This week, I figured out a few things that I hadn’t noticed previously. The first thing: every person I have ever fought with (fist-fight, not an argument fight) has been bigger and stronger than me. From the girl who took the Annie Apple puppet away from me in kindergarten, to the 15 year-old boy who called me the B-word and teased me incessantly in the 8th grade, they have all been twice my size, and in some cases, twice my weight.
Each time, something within me took over as if to say, “Your size doesn’t intimidate me. If you mess with me, I will take you down.” I wondered how I even had the gumption to stand up to anyone.
(As I have mentioned before, I am really small)
Well, my answer came in the form of a quiz I found in the book I’m reading. There was a long list of emotions, and today I had to circle the ones I was permitted to express in my home growing up. There were positive emotions, like joy, amusement, and peace, as well as negative ones, such as fear, anger, and sadness.
As I recall, joy, peace, amusement, sadness, and anger were permitted. Fear was not, which was great for my fearless brother, and not so great for me. I was afraid of a lot of things as a kid. I was afraid of heights. I was afraid of escalators. I was even afraid of cows. From an early age, I learned to work through fear because I knew my parents would not accept, “I was scared” as a viable reason for doing anything. (Or not doing anything) That didn’t prevent me from avoiding heights, or any of the other things I was afraid of, but it did help me to deal with bullies.
I was probably afraid of everyone I had to fight, but I did it anyway. Mostly to prove that I wasn’t the timid pushover that I appeared to be.
When I was 12, I went through a period where I would have nightmares every time I went to sleep. I was terrified, but because I needed to sleep, I did it anyway. (Even if it meant sleeping in the adjoining suite in my parents’ bedroom)
That said, I still felt fear, but, as my mother told me many years ago, “God did not give you a spirit of fear and timidity but one of power, love, and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
I was determined not to allow fear to rule my decisions. So whether, I was up against one large person, or a large group of people, I wouldn’t back down. (I would never start a fight because it would be foolish to, but I won’t show any fear either.) Consequently, I am free to do whatever God wills because I am not intimidated by anyone.
Which brings me to the second thing I learned this week: the closer I get to God, the less worried, anxious, and depressed I feel. I read a quote that said worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere. I’m not one to rest on my laurels and wait for the world to hand me everything I want. The world owes me nothing except everything I have earned through my effort.
However, I am also dependent on God to have my back. One of the many great things about God is that He does not change. What He has done in the past can and will be repeated in the present.
(And in the past, He always had the back of people who trust Him)
I am confident because I know that I can count on the Lord, regardless of flawed and disobedient I am.
Feelings are normal. Expressing one’s feelings is normal. Allowing those feelings to control everything you do is not. As a Christian, I am slowly learning that feelings like worry, doubt, and fear are a part of my life, but if I trust my feelings more than I trust God, I am not using my faith.
Faith without action is dead.
I’m not advocating getting into fights; I am standing against cowardice. Far too many people are living meager, uninspired lives because they’re too afraid to risk their comfortable lives for the sake of their futures. If you don’t control your feelings, they will inevitably control you.
I’m going to end this post with a question:
Is the discomfort of change better or worse than the discomfort of being stuck in the same place forever?