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    I want to talk about what I've learned about being scared. First, because becoming sick has taught me so about fear and what fear is. Second, because that's the thing, fear is a liar. It'll make you feel so alone even when you're in a crowded room. It pretends that it's helpful and makes sense. And sure, caution and concern can be beneficial. But the concern is something you own. Fear has a way of owning you. Fear tells you everything will go wrong. Or that it will never get better. Or you're not enough. And that after a long time of listening to the fear in my head, it wasn't helping me. But do you know what was helping? Love. And love was the one constant in my life. It always made things better. Love has a way of shining a light on things where fear tends to cover them up or hide them. Love casts out all fear. And I realized I didn't fully accept love when I let fear make a lot of my decisions. Fear says lay in bed, think about all the ways you're failing, and that the worst possible outcome will happen. And love says, wow, it's a new day. Look at all the gifts around you. How can you share those with your friends and family? Right now, I'm a mess. And at first look, I get overwhelmed. But then, my mood sinks and my heart feels like it's pounding out of my chest. Finally, my body becomes paralyzed, and all I can do is sleep. Suddenly, with projects half done and unaccomplished achievements, I want to beat myself up. I feel like my life has become a giant to-do list that I can't seem to keep up. It takes a minute. When writing all these things down, these thoughts stem from the fact that I don't think I'm enough. It's a fear mindset. The fear that speaks to me, "is all my life going to be one giant to-do list that I can't keep up with"? But what does love say when I put all my thoughts in the light? And I start poking them to see if they are truthful. Love says start. Well, fear says this is a never-ending to-do list. Love says it's a bucket list, and I don't have to do these things, but I get to do these things. It