It’s weird looking back to how I was one or two years ago: remembering the things I’ve gone through, seeing how much I’ve grown.
I used to be so afraid of living. I mean, I’m only fifteen, so I guess I’m still kind of in the process of getting over fears regarding things I have zero control over. But I mean it used to be really bad. I became extremely paranoid and self conscious for a long time about safety, and feared everything from spiders to people.
I was trying to live to please others, and it was making me miserable. Not only that, but by feeding into the lies of the world, Satan creeped in and disguised himself as truth, when in reality he was holding me back from every opportunity I could have been taking.
Lately, I’ve been experiencing a lot of deja vu moments and reminiscing in the earlier years of my life. Here are some things I’ve learned about life and myself.
Fear Cannot Control You Unless You Allow It To
There’s such freedom in relying on The Lord. Do bad things happen? Yes. Can they happen anywhere? Yes. Fear is a natural thing; if you don’t feel fear at least every now and then… I mean, I don’t even know if that’s possible.
Let me get specific for you. Last year, my English class went on a trip to Chicago. We were learning all about Shakespeare, and the trip would allow us to see “The Twelfth Night,” hang out on Navy Pier, and do touristy things for the day.
A few nights before the trip to Chicago, I had this awful nightmare. I was in Chicago with my English class. Planes flew in and started dropping bombs, and everyone was running around in terror, and people were dying all around me. Clearly, it was a really sucky dream to have.
Instead of taking that for what it was— a bad dream— I let fear take over my mind and thought, “Obviously this is a sign from God, and I’m not supposed to go to Chicago unless I want to die in a terrorist attack.”
I ended up staying home from school that day, while all of my friends were having a blast in Chicago without me. When they returned home completely fine (needless to say, there was no terrorist attack in the city that day), I felt foolish. Had that really been God speaking to me through a dream, or had I just told myself that because I was too afraid to trust Him?
I regret not going on the trip. That is one example of many things over the past few years of my life where I allowed fear to control my decisions.
What am I like now?
I know that God is in control. I knew that in the past, too, but it didn’t comfort me very much. Now? I constantly remind myself that God has a hope and a future for me, and He wants me to trust in His goodness.
I find that through doing things that scare me, I feel a lot better afterwards. I say, “Ha, Satan! Take that! My God is SO BIG and powerful, look at what he carried me through this time.” Facing and conquering your fears is liberating.
Experiencing The World is GREAT
Through the whole missing-out-on-Chicago thing and getting past that, I discovered that I really, really want to experience the world. I’ve already done a blog entry about my crave for travel (“Small Town, Big Dreams”), so I won’t bore you with those kinds of details if you’ve read it.
Even just traveling around the area that I live makes me feel so alive. Trying new things and going on adventures is one of the best feelings on Earth, in my opinion. Driving an hour to see a musical, or spending a day in a different city with friends and making spontaneous decisions… life is so incredible if you take risks. I don’t mean act irrationally or anything like that, but if God gives you an opportunity and is telling you to go, GO! What is life without the thrill of the unknown?
The Ability to Create is Unreal
Art. I live, sleep, and breathe it, and I don’t mean that simply because I like musicals or painting or whatever… I mean that because myself and everyone else is surrounded by all different types of art: walls designed by architects, windows put in place by construction workers, posters carefully hung by teachers, articles of clothing designed by fashion artists, make up looks put in place by the beauty industry, books written by authors willing to share parts of themselves, songs sung by dreamers who crave the release of emotion, fruit grown by hardworking farmers, a sky painted by an omnipresent God.
To me, everything is art. Everyone has their own way of creating art, and it blows my mind that The Lord is so gracious and allows us to create.
I don’t know. I suppose I don’t exactly have a main point here, but… I’m eternally grateful that we can use art to grow, and that we can create art for ourselves.
Fear is not your master. Living is about more than checking off your basic needs and necessities. Art heals.
🌍 🌍 🌍
April Challenge Update: Ha! Okay, so my whole no-dairy thing ended the day it began, AKA April 1st. For one, it’s very hard to cut dairy entirely out of my diet. What was I supposed to do when I went to IHOP? Pretty sure milk-free pancakes don’t exist there. For two, I don’t have an allergy to dairy, and boycotting it for a month could potentially lead to me ACTUALLY getting a dairy allergy. Which, um, I don’t want. So April is kind of my cheat month. Oops. We’ll start afresh come May with my jump roping challenge!
Enjoy the warm weather. Relish in change. Be thankful for every breath you take. You have a Father that loves you more than you will ever know.
“Don’t let your dreams be dreams.” -Jack Johnson
Blessings! Lauren Joy