For years, fear lurked under the surface like a low grade fever.
In my frenetic busyness and in my quiet moments, it came — that seeping hot with bouts of chills.
Sometimes my skin seemed thin as tissue, so sensitive to the fingers of afraid.
Sometimes it still does.
Many first memories are fears. Of the creepy lights that danced across walls, of the day at the playground where the skin of my forearm got pinched in the swing set at the top where it attached to the cross bar, and I couldn’t get it free. I still bear the mark.
In my teens, my first high school B+ carried fear that Stanford would no longer want me and maybe I wasn’t supposed to be a lawyer after all. So I padded my resume and filled it with such a broad range of activities that any faraway college admissions person could see all I cared about.
I deeply feared being minimized or misunderstood.
Through years, fears have crept close with their claws and low voices that only I hear, whispering that I need to do something else, that I’ve dropped that ball, that I’m not enough and never will be as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend. Fear whispers that the dream inside is dying, or dead.
Some days I’ve felt brave. Spoken the afraid aloud to my people, turned a giant spotlight on those ugly accusing fears and yelled, “So what?”
And other days I haven’t felt brave at all, and so the opposite of afraid wasn’t courageous, but more like quiet trust.
The kind of trust that can be still and know, and this trust seeps through my body like the warmth of the heating pad that starts shallow and moves deep into fibers.
I don’t trust myself to do battle, but lay heart and hands open to God who holds me and invites me rest and to give these burdens too.
So here I am — one at a time, scooping up the fears and casting them away from me, leaving an ugly pile right there at his feet.