This is the first time in a long time that I’ve gotten up early and started writing. I don’t have a particular theme or topic on my heart, but here I am nonetheless putting words to an empty page, and it feels great. I don’t feel daunted by the pages anymore as I have in the past. I don’t fear the reckoning on putting my emotions or feelings out for people to view, though I admit some topics are harder than others to share. Today I want to share my fears just so I can see in living color how completely irrational or how rational they may be. If my fears are anything like yours I hope you too take the time to write them out so you can see how small they are in the light. My fears appear in no particular order.
Fear #1: Fear of Failure.
I fear failure because I honestly am afraid of putting myself out there and missing the marks I intended to hit. I have avoided a great many tasks in my personal life because I was fearful of not getting the return on investment that I had been praying for. Writing especially illuminates this fear. I have stopped and started at least seven (yep, you read that correctly) novels of various topics all because I was afraid of producing a heaping pile of dung that absolutely no one wanted to read. The funny thing is that in my professional life I don’t fear failing at all, mistakes and shortcomings have time and time again shown themselves even with the best planning and forecastings. All this time I allowed myself to take on projects and work that I knew was doomed to fail feeling no particular way about it (aside from the fact that I was wasting my time) but held my own writing career back from even trying something because it could maybe possibly fail. I realize now that this is a completely irrational fear and I should do what I can to breathe life into the endeavors I’ve been afraid to bring about.
Fear #2: Fear of Settling.
I fear that I will settle for a life, a partner, a career or a circumstance only to find out that there was something better that was intended for me. I used to think that because of my roguish past that God wouldn’t allow me to find love, especially after I ruined some really strong relationships with some incredible women time and time again, and that I would have to settle with someone less than stellar as punishment. Looking back I can’t tell you with certainty why I ever believed this, but I did with the core of my being and likely settled a few times due to confirmation bias. Years later I’m a much more spiritual person and have conversations with God all the time and I sincerely doubt he will withhold any good thing from me. Everything God has set aside for me couldn’t possibly be set up for me to settle on, the way my faith is set up now I believe that God’s will is aligned with my betterment in mind. So, my fear of settling is another highly irrational fear.
Fear #3: Fear of the Unknown
When I was younger I had terrible nightmares about the spirit world. I would dream of dark forces who constantly tested me to see what side of the war I’d choose to fight for. Demons and devils would casually speak to me in these dreams about what they needed me to do and that I should choose to side with them to destroy the Light. I was afraid to sleep a lot because of these dreams. Unbeknownst to many people I actually didn’t sleep much and would suffer quietly because I didn’t want to seem crazy. I allowed fear to run my life for years because I didn’t want to be spiritually attacked anymore. One day I fell asleep and was confronted by another dark entity in my sleep. We conversed and after a rather scary debate, I chose to cast my lot with God. The entity was less than pleased and did what it could to keep me afraid. For years I felt uncomfortable and never really alone. I could feel things vying to distract me and keep me afraid, till one day I realized that I had been limiting God’s influence in my life. God is bigger than my fears or whatever dreams I could ever create so I decided to pray more actively and speak more frequently to Him and it made all the difference. My dark dreams became less and less frequent until they soon stopped happening at all. I admit every once and awhile I have a nightmare but I remember that God’s light is always in me and my fear of the dark unknown slips away. Fearing something you don’t understand is apart of being human, but it’s an irrational fear the moment you stop being able to see that God is present still even in your darkest place.
Fear #4: Fear of Rejection
Now, I don’t fear this anymore at all but I fully admit that I did for a long time. I was so afraid to put myself out there with people and be rejected that I often didn’t do it at all. I would purposely play the role of a social recluse and withdraw from people out of fear of not being liked for who I really was. I have (as you could probably see from my facebook profile) changed my image and personality several times just to align myself with who I thought people wanted me to be. I disliked myself so much that I adopted many masks to blend in with people I wanted to accept me. The funny thing is these masks never held together for very long.
So, I used to work at a restaurant called Punk’s Backyard Grill. I loved working there because the people working there with me were like my family. I learned the basics of running a restaurant from the owners Dave & Sheila and was given the responsibility to run things when they were away. I found myself loving every shift there, until one day I came home after a 12-hour drive to Atlanta that the restaurant was closing. Needless to say, I was crushed. I had wrapped my dreams and my future in those walls and hearing that those walls were now being destroyed hurt. I had to find another job immediately and the only job that I could find at the time was at Teavana. While at Teavana I had to stand out front of the store and offer tea samples to the passersby in hopes that it would lead to a sale. I would stand with a smile and a tray of tea offering samples to people only to have many not even acknowledge my presence or look in my direction. After months of this, I realized that I no longer was bothered by rejection. I didn’t take it personally because most times it didn’t have anything to do with me at all. You were either going to buy tea or you weren’t.
Life aligned so this fear could be completely destroyed by my circumstances. Much like the tea, people were either going to like me or they weren’t. It wasn’t personal or malicious if they didn’t I just simply, pardon the pun, wasn’t their cup of tea. At the end of the day, people who are meant to be in your life will be and those that aren’t won’t be. Being rejected for who you are is alright, especially when you come to realize that living without a mask and just being yourself is a price that some people just can’t afford. You at your best may have a cost that only a privileged select few could adequately afford because the potential and gifts inside of you demand a higher price, that is a truly beautiful thing and shouldn’t be something that causes any fear. Unless you’re actually a terrible person and you’re being rejected for not being someone people can trust or depend on (don’t be that person).
Fear is created to keep you from danger and harm. It’s a natural biological response with the sole purpose of keeping you alive in stressful situations. Now that doesn’t mean that it’s always rational or purposeful. Take the time to address some of your deeply rooted fears and really look at them. Now, if your fear of squirrels has been keeping you alive by all means continue your diligent fight against the rodent hoard, but if it is holding you back from truly living your best life I challenge you to examine it.
Until next time, be inspired.
Quick Side Note:
I have three other posts that preceded this one regarding my absence, but this just fit better. I’ll be posting them soon enough, you have my word (which I hope is worth a lot because I appreciate your readership).