{31 Days} Day 3: Living with Fear and Joy

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Welcome to day 3 of {31 Days} - I'm blogging every day in October. Click here to read the first post!

I think it is so funny how many misconceptions we have...that being a woman means being perfect. And that living out your calling as a young woman of God means you should never experience fear.


Life is full of fear - we will worry about tripping, about misstepping, about missing a moment, about not being good enough, about disappointing God. I don't remember Him saying, "You will never ever have fear again." What He does say however, is to trust in Him. 

"...in everything, by prayer and petition, 
with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. 
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds
 in Christ Jesus...then the God of peace will be with you"
 (Phil. 4:6-7, 9). 

Becoming a true woman of God, I've learned, doesn't mean nothing will ever phase you and that you have to remain calm 24/7.

Ahem, already failing over here. I like to think God understands the female psyche pretty well and grants us our often emotional and irrational ranting/overreacting that we just need to have sometimes.

But last year was a very pivotal one for me, because I learned firsthand how consuming fear could be...and the joy that comes from releasing that fear.

Fear and joy are two very different things.

And yet, how very similar. Both can swallow you up, change you, turn your soul inside out, and leave you breathless.

Maybe it's because they're one and the same. Maybe it's only our perspective that is different. Our reaction that causes us to think of them as two widely different emotions.

We usually fear change, after all. But it's usually the change that brings us true joy.

The day I left for college, I was breathless with fear. As we drove on the endless, winding interstate, that fear did not leave me. I had absolutely no earthly idea what was going to happen. My world had been turned upside down, leaving me falling towards Baylor. Me, an Aggie child, strong Catholic, and skirt-wearer. Heading towards a Baptist university that was A&M's rival. Of all the wonders.

Me, who had never wanted to go to Baylor. Who had fought determinedly against any suggestion of going there. Me, who was so sure it was not the school for me.

Me, who was now heading there with my entire life packed up in a U-haul and car.

Me, whom God had hit over the head repeatedly and said, "I want you there."

I was full of fear. How on earth was that right? How would it work? How?


But I finally relinquished. And decided, fear and all, that if God wanted me there, He probably had a much better reason than all my excuses why I shouldn't be there. So I trusted Him.

Absolutely terrified? Of course. I was afraid I was making a mistake, choosing the wrong college, shutting the door to all the other ones in case Baylor somehow didn't work out. I had fear.

But that day? When I found myself back in my first home, where I was born and raised, driving amidst the rolling hills and green fields of Texas, something happened to that fear.

It turned to joy.

 I still had absolutely no idea what would happen, if it would work out. But suddenly, I didn't care. The fear was replaced by an exhilarating sense of trust and joy.

(I listened to this song - Home, by Philip Phillips - over and over that day. It became my anthem. My encouragement that I would find a new home, despite all my fear that whispered I wouldn't.)

I had finally jumped off the cliff - off the diving board, as Emily said. The fall seemed all the more threatening and dangerous the longer I hesitated and agonized at the top. Where I was safe. And secure. Where I was in my comfort zone.

After I jumped, as soon as I made the conscious decision - even before my body processed what my brain was telling it - my fear lifted.

And my soul turned inside out. From joy.

I jumped. It was finally all right, because I realized there was Someone who would catch me. Because I had a safety net.

And friends, once you realize that, there's no reason not to jump. 

Now, instead of falling, plummeting, tumbling...I was flying.

Wikipedia describes fear as:  

 "an emotion induced by a perceived threat which causes entities to quickly pull far away from it and usually hide."

That's what I was doing. I kicked, fought, and tried to hide. But, friends, you can't hide from God. Especially if you're stubbornly refusing to follow the signs He posts along the road. And I can be pretty stubborn. I was trying to do what I thought I needed to do to survive...because fear is a basic survival mechanism. 

 "In short, fear is the ability to recognize danger leading to an urge to confront it or flee from it (also known as the fight-or-flight response) but in extreme cases of fear (horror and terror) a freeze or paralysis response is possible."

I had allowed fear and my demons to paralyze me for too long. When I finally jumped, that breathlessness and uncertainty still remained. But now, instead of a cliff or diving board from which I was falling into  unknown, uncharted waters...

an adventure lay before me, waiting to be explored. The world was large, wide, and wonderful. And waiting for me. 

And that is an utterly joyful and fearful thing. 

Because as I discovered that day, as I embraced enormous change and made the most terrifying and courageous decision of my young adult life to date, my world would never be the same. But that's all right. 

 Change is a good thing. Even if we fear it. Because there's joy wrapped up in there, too.

 It's up to you to embrace it. 

So today, with a mile-long to-do list and literally a marathon of a day ahead of me...with a test tomorrow that involves preparing 10 essay prompts as well as studying for a multiple choice section...I'm saying no to fear and trusting in God. 

That doesn't mean I won't worry some or that I'll be perfectly Zen. It does mean, though, that I will do my best, rest in His peace, and know that everything will be okay. The world never ends simply because of something that happens in our lives. And becoming a young woman firmly rooted in God means understanding that. And accepting that while we still experience fear, if we trust Him and jump, He'll be right there with us. 

Happy Thursday, friends. May it be a blessed day and may you do all that needs to be done. With His joy. 

Day 1: 31 Days to Live Out Your Calling as a Woman of God
Day 2: What It Means to Be a Young Woman of God
Day 3: Living With Fear and Joy
Day 4:
Day 5:
Day 6:
Day 7:
Day 8:
Day 9:
Day 10:
Day 11:
Day 12:
Day 13:
Day 14:
Day 15:
Day 16:
Day 17:
Day 18:
Day 19:
Day 20:
Day 21:
Day 22:
Day 23:
Day 24:
Day 25:
Day 26:
Day 27:
Day 28:
Day 29:
Day 30:
Day 31:


  1. This is perfect for me! Lately I feel like there are so many little things on my to-do list that stack up and make me feel afraid, even though not one of them is daunting in itself. This post gave me the encouragement not to face them, but to face God and know that we'll get through it together.

    1. Clare, isn't funny how we can find certain posts just when we need them the most? I'm so happy to hear that you were able to relate...daily life has been like that for me also. But I know everything will work out. God bless!

  2. Thank you! That was absolutely beautiful and needed today!!

    1. I'm so glad to hear that! Thank you for reading + commenting! <3