I am leaving for boarding school in two days. That means I am mostly packed, that my work is done (and my first-ever paper graded–it feels like a milestone), and that I am spending my last few days ever living with my parents, as far as I know. It means a lot of good food, a lot of good time and a lot of good memories.
It also means that I am very, very anxious. I’ve been writing about this for a while–even as far back as my second blog post. My thoughts and feelings have been all over the place, from over-the-top excitement to doubt and fear. I need to say this right now: I am so very excited. I am chomping at the bit to go to this school. The community is going to be great. I signed up for classes that I am going to love (I’m taking music theory. I’m so ready). I CAN SAY IT ALL IN CAPS BECAUSE THAT’S HOW MUCH I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS SCHOOL YEAR!!!!!!!!!! (you guys, I’m a self-professed grammar Nazi and I used multiple exclamation marks. This is a thing).
But that doesn’t mean I’m not afraid. It’s a habit of mine to get really stressed about any- and everything, and major life changes are no exception. So here’s what I did. At camp (I’m never done talking about camp. Sorry not sorry), we drew trees. We had a lies-that-bear-fear tree, and we had a truth-that-bears-faith tree to counter it. That was hard, at times, but very helpful.
It is in light of that helpfulness that I wrote this. It is a list of my fears. They are not specific, necessarily, but very much things that I catch myself believing far more often than I know I should. As a dear friend wrote me in a letter: “Our fears, our sins, our failures, and our struggles lose their power over us when they’re in the light. And as hard as it is to admit that we’re human, and we have difficulty trusting God, it loses its grip on us when it’s not hidden.”
So here are, very publicly, some things I am afraid of.
I am afraid that I am unloved.
I am afraid no one cares about me.
I fear insignificance.
I fear being ordinary.
I fear not being worthy of attention or praise.
I am afraid of not being the best at something.
I fear inadequacy.
I fear the humiliation that comes when everyone around me realizes that I am inadequate
I am afraid of being passed over, in favor of someone else who is better.
I worry that I don’t have a purpose.
I fear loss.
I am afraid of failure.
I fear the people around me don’t notice me or that I’m not special…
…but I also am afraid to let them know me, because what if they knew that:
I am not strong enough.
I am not smart enough.
I am not pretty enough.
I am not fast enough.
I am not fun enough.
I am not assertive enough.
I am not capable enough.
I am not talented enough.
I am not insightful enough.
I am not good enough.
I am afraid that I have let people who care about me down.
I fear that I have failed them: I let them expect something of me that I was unable to do.
I worry that I am too shy, or awkward, or reserved, and then that I’m annoying.
I am afraid people don’t consider me a friend.
I occasionally suffer from the Imposter Syndrome.
I fear missing out.
I fear being the third wheel.
I am afraid that I have become so accustomed to playing a character or projecting an image that I’ve forgotten how to be earnest.
I worry that I’m not helpful to the people I care about.
I worry that my life is determined by my ability to adhere to certain standards and check off boxes, and I’m terrified I’ll fall irreparably short.
I’m worried I’m maladjusted.
I worry that I worry so much.
I’m afraid my priorities are wrong.
I fear change.
I fear complacency.
I fear anxiety and nervousness, because I know I’ll be fine.
But what if I’m not?
I am afraid that I am not now and will not become the person I want to be/expected to be/want to be.
Are some of these irrational? Yes, and I know that. Do I tend to be dramatic? Yes. The fears come and go, some I feel more than others, but as I sat to write them out they just kept coming. Some of that was hard to write down, hard to admit to myself, but it’s out there now, in plain view of everyone. If you’ve read this blog before, then you know how much I’ve learnt this summer (yes, camp. Always camp.) about grace. Grace is so cool, you guys. Like, there’s so much about it that I could write about. Also? I don’t have to be afraid. In fact, I’m commanded not to be, 365 times. Because God is good like that. Maybe you see yourself in some of that, I don’t know, but I hope you know what I’ve started to understand in the hour or so I’ve typed this: you are not defined by your fear. You will fail, you will fall short, but there is grace in that.
Y’all, don’t live in fear.
My good friend who blogs over here (read it, people!) suggested I put a song in this post because my worship language is music and there are some great songs out there.
Here are a few of my favorites to go with this blog (links to YouTube):