Have you ever been in a season of new? The past year of Danielle and I’s life has been filled with new. Since we got married last September, we thought it would be great to do all the things. From moving to job changes and doing life together, it’s been a wild journey. Everything is new, and new often means that fear begins to creep in. This is a perfect concoction for anxiety, isn’t anxiety just the best? I’ve talked about it on here before, but I’ve dealt with anxiety for a long time. The hard part was is that I was never really open about that fact, I tried to put on a face that I had it all put together, but the truth was, inside I was letting fear rule me. There were situations in high school that made me feel like if I didn’t have it all figured out I wasn’t enough. That led into college where everyone seemed smarter than me, and I would feel inferior to ask for help. I had been in a church job where if I wasn’t “cool” enough or got enough attention, I was seen as someone who wasn’t cut out for ministry or that I didn’t have enough “woo.”
I don’t say this to gain sympathy from you, reader. I simply talk about this because there was a moment during that college phase that helped me realize that the root of anxiety is fear, and fear is a punk.
I had two professors during my time at UNCG that helped me realize that it was okay to be me. Dr. Manning and Dr. Schwartzman were two professors in the communication studies department, I think the best thing about these two was that they were very different, yet very confident. Dr. Schwartzman showed me that you can be confident in yourself and the skills you possess. Dr. Manning showed me that we can be confident in the giftings you have been blessed with, and love people fiercely. They made me change the way I looked at life, not as a giant battle to face, but an opportunity for something brand new.
This may seem like a tangent, but I want to illustrate the turning point I experienced, so that you might be able to have that same choice.
You see, you have to begin to be confident in who you are in order to kill fear.
Be uniquely you.
I use Instagram and Facebook as digital memory walls, but I see a lot of comparison. It’s easy to see the highlights of someone else’s life and look at the cracked pieces of your own – and then begin to doubt your journey. Stop letting other people dictate who you are, you are unique, I believe that every single person is different, and that makes life fascinating. One of my favorite things about my new job is meeting all the unique people, and I love all of them! Each person has a unique personality, hobby, sense of humor, dreams, and passions. It’s easy for us to play games of comparison, but you need to kill those thoughts at the root.
In moments of comparison, remember that each unique person has a unique story being written.
Live your life. Don’t be afraid of the season you are in, embrace it. There are going to be good seasons and bad, and trust me, in the dark times it can be hard to trust that a light is coming, but a light is always coming. Be uniquely you, don’t be ashamed of where you are, embrace this gift you are in. Fear can’t control you because fear is a punk.
Encourage bravery in others.
Haunted attractions make me so scared. I’ll never forget the local “Woods of Terror” we had back in Greensboro; you paid a bunch of money to have people freak you out. The only time I’ve done this was in eighth grade, me and my buddy Alex decided to go. I remember walking up to the ticket booth and immediately regretting the choice I was about to make, but my friend stuck with my scaredy cat-self the whole time. It felt so much better knowing there was someone by my side.
What if we encouraged the people in our lives to be brave?
We need to start loving people by encouraging them in moments of fear.
If I can help someone feel seen, known, and loved; why would I not? I really do try to be a light to everyone around me. Life is way too short to complain or be angry all the time, I’ve tried living like that before and it’s just an empty place to be. We all want to be encouraged and we all want someone to be on our team, so let’s start being active in encouraging bravery in others. Fear is a punk and can’t take out a team of people working together.
I know today you may be dealing with some tough fears, and to be honest, I know I probably didn’t solve that anxiety in a small blog post. What I do hope, is that this started a change in the way you view yourself. You are not a victim of fear, you are a victor, and fear is just a punk trying to get in your head. You have been created by a God who designed every detail about you, and who loves you so much that he sent his son to die for you, then come back to life so that he could have a relationship with you. That’s some powerful love right there.
Know that you are loved.
Remember that fear is a punk, live your life knowing that you can be uniquely you and that you have the power to encourage the bravery in others around you. In whatever season you may be in, know that you have a big God standing with you in all things.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can tweet memes at him on Twitter @joshua_thomas__ or follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__