There’s something that’s picked up momentum over the years and that is the picking or choosing and/or praying for a word for that particular year. That word is supposed to signify how that year should go. A one word sentence declaration of sorts!
I’ve been picking a word-of-the-year for a few years now...
2017: **didn’t document**
2019’s word is a bit different. In years past, I feel like the words were very much related to being in the moment. Being centered on the here and now. My word for this year focuses more on moving forward and the future.
In my post from Tuesday, I talked about all the fear I was living in. Fear has been my old friend, almost like stubborn fat I just can’t shake. It’s defined over a decade of my life and convinced me I’m incapable of so many things.
Of course, there were times when I ignored fear and concentrated on my dreams!
In 2005, I went on my first missions trip to Austria and fell in love with missions and Europe.
In January of 2006, I picked a major solely based on wanting to prove to myself that I could sing.
In the fall of 2012, I left my family, moved to North Carolina and participated in a Discipleship Training School (DTS) in Charlotte. I trusted God that I would raise enough money and live with people I’d never met.
2013 introduced my first third-world missions trip to Cambodia. Fear almost won on this occasion and I can still remember the panic I experienced when I realized I’d be living overseas for 2 months. Looking back, those were the best 2 months of my life.
I went across the pond in 2015 with a group of strangers for my second missions trip in Europe. I honestly didn’t want to leave England and I can definitely see myself living there permanently one day.
I told fear to shove it in 2016 after I had burned out from serving at my last church and decided to still jump right into my new church community.
That same year, fear took a backseat while I headed to Haiti as co-leader for our churches first missions trip. (That was the first time I felt like a leader and felt like people saw me as a leader.)
2018 brought new experiences at work and I had the wonderful opportunity to be sent to Mexico to help train some of my company’s agents, not once, but twice.
Seeing this list gives me hope. Seeing this list shows that I do know how to be brave. When we we actually face our fears, a weight is lifted and we’re able to move in freedom. But seeing this list also shows me that bravery was intermittent and that it danced a lot with fear.
Fear has crippled me. Fear has made me feel less than. Fear has pretended to be my friend while stabbing me in the back.
One thing that I didn’t notice until right now, is that Fear had disguised itself as security. I used security as an excuse. Security became my crutch. I thought if I just kept saying no to everything, I’d keep myself from getting hurt.
Fear comes in many shapes and forms -
Social anxiety - I’ve said no to outings, trips, dates and so much more because all of a sudden it became unbearable to put myself in a new and unknown situation.
Rejection - Take this blog for example, I let fear whisper in my ear for over a year that no one would read this blog or care what I had to say.
Insecurity - I also allowed fear to slip in and persuade me that I just don’t have what it takes to write a blog, start a business, be a leader, be a wife, a worship leader, a [insert all the things here].
I have allowed Fear to steal my dreams and waste my passions.
Fear has slipped into my bank account wreaking havoc on my space, permitting debt, allowing me to try and live a life that was never one I needed to live.
For as long as I can remember, I know that blogging has been a passion of mine and FEAR told me that I couldn’t compare with any other blogs. I’ve wanted to be a full-time blogger since 2010!
If it weren’t for fear, I’d probably have a half-dozen fiction novels under my belt. My mind is always racing with stories, some that have been haunting me for years.
Fear proclaimed I was unqualified to write a candid book about my life as a single black woman. Although, I know this is something God is calling me to do.
Fear has told me that I’m not relevant and that I’ll fail at vlogging/YouTube even though I have a list of content to keep me busFear swayed me into thinking I didn’t have what it takes to keep going with my Essential Oils business.
Fear has even tried to tell me that I cannot sing nor should I ever try anything to do with singing career or even produce and record cover songs.
So, what does this mean? Why give Fear so much publicity when I could be talking about bravery and living your life to its fullest potential? Because if I don’t unearth Fear in all its forms and uncover all of its hiding places, it will continue to creep back, permeating my thought process and destroying all progress made in living my dreams and pursuing my passions.
Fear has been a long time frenemy and I even rediscovered a post from 2016 where I first addressed it.
There is one word or should I say action that is never talked about these days. That is the art of withholding. I’ve read and heard quotes that basically say: When we don’t live up to our calling or when we live in fear and don’t give to the world what we have to give or are supposed to give, we are withholding something that someone may need at that specific moment.
Those yearnings you feel, that fluttery-pit-of-the-stomach ache, the extreme focus on that one thing… When we ignore that just once, it becomes easier and easier to pretend it’s not important. We start out small… a later, it will happen someday, etc. The adrenaline that got us going slowly evolved into a huge stress ball of fear without us ever realizing what happened. If remained unchecked, we’ve traded our dreams for despair and our passions for passivity.
I think the hardest thing to get over is the fact that me not walking in my calling could cause someone else to be without. Not saying that something else didn’t come their way, but if it was supposed to be me and I missed it, how much does it really affect that other person? The best way for me to describe it is like this… You know when you’re having a rough day and you’re struggling to keep it together? You could really use some encouragement, but alas, nothing happens. Then you happen to be catching up with a friend a few days later. Of course, you share your frustrations of the other day and just how hard it was to get through it. Then your friend drops that bomb… “Oh, I was actually thinking about you that day and was meaning to text you, but never got around to it.” My heart has definitely dropped when I’ve heard those words. It wasn’t life or death or the end of the world and I got through the day, but I wonder how that text would have affected my outlook, mood, and the actual day? I liken this scenario to our withholding of our gifts.
I’m so thankful there is grace. Because grace is always needed when we’ve allowed fear to take over and cloud our vision. Grace is here right now as I type these words. Yes, there are probably topics and posts I’ll never write about that should have been written in a past season, but, it’s ok, I’m showing up now and braving the storm of doubt and writing what’s for this season.
Redemption goes hand in hand with grace. Although, I abandoned this blog and kept making rather absurd excuses to why I couldn’t write at this very moment, the redemption is found right here in these words. My tardiness, some may even say disobedience (as I feel God has called me to keep this blog), didn’t keep me permanently down.
Please stay tuned for the conclusion of this post next week! I’ll talk about being brave and 10 practical ways you can face fear.