I have this thing I do when I get nervous or when I’m walking alone in the dark. I pretend to call someone and speak to them in Spanish. I know its weird but I do it. It started when I first went to college. I didn’t have a car at the time so I would walk the 45 minutes to and from school. Some nights I couldn’t get a ride and I would have a late class, or meeting, or event and I would have to walk home by myself at whatever hour it was. I think the first time I did it my phone was dead or no one was picking up or something. So when I see some guy walking towards me in the dark I just act like I’m already on the phone with someone. I’m not sure why it makes me feel better but it does.
I started a new job a couple of months ago and I realized the other day that I had started doing this on my way to the car. What am I afraid of? It’s not dark out, it’s not an unsafe area, I’m heading to my car. But still I do it almost every day. I realized it’s because I don’t know the people that well. I don’t want them to get a chance to ask me an uncomfortable question or to get too close to me. I’m afraid of how they will judge me or how they will digest my opinions. To be fair if you were never born and raise in Long Island it is a different world. The interactions are different from anything I’ve ever experienced and because I’m grown now I don’t really know how to navigate them. I definitely have a fear of saying or doing the wrong thing and I think because I get so much anxiety from that; I say and do the wrong thing a lot more.
When we first moved to Long Island I let my fear overcome me. I was discouraged from doing even the smallest things like go to the supermarket. To this day I still can’t get the nerve to go to church every Sunday. I don’t know anyone there, I don’t know the priest names, I don’t have a role to play in this church like i did in my old church in Jersey. I tried going a couple of times. Mostly alone. Matt came with me a couple of times too but still I cannot find the motivation to actually attend service regularly. And it’s not for lack of wanting. I really liked the service and the church is beautiful. I just feel so out-of-place. I’m so scared that someone is going to turn around and be like “what are you doing here?” or “she doesn’t even go here!” And don’t get me wrong I know how crazy that sounds but the amount of anxiety I get from it is ridiculous.
So how do we move past this fear? How do we live our day without the anxiety? Sometimes the answer isn’t always so simple. Sometimes you need to put your trust in God and know that this is just a stone in your path. Just a section of your life. You have so much more living to do! There is a world beyond your fear; beyond your anxieties. Waiting. Waiting for you. Just think back to the last time you were anxious or fearful. Think about how far that feels now, how small that anxiety seems like today. You survived that. You grew from it. Take that fear and make it part of the journey but don’t allow it to be the narrative. You are strong and rightfully fearful. Take your caution and get past your struggle. Do not be discouraged. Do not be afraid.
Hopefully in the upcoming weeks I’ll be saying I’ve moved past my fear, that I’m going to church again. Pray for me friends.
What fears are you allowing to dicourage you from living your best life?