Today was one of those days where I questioned more than once if my head was even attached to my body! These days, weeks, months even, have been challenging and my brain has felt the tug and pull of information overload, spinning lots of plates in the air, and unexpected after unexpected. It’s all just been a lot. And all of that stirs up feelings of fear that I sometimes don’t even recognize.
This morning, I started up Thai class for the first time in a long time. Honestly, I’ve wondered if my brain can truly take “one more thing” right now. I’m not sure the answer to that is yes, but I want to learn this language and there’s never going to be a “right time”. So to Thai class I went, feeling like a nervous kid on the first day of school. With every question my teacher asked, it was if my mind went completely blank on words I’ve known for years! Whew—it was hard and left my stomach churning afterward as I tried not to beat myself up on the drive home.
Mind flustered from class, I spent the rest of the day just feeling “off”. Everything seemed exponentially harder as I struggled to make sense of all the information swimming in my head and the tasks on my to do list.
A simple bank trip turned into two trips after I deposited the wrong amount the first time. A simple stop at a supply shop in town turned into a struggle to correctly communicate what I was looking for. And the simple task of trying to write this blog post has turned into pausing to stare at the screen for what feels like endless amounts of time as I’ve tried to find the words.
Wow, today feels difficult.
But this morning before I ever left my house, I sat and wrote this phrase in my journal: “I’m not afraid anymore. Holy Spirit, continue teaching me how to embrace this each and every day—moment by moment.”
For any of you “Home Alone” fans, this phrase is what Kevin McCallister shouts out into the darkness from his porch as he tries to convince himself to be brave. Moments later, his scary neighbor makes eye contact with him while passing by, sending Kevin screaming into his house and retreating under the bed. Yet it’s that brief moment of declaration that starts him on a journey, imperfect as it may be, of learning how not to be afraid.
Sometimes we just need to declare out loud, “I’m not afraid anymore”, even if we are, to get ourselves moving in the right direction!
Let me tell you, I did not do it perfectly today. I rarely do! Thai class scares me. Trying to learn a language on top of everything else happening in life honestly feels impossible, but I don’t want to let the fear of struggling through it or sometimes (often times) getting it wrong stop me from trying. Running a cafe and sewing center scares me. I often feel in over my head, and with my “partner in crime” being locked out of the country for over 6 months now, the weightiness of it all can be a lot to carry. But I don’t want to let fear get in the way of stepping into the places the Lord asks us to step. Living here in Thailand far away from my family and friends back home sometimes scares me. Even though this place has come to feel like home, there’s still so much about it that feels foreign (and rightly so). But I’m convinced there’s no other place I’m meant to be right now, so I don’t want to let whatever fears rise up within me win the day.
While scrolling through files on my computer today, I came across this poem I wrote over a month ago. I guess the Lord knew I needed the reminder of what I’d written, and maybe, just maybe, you could use the encouragement as well.
I Walked Hand in Hand with Fear Today
I walked hand in hand with fear today. An odd thing to say? Maybe.
But if you’ll allow me a moment to explain, then I think that you will see.
See, fear crept up behind me, whispering in my ears its lies—
An attempt to stop me in my tracks, to keep me frozen by its side.
I paused for a moment only, unsure of what to do,
And it was then I felt fear smirking, like he’d accomplished what he’d meant to.
My mind began asking questions, “Are you sure of this next step?”
“What if you fail or do this poorly? What if you’re in way past your depth?”
The moment felt forever, I suppose that’s why fear smiled.
I could feel his presence taunting me and was sure he felt beguiled.
Straightening up my back a bit, I held my head up high,
And mustering up the strength I had, I let out a deep sigh.
“Go or stay, I don’t really care, but hear me when I say:
I’ll be walking where you’re standing, though you’re standing in my way.
So hand in hand or pushed aside, I don’t care how you go,
But Jesus has told me to come, so I thought that you should know.
I won’t be held your captive, won’t be bullied, chained, or stopped,
Those lies you’ve been hoping I will buy, I’ll tell you now, I’m not.
If I have to go afraid, that’s fine, but go is what I’ll do.
So muster up your courage, fear, because I’m coming through.”
Sometimes that’s how we have to walk, with fear right by our side,
Continually trying to hold us back and fill us with his lies.
But walk, we can, we must not stop no matter where fear stands.
Jesus says we are courageous, friends, so take fear by the hand.
Eventually he’ll tire out when he sees that he can’t win,
And you will look back on your journey and remember where you’ve been.
No height nor depth will stop you, no impossible-sounding thing,
When you put your trust in Jesus and live as a son or daughter of the King!
Friends, may we be people who learn how to declare each and every day, “I’m not afraid anymore!” as we take steps forward toward the places we are called to walk!