I don’t think there is anything more terrifying than facing your deepest, most intimate fears. The ones some of us have never even uttered – only thought, but not for long. We don’t like to think on our fears – we like to either try and forget they exist or cover them up with defense mechanisms, unhealthy relationships, drinking, drugs, sex, pornography, shopping, and the list goes on and on.
It seems behind every addiction or unhealthy behaviors, is a root of fear that has not only found its way to control a behavior of ours – but in most cases, seeped into almost every area of our life.
And that was where I find myself two years ago. And my fear was a mixture of two words, that unfortunately, involve each other more than I would like. Rejection and Men.
Fear of Rejection
It’s amazing (grossly) how long I lived my life with this fear. And even more so – that some days I still have to wake up and fight it. That this word – rejection – can still cause so much pain to so many. What’s even more astonishing to me, is that the entire time we are fighting it – our entire salvation is based on the opposite of this.
So, with that being said, I am guessing many of you have fought the fear of rejection alongside me. Whether it was with people, careers, dreams, relationships, callings – you name it. The fear of not OR being not enough, under-qualified, overly loud, too shy, not bold enough, but too carefree. Over-zealous, but too strict, not patient enough, but too faith-filled.
And the sad part is, all of us have had someone or something in this world make us feel this way. Whether it was said out loud, or by actions. Unlike what we’ve been told, words do hurt like sticks and stones – at least to the heart.
And that was where I was. Listening to the world more than I was reading the truth. Bruised and hurt by the sticks and stones, but unwilling to surrender to the truth. The truth of who God says I am. The truth that God has called, appointed, anointed, and qualified me – and no person or circumstance in my life can eliminate my true identity as the daughter of THE King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (preachin’ now…)
But yet – over and over again I allowed what the world said to be higher in value to me than His truth. And even sometimes, even in the past few years (even this weekend), have allowed this fear to birth sin in my life. Sin that just doesn’t affect me – but people around me, and those yet to know me.
One of my most favorite people to ever live was Corrie ten Boom – her story radiates that of perseverance and forgiveness – characters I strive to hold. She once said, “In darkness God’s truth shines most clear.” And my friends, I couldn’t agree more.
In our darkest moments, God can convict + open our eyes to areas of our hearts that we were somehow blinded from seeing all along. It is His Light that makes the way for acceptance.
acceptance; the action or process of being received as adequate or suitable
It is this definition that should be the anchor of our lives – not its’ antonym. Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price, so that we – His sons and daughters – could be accepted into the Kingdom of God – not being in fear of being rejected by the world.
Fear of Man
Another fear that God has radically brought so much victory in – is in the area of fear of man. And boy, could I write a book on this one.
Many women who have been sexually abused in their past either fall suit to one or both of these fears mentioned – but with the father role made ambiguous – usually that means both will be attached. It’s harder than it looks, and hurts more than the person will ever make known. And it at the root of this fear of man is…
The constant need to impress or perfect.
It’s exhausting, and for me, it’s been going on since I can remember. The first time I remember it in a specific instance was in 3rd grade – when I didn’t make the GT program. They chose students in the first 6 weeks, and I wasn’t chosen. I saw a group of peers that were getting more attention than me, being looked upon as smarter and more likely to succeed – and even at 8-9 year old, my young (very hurt) self just wasn’t having it. Or when in 8th grade I couldn’t find a dress for my Valentine’s Dance because I was overweight; something clicked that ensued a seven year battle with eating disorders. Or when while a JR in high school I just had to get early acceptance into Texas Tech University – just to prove I could. (And then I didn’t even go there…oh God is funny.)
It’s a hamster wheel, that without Jesus, I never would have gotten off. But the thing is – this hamster wheel, once you’re on it, doesn’t slow down. It only grows in speed and energy. Therefore, there are only two ways off of it – to be either 1) flung off, because you tire out of exhaustion and you can’t keep up or 2) someone puts their finger on the wheel and stops you in your tracks.
I think (1) happened first for me my sophomore year in college, and lasted for a bit. But (2) happened three years ago and I haven’t been the same since.
Probably my most ‘rock bottom’ moment was February 9th, 2013. My parents had just separated, I had (temporarily) lost a few friendships because of poor decisions in the few months prior to this breaking point – and I was done. I genuinely didn’t know who I was or how I got to where I was. My tireless pursuit of performance + staying hidden + doing it all on my own had gotten the best of me. And for a few very crucial moments in my life, death sounded better to me than the life I was living.
The fear that had held me captive was gone when a friend showed up at my door and another one called me, all because they knew God needed to intervene. These friends, to this day, remain God’s angels on earth for me. (Which is why my heart beckons for my brothers and sisters to find community.)
They showed up and reminded me that the fears I had kept locked inside were lies straight from the pit of hell.
That the friendships I had fought to save – only needed to be received.
The family I had tried to hold together – only needed to be surrendered.
The money I didn’t have or never believed I would have – only needed to be given & stewarded.
The man I never thought would be a reality – was a promise that only needed to be believed.
The job that I didn’t think I could do – only needed to be laid at His feet.
And the calling + destiny of my life that I had used to try and impress, but yet cover up – only needed to be given up.
Though on that night, almost three years ago, no suicide was committed – something did die. My flesh.
The ways in which I had thought would save me for 24 years, all came to a halt when God showed up and reminded me that there is only one way to eternal life; and it’s not through my ability to be accepted or my fear of being rejected – nor is it my ability to out-perform everyone around me. But yet, it’s only by the grace-giving, shame-washing, love-instilling, and freedom-bearing blood of Jesus Christ.
And it is by that blood and only by that blood do I embark on almost 27 years of life. People ask me why birthdays are so important to me – some think it’s just because I like attention, and that’s not it – years ago that might have been why, but now? Now, I love birthdays because it’s (as I said in the introduction to this series) another reminder that I’m alive.
Another year where I get to proclaim that the God of the Bible was and will always be a miracle-working God. That the God of the bible that rose Jesus Christ from the dead is still raising hearts, minds, and spirits from the dead today.
My friends – though I was broken, I am not anymore. I am only flawed, but yet – supernaturally fearless because of Jesus Christ – #TheGoldenOne.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7