Wouldn’t you know that just days after I write about my yearly resolution to be brave, I am reminded that to become brave you first have to be scared. Brennan Manning writes about people that aren’t prepared for their prayers to be answered. He says people pray for humility but they don’t prepare themselves to be humiliated. Every time I pray for courage and bravery, I forget that we don’t just receive these things, we learn them. We experience things that cause us to encounter humiliation or fear in order to learn humility or courage.
Fear is a beast
always lurking around every corner and always present in my peripheral vision even in my most contented moments.
After all this talk about how I feel a little more brave, I’m reminded that I have much farther to go and I am learning still.
Fear steps in, steals my breath, hollows me out and leaves me with just enough energy to close the curtains and lock the door. I am amazed at how quickly I throw my walls up when fear enters the room. I’ve had a lifetime of training in self-preservation and turns out, it’s not so easily unlearned, go figure. Once I feel that fear, it’s hard to choose courage; my words, my actions, my demeanor all turn themselves over to fear. Everything in me desperately fights to protect itself-and it gets ugly.
I’ve found that half the time I don’t even know the root of the fear in the moment. Fear knows my weaknesses and my wounds and knows just what will trigger that automatic response to sound the alarms. I’ve buried those things away. I have to dig and dig until I get at the root of the fear. It’s then that I have the choice to be hurt by it and bury it away again or I can acknowledge it for what it is, feel the weight of it and let it go. There’s a quote that I love that reads,
“the rain of grace pounds the dirt until life breaks through the mud and reaches for the sun”.
I just love that. It’s digging down deep, finding the root of the fear, letting grace in and allowing life to come out of it. It’s work. It’s not easy. It’s like soul gardening; it requires using mental muscles that I never use or haven’t used in years and at the end of it, I’m left feeling sore and tired, much like real life gardening. But, what I love about gardening is that sure I’m sore and tired and dirty at the end of the day but I can step back and look at the progress I’ve made. I can see something grow where I once thought nothing could and that is something to be thankful for.