I get intimidated by people.
Will they like me?
What if they don’t correspond with me?
What if I’m just another number in their count of followers?
What if they’re only humoring me?
The other day I was realizing just how these feelings affect me. I’ll not interact, or follow people on Twitter because of this.
Because you see….I have been/am that to some people. Or is that just my perspective?
I’d seen Tracee re-tweet many different times Stephanie, but I never followed Stephanie. Until a few days ago. I decided to just click “Follow” already. Why had I never clicked follow before? Intimidation. Fear [oh there is THAT word again]. Uncomfortableness. A whole string of what if’s: i don’t measure up, she doesn’t like me, doesn’t correspond with me, etc. etc. etc. etc.
And guess what….I think she likes me. She corresponds with me. Makes comments about my random little tweets.
It’s easy for me to hide behind my computer. To not allow myself to connect. To not allow myself to be in a vulnerable spot, while at the same time being vulnerable in other ways when I write. The fear of rejection and measuring my worth by people’s interaction with me: it’s a dangerous road.
One thing I’ve really seen and in part learned over the last week as I’ve re-read these ladies stories, is that community accepts you for who you are, but also walks along side of you every step of the way. If I let myself be a wallflower the way I so often am in real life away from the computer, I’ll experience the same feelings of rejection and fear.
I can’t we can’t allow our feelings, our perceived perceptions of what others may possibly think of us rule our lives. If we do we not only can, but will miss out on amazing opportunities. The problem………I’m guilty of this. It seems to be an innate part of my DNA. I will continue to struggle with this. I will never be the extrovert that clicks follow every time or says hello to someone first.
: | : I’d finished this post this past Friday. I thought it was done. Sunday morning Shawn and I were headed to breakfast with my family and then to a farm/kids amusement ride thingy. I was checking Twitter as the white lines of the freeway passed our tires. I read THIS tweet by Mandy Steward and it perfectly described what I was trying to say. Therefore… : | :
I’m messy by nature. (Shawn is the neat/clean/perfectionist one) Sometimes my mess is organized. Sometimes my mess is just clutter. I don’t necessarily enjoy the clutter but live with it. Mess though can be defined in a different ways…in relation to Mandy’s tweet and my topic here…it’s the mess of comfortableness, of rejection. By not stepping into what I view as a “mess” I set myself up for missing out. Whether it’s blessings, new friends, a word of wisdom, a laugh, etc. and all these reciprocated.
Do you struggle with this?
So in an effort to not be an online wallflower, give me one or two people’s Twitter names that you don’t think I follow.
Here’s mine contribution:
Manda is a storyteller with every blog post she writes. Her posts are deep, passionate, and challenging.
(photo by Shawn)
I’m excited to have the first ever guest blogger here. I’ve learned a lot from Sarah over the last eight months. I was turned on to her blog by Lindsey Nobles. Over the last few months Sarah has been tackling her fears head on. You can check out her VLogs on fear here and here.
The older I get the easier it is to dismiss real fear as personality quirks.
“I don’t DO waterslides.” She says as she covers up under a towel and sits her rear end on a bench.
“I’m just not a party planner.” She whines when someone volunteers her for a job that she does not want to do.
“Oh, no…I’m not good in large groups of women. I prefer one on one conversations.” She explains when she’s invited out.
But in reality, it’s all just fear. Fear of silly things like heights and speed. Fear of the pressure to perform under time constraints. Fear of the exposure of not being the “life of the party” and having no one laugh at my jokes.
Fear. I guess in the past I’ve allowed it to define me.
I’d rather have courage define me.
I’d rather be the one that someone invites BECAUSE she’ll jump of the pier and get her clothes and hair wet. I’d rather be the one that races her eight-year-old to the top of the waterslide to see who will be the first one down. I’d rather look at responsibilities and performance issues in the face and say, YES, I will do it and I’m not afraid.
It’s much more fun to have courage define me rather than fear.
Fear keeps me quiet. It keeps me stationary. It keeps me glued to the earth when I should be moving forward.
Fear even keeps my personality slowing trudging toward the retirement home someday where, God forbid, I fall asleep in my wheelchair scared to leave my assisted living room.
Oh yes, I will get old someday. And I may be tempted more and more to dismiss my fears and misgivings as just “who I am”. And yes, I might fall asleep during dinner when I’m 98.
Instead I want to be that courageous old lady who gathers you up and says, “Let me tell you a story, because I’ve got hundreds of them.”
I hope that who I am learning to become is a woman defined by courage and not defined by fear.
As I mentioned in my review of Permission To Speak Freely yesterday I loved the book. The night I started reading it ended up being a difficult night sleep-wise. I got only about three hours of sleep total. As I laid there tossed from my left to my right to my stomach and complete 360’s my mind wandered to fears. Fears I have. Fears that don’t necessarily keep me up at night but haunt the crevices of my mind.
I wandered down stairs and got my journal. I wrote out these fears. I needed to put them down on yellowish paper with black/blue ink. They haunt me. I don’t know how to escape them. Some of them are bigger than others. All of them are real. They speak to my life right now.
I wrote in Monday’s post that after some circumstances that I walked in fear over, that God gave me courage. However, if I’m going to be honest those circumstances which I haven’t left still bring out tremendous fear. Even just Sunday night conversations with Shawn brought my fears to the brim.
The problem with fear, is we know reality. There have been many times that I’ve had to trust God. There was no other option. Three weeks before Shawn and I got married I got laid off from my job. Not usually the way a new couple plans to start their life together. We spent the first three months of our marriage having to trust God to provide. It wasn’t easy. I remember crying on his shoulder because I couldn’t find a job, and should we go get food from our church’s Manna Ministry. Despite our own fears God provide. We paid our bills, met our rent on time, and at times had money left over.
