Over the last couple years I've been figuring out a lot of things about myself. There were some lies I let fester in my life and God has been slowly trimming away rotten leaves so that I can regrow. Throughout this process, I've become aware of the control I've allowed my fears to have over my life. Fear of being alone, fear of disappointing someone, of embarrassment, of failure, and of rejection. Fears that everyone has but which I had allowed to define me for years.
By nature I am outgoing but the move to Vegas was a shock that caused me to draw into myself for a while, and when the outgoing me was ready to come out again, she was rejected. So I began to only speak when I was spoken to. I used to dance during worship, but a couple youth pastors unintentionally suggested that the girls who danced with ribbons where "too much", so I quit dancing immediately. In school, boys sarcastically asked me out on dates in front of their friends who would laugh at me and to this day I find myself craving male validation. I was like that man who would pick up stones as he hiked by the river. People were handing me these heavy burdens and instead of tossing them aside, I attached them to my identity.
It's easy to listen to what the world says you are. Those Buzzfeed, "Which... character are you" quizzes are addictive because you think you are learning a quick and easy truth about yourself, but it's just made up, garbage. The world is loud and pressuring, but it will never know who you are from just your appearance or your favorite color. "Man looks out the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.", says 1 Samuel 16:7. God's voice is still and soft and, admittedly, hard to hear over my anxieties.
I have a decorative sign in my room that says, "Because God is graceful, I am brave." For the longest time that's all it was, decorative. But, recently, I've been actually meditating on the meaning and here is how I've interpreted it: There is zero good in me. On my own, I'm a self loathing coward. It is only by God's unwarranted favor that I can ever hope to live without fear. I can almost hear my dad quoting 2 Timothy 1:7 to me now, "God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind."
I want to be brave. I want to let go of my identity, the fake persona I've built for myself, and become who God designed me to be instead. Looking back at the lies that I wrapped myself in I see that they all held me back from being that version of myself that God wants. They kept me from praying, leading, worshipping, standing out, and speaking up. I don't want to be that passive person anymore. I know that's not who I am. I've decided to follow God's path for me despite my fear of falling because I know that even if did fall, He'd look after me. I pray He gives me the boldness to tell people what He's done in my life and to tell anyone who'll listen His story.