Fear is a Liar: Confession of Fear

Confession: I struggle with fear.

I've mentioned it before, but it's a terrible, habitual mindset of mine. Some days the fear is vapor, and other days it threatens to eat me alive from the inside out.

"What if I can't take the pressure of this career?"
"What if I don't market well enough?"
"What if my book sells five copies, all of which go out to optimistic relatives?"
"What if people hate it?"
"What if I fail at my lifelong dream, and everyone watches me go down in flames?"
"What if I have to go back to another sucky, dead-end job I hate because this doesn't work out?"
"What if this is as good as it gets?"
"What if I never amount to anything?"

Just typing these things out makes me feel a little paralyzed, to be honest. I am so used to pushing these thoughts away, burying them in a deep, dark corner within myself so I don't get swept up in the cancerous doubt they foster.

But even that is the wrong approach -- I was reminded of that this week in a conversation with loved ones, when I jokingly/half-seriously said (in reference to never going back to teaching), "I am too weak."

My husband immediately said, "Babe, you are not weak. You're not." He said it with such conviction, I'm teary-eyed just thinking about it.

I try so hard to hold myself upright, to keep my chin up, to defy circumstances and say quietly but firmly to the world, "You will not break me. Not ever again will you break me."

But the truth is, life isn't that obedient, is it? Sheer willpower isn't enough. Many inspiring lips will tell you otherwise, but it is a perfect example of wishful thinking. The individual vs. all of humanity. Idealism vs. realism.

The future is unknown; that is part of the reason why I fear it. I love not knowing what's going to happen in books, in movies -- but not in real life. I plan, I prepare, I do the best I can -- and still that isn't enough.

But...

...that's okay.

Because that's where my power ends, and my Savior's takes over. In and of myself, I AM weak. I AM broken. I AM a failure. I AM nothing. It's a bitter pill for a human individual to swallow. The world HATES it -- but that doesn't make it any less real or true.

My husband was blessedly sweet to tell me I am not weak, and I know what he meant when he said it -- through the mercy and grace of Christ, I am sustained, no matter what.

So here's the new mindset, which I ask to be held accountable to when the future comes and I think it's too hard, or when things aren't going my way, or when I'm overcome with new (or old) fears:

"Even if [insert fear], He is good."

"EVEN if I can't take the pressure of this career, I will not give up. I will push myself and rise to the challenges."
"EVEN if I don't market well enough, I will learn from my mistakes and do better next time."
"EVEN if my book sells five copies, all of which go out to optimistic relatives, I will praise Him for those five copies sold. And for the next book, I'll figure out what I did wrong and fix it."
"EVEN if people hate it, I will praise Him. I will not wallow in self-pity."
"EVEN if I fail at my lifelong dream, and everyone watches me go down in flames, I will praise Him. I will find a new way to help provide for my family and to use my gifts. I will not let this valley determine my worth, or my identity."
"EVEN if I have to go back to another sucky, dead-end job I hate because this doesn't work out, I will praise Him. I will be thankful for His provision. I will grow where I am planted."
"EVEN if this is as good as it gets, I will praise Him. I will see the value in the little things, and nurture a spirit of thankfulness."
"EVEN if I never amount to anything, I will praise Him. I will revel in God's glory, and I will seek His face. For even in darkness, He is good, and it is in Him that I have been counted worthy."

Fear is a liar, my friends. Don't listen to it.