I wonder where the disconnect happens. When we have evidences of God’s faithfulness, yet we still choose to live in fear. Fear that we won’t be able to pay our bills, fear that God is asking us to do the unthinkable, fear that we will never be healed. The list goes on and on and on.
Your turn, confession. I want this place (PrudyChick.com) to be a place that we can be open with one another. I want you to feel free to speak freely without fear of being judged by me or other readers. Today I want you to share your fears. I’m not talking ones like being afraid of spiders or snakes or the dark, but the ones that haunt you and don’t relent.
Also don’t forget to enter to win a copy of Anne Jackson’s book Permission To Speak Freely here.
[Today I continue my series on fear with a review of Permission To Speak Freely.]
I had been anxiously, anxiously awaiting the release of Anne Jackson‘s second book Permission To Speak Freely from the moment I heard she was writing it. Her desire to speak up motivated me, encouraged me.
I was unsure which path she was going to take in her essays, but I believe her avenues were completely different than what I expected. Over the course of 29 essays Anne shares her testimony of being silenced by church folk and shares her testimony and others’ testimonies of being able to confess.
Many of the essays I read through tear blurry eyes as I related with my own stories. She shares her heart and allows you to walk with her as she gives voice to silence.
She bookends segments of essays with art and poetry. Beautiful art with tragic confessions submitted by those who wanted to speak freely.
The book is a fairly quick read, though as I mentioned a meaningful one. Anne’s words weave a beautiful story.
I highly recommend reading it especially if you’ve experienced being silenced.
Visit the Permission To Speak Freely website here.
Give away: I am giving away a copy of Permission To Speak Freely to one reader. If you wish to be entered for a chance to receive the book, please leave a comment below. The contest will be open until Saturday at 6 PM Pacific, and the winner announced on Tuesday, September 14th. I will choose the winner via random number generator.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
**Confession images from Permission To Speak Freely used with permission by Anne Jackson
Back in June I wrote a post about not walking in fear. I had just come out of some circumstances that left me breathless. I’d walked in fear and my post was about how God had given me grace and courage.
Fear affects everyone. From being afraid of heights to phobias that prevent us from leave our houses (Agoraphobia).
This week I will be doing a series on fear. Fears that rip at our souls and haunt us, that leave us broken.
A look at this week:
Tuesday: Review of Anne Jackson’s book Permission To Speak Freely
Wednesday: The Haunting & Unrelenting
Thursday: Defined by Courage – guest post by Sarah Markley
Friday: Moving Away
I want this to be a place where we can talk. On Wednesday I’ll be offering a chance to confess your fears. To get them all out on the table so to speak. On Friday I’ll be offering a chance to give encouragement and reflection. I’ll explain more both at those times.
Thank you for taking this journey. I look forward to the conversations that will take place.
If there is one thing that God has consistently been teaching me is to not walk/operate in fear. The desire to fear keeps showing up in so many aspects of my life. Even when we were on vacation I feared what if something happens to the plane? We’d be out walking and I’d fear what if someone walks up and mugs us? What if we’re in a car accident? This is strange because I just don’t think this way. I don’t fret about being mugged or being in a car accident or being in a plane crash, but fear has been doing it’s best to worm its way into my mind.
God is doing some amazing things in Shawn’s and my life. He’s guiding us in ways we didn’t know He would or think He’d take us. In a conversation we had the other evening I said that I’m not fearful, I’ve got a kind of scared excited anxiousness going on but of all the things I could be fearful in I’m not fearful in this.
My desire in life is to be like Peter and step out of the boat onto the lake, but instead of fearing that I’ll drown once uncertainty shows up I want to trust. I need to always remember what God has done previously. To trust that steps we’re taking that He’s still there beside us.
About a month and a half ago fear completely grabbed my heart. Steps that we thought God might be calling us to take literally sent me into a tailspin. After emails back and forth with a friend and an examination of my heart there was an adjustment of my attitude. Did that make the idea of what God could be calling us to any easier to swallow? No, but my focus was taken off of what I could try and do, and put on what He’s done in the past and what He is faithful to do in the future.
So not only am I learning to not walk in fear, I’m learning to trust. To lean so heavily on Him. If I’m fearful that He’s not going to hold me us I am going to fall. So here’s to taking steps and trusting that the next one will appear over that raging chasm.
Yesterday was the first day in four months that I wore a normal shoe without arch supports in my left shoe or an orthodic boot.
I’ve learned a few things about walking in the last few months.
Sometimes, it takes patience.
Sometimes, it’s painful.
Sometimes, you need a little help.
In the past week and pretty much the last few months I keep turning over and over in my head not walking in fear. Conversations with Shawn, blog posts other people have posted. It keeps coming back like a little bouncy ball.
I’m learning that I’m not as acceptable to change as I thought I was. Maybe it’s the skeptic that has grown in me since marrying a pessimist. I obviously don’t want to walk in fear. We are commanded not to fear.
Fear is not only immobilizing but can be convoluted also. What we chalk up to “waiting on God” in many cases is fear. Fear to take a step into the unknown. Fear of leaving our comfort zone.
When we walk in fear we do not walk in joy or faith. We are relying on ourselves and our ability to discern a situation. We cannot grow when we walk in fear.
Learning to not walk in fear is part of our sanctification. That road is is not always easy, but it must be walked.
Prudence is a 30-something writer who lives in Arizona with her husband Shawn and their chihuahuas Lengua and Zeus. She writes her life, her experiences and her crawl back to hope. Eventually, she hopes to visit India – a place that’s captured her heart without ever stepping foot on the soil.