This morning, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed while I sipped my coffee. My husband had graciously taken my daughter to school on his way to work and my son still slept soundly in his room. I was free to just relax. As I scrolled Instagram, my mind wandered to the events of the week. Starting an internship. Starting a new school term. Family in town from Northern California. My husband’s 32nd birthday. I sat there with anxiety pulsing through my veins. Its a familiar feeling, much like drinking too much coffee without the physical caffeine shakiness. So sitting and mindlessly scrolling social media is I’m assuming what you’d call a coping mechanism. Turn off brain. Look at pretty things. Not the healthiest thing, I guess. I scrolled and landed on a photo from Propel Women. The words punched me in the gut.
Does fear impact what type of leader you are? Is fear hindering you from pursuing your God-given passions, purpose, and potential? The best leaders stare fear, uncertainty, and discomfort in the face!
I started work as an intern therapist this week. I had back to back sessions, and I felt sick with fear and anxiety before I started. I was holding in tears and desperately trying to swallow the lump in my throat. FEAR. I believe because of our sin nature and the brokenness of this world, it is much easier to melt into fear or anxiety as a result of something seemingly scary. For me, it’s like putting on an old sweater. Familiar and known. But fear and anxiety doesn’t comfort. It gives the illusion of comfort because it deceives us into believing that we have control. If I worry or fret, somehow I’m thinking that will make a difference. And fear or anxiety digs a deeper hole into our heart, evicting trust and burrowing in for the long haul.
In my brain, I knew with certainty that God called me to be a therapist. But in my heart, the doubts rolled in like the tide, forcefully overtaking anything in its path. “They will surely find out I’m a fraud. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m going to mess this all up and embarrass myself. I’m not cut out for this. What were you thinking, God?!” It was as if I was lying on the beach as that tide rolled in, each wave beating over me, taking my breath and strength with each blow. But I was committed. I had signed my internship paperwork; I HAD to go in. So reluctantly, I did. I went in and sat and opened my ears and heart for those hurt, precious souls sitting in front of me. As I sat listening, each story carrying a weight of pain that almost seemed physically visible on the shoulders of the teller, I realized it wasn’t about me. It was about THEM.
By the third session, I suddenly became aware that the knot that had taken hold of my stomach and the anxiety coursing through my body had gone. Like a drained out kiddie pool, the power of that fear had deflated and lie limp before me. And in it’s place, I felt something different. A new lifeblood beating through my heart and body. LOVE. PEACE. COMFORT. And the Lord spoke softly but firmly to my heart, “You were made for this. Your calling as a therapist has been knit into you by Me. You were meant to do this.”
Following God’s call requires sacrifice. The kind that asks to lay down your fearful, shaky, anxious self. And its so much easier, so much more familiar to stay in the fear place. Its so much easier somehow to trust ourselves, the ones who will mess things up if we could, rather than the One we should be trusting. The One who knows what’s ahead on the path but promises to be right by our side with us.
Our sacrifice is our fear. We need to wrap that wriggly monster up, force it into a box, and lay it at the foot of the cross where it will die. Some days, oh I hate to admit…some days I pick the box up and let that devil loose. I don’t know why I do it. Maybe I think that the fear monster has morphed into a puppy in that box. Maybe I second guess giving up that familiar “friend.”
Daily its a sacrifice to shove it back into the box again. To take the shaky steps to the altar and lay it down. Its a constant battle. A never ending war. But one I will never stop fighting. For the sake of those people who come to me for help. For the sake of the wars they are fighting, I will lay down my fear and run headlong into the battle field with love’s cry on my lips and peace in my heart.