They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, and I found this true when the flight attendant got on the loudspeaker and said ‘we are beginning our final descent into Austin…’ I felt this really warm feeling – Of course, part of that warm feeling might have had something to do with the fever my East Coast cold was entertaining, but I’m pretty sure most of it was something else. In that moment as my ears rang from the pressure of the airplane, I understood that phrase, “Home sweet home”. It is good to be back home.
Why did I move to Texas three months ago? This is a question I’ve been asked so much the past few months. There are so many reasons. I was searching for something, searching for myself. Searching for the me I’m meant to be, the me I strive to be. After moving to D.C. last year, I knew that Pennsylvania wasn’t my home, but D.C. didn’t really feel like that home either. I had friends there, family there, I loved the hustle and bustle of the city, the ambition – but something was missing.
“Do you know what you’re doing?” I kept asking myself that, and being asked that by family while on the East Coast this past trip back. On the trip were 6 of my older siblings (9 including my siblings in law), my parents, and AZ Grandma, most of which didn’t hesitate to share their varying opinions on what they thought I should do with my life, both now and in the future – Which dreams I should pursue, new dreams I should take upon myself… and of course, all the plot holes in the story I’m living, and all the things I should be worried about – all the fears they would have if they were in my shoes…. Nothing like a healthy dose of fear to get you out of bed in the morning! (I’m being facetious if you can’t tell)
It’s been a little overwhelming, even though I know they spoke those words out of love and concern, and it’s not any one person’s fault that there was proverbial line of people who wanted to get a word in. To my surprise however, my younger siblings kind of balanced it out. Ever since I moved out of my parents house to to live in D.C.,I’ve been concerned for my 5 younger siblings. I have an irrational worry for their well being without me. Feeling like I’ve abandoned them, not being there for them to encourage them, and help them grow up. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, that’s my parents job – and you’d be right, but that didn’t stop me from taking on, and feeling a lot of responsibility for them as their big sis. To my surprise, they flipped the tables on me, and instead of me trying to be that encouragement to them, they were that for me. One of my younger brothers, with a sparkle in his eyes told me he thought I was SO BRAVE. Every time I think about it brings tears to my eyes. Brave? I don’t feel very brave, I feel scared. They thought what I was doing was so cool, so different, and so exciting. I know I’m missed, but it gives me new energy, knowing that I’ve got little people back on the East Coast cheering me on, watching to see how my story plays out, plot holes and all.
I’ve never been so simultaneously scared and excited. Since I moved here, that has been a recurring theme. I’m an advocate of doing things that challenge you, things that seem impossible for you. Taking calculated risks and being okay with failing, but respecting yourself enough to know that it won’t be for lack of trying, or lack of perseverance.
You know, fear of failure used to be my greatest fear, and if I’m being real, it totally still is. I’m terrified that all the fears of my family are well founded. I’m scared that I won’t measure up. Scared that I will never be good enough or strong enough. Scared that moving to good ‘ol Texas so far away from my past life was a huge mistake. Scared that I’ll wind up embarrassed at the risks I’ve taken and that none of my series of dreams will pan out. It’s a fear that could be crippling me, and some moments it does. Some moments, like when I got back from visiting family last week, and I felt too sick to do anything and my head was so foggy I couldn’t think, balancing a headache and all the old fear and new fear hitting me at once- Desperate to not let my younger siblings faith in me be misplaced, delirious from my fever and all the voices in my head, all I could do was sob. That being said, somehow I was able to see passed it all. I was able to take courage in that ultimately I should be seeking the approval of my savior – and to Him, I will always be good enough. If my biggest fear is a reality; and I’m a failure, that’s okay, because the love that my God has for me WILL NEVER FAIL. That will always be there, no matter how much I screw up, or how much I feel like a failure.
The next day, I got up, did my devotions, prayed for God to give me strength, did my hair and makeup, cried all of it off after listening to ‘Strong Enough’, blew my nose dry, reapplied the makeup, applied for some jobs, went in for a couple interviews while pretending I wasn’t still delirious with fever, trying to embrace the awkward voice my sore throat bestowed upon me, and secured a waitress job. Then I got home, thanked God, ordered my uniform online, watched a comedy show, drank enough tea to drown an elephant and hopefully my cold too, and went to sleep at 8 PM because I was EXHAUSTED.
I’ve never been this scared, or this challenged – and that says a lot. As I said though, I’m also excited. I know that I will come out stronger on the other side of these challenges, and that if I fail, I’ll be that much closer to success. I’m in love with this place I’m in, with this city, with Jesus, and with the challenge. Yes, it’s complicated. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, sometimes I feel like the answer to the question ‘Do you know what you’re doing?” is “No, in fact… not at all… but I’m learning?” It’s not the answer I’d like to give. I’d like to say I’ve got everything figured out, but I don’t. I have a lot of plans, and a lot of goals. They’re riddled with plot holes, but that’s OKAY, because I know someone else has a master plan that is so much better, than mine could ever be. I’m learning it’s okay to not have all the answers.
Back in May while I was in D.C., not knowing what God wanted for my life or where I was meant to be, I started doing some research, some prayer, and ended up here. In a place that on paper, looked like a great place for me to work on my dreams, face my fear of failure, and maybe just maybe, a place for me to call home...And so it has been in these few short months.
The fact of the matter is I didn’t have to move, and even with all the reasons I can offer I can totally see how someone would see it as risky and a little extreme maybe. That being said I can’t say with 100% certainty that moving here was the best of all the choices I could’ve made but I knew I had to make a change, and I felt called here. That’s the short end of it, and I don’t know why God wants me here. If nothing else, I’ve had to lean on Jesus a lot more than I thought I’d have to. I’ve found that faking it just doesn’t cut it. I’m learning to be honest with myself, and see that no matter what I do, all the good I do is like filthy rags compared to with my savior’s majesty.
So yes, fear of failing is my biggest fear… but I don’t want that fear to control me or stop me from pursuing what God is calling me to. I hope that as you read this, you will recognize what it is that you’re scared of – whatever it is that is holding you back from being the person you know you can be – and surrender it to God. He is greater than anything that could possibly stand between you, Him, and your dreams.
2 Timothy 1:7
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.