I have to believe that the things in the depths of my heart will lead me home.

Yesterday I went out riding bikes downtown with my friend Pat and I was trying to film a trick that I just couldn’t get to work out. I started to get frustrated because I knew I could physically do it, but it just wasn’t happening. A few times I thought about stopping and doing something a little easier that I had already done, but I knew deep down I didn’t want to settle for easy. While I was waiting to try the trick again, an old man walked by me and asked if I was going to do a trick, I replied with a little laugh and said “I’m trying” and he responded with “That’s all you can do…keep trying and trying” smiled and kept walking. That quick interaction lit a fire in me, because this guy got it…this guy understood what it was like to want something and what we need to do if we really want it. I decided to keep trying and eventually got what I had wanted. I like to think that I’m someone who doesn’t settle for things very often, but I know that there is a fear deeply rooted in my bones that keeps my true desires at bay, keeps me hesitant, keeps me drowning in self-doubt. Lately, I can honestly say I have been the happiest I’ve been in a long time and it hasn’t been easy, but I’ve been choosing to be happy and let go of the paralyzing fear in my chest. Some areas have been easier than others and some will most likely take years to get past, but I’m going to keep trying…keep pursuing the life I have dreamed about for so long.

What is it that keeps you blanketed in fear, what keeps you from moving forward? For me, the journey started when I began to identify the fears and figure out where they stemmed from and created plans to conquer them. In this season it’s been a lot of personal reflection on the past and how it shaped my thought process, be it the environment I grew up in, the romantic relationships I’ve been in, the ‘what-ifs’ and ‘could’ve beens’ and other things. I know there will be a season that I finally see a therapist and gain some professional insight (as I have been wanting/needing to for a while now, but always find reasons to not) but this is how I’m starting, this is where I simply begin to grow.

I feel encouraged as I move forward, as I finally let go of fearful thoughts that have held me hostage for so long. I know this is a long road, but it’s worth it, because I want it all; I want healthy relationships, an open mind, a deep love, an unapologetic passion, a thankful attitude, a determined work ethic, an honest tongue, an adventurous spirit, a compassionate response, an authentic romance, a contagious joy, an uninhibited laughter, an endless awe and rest in Creator and creation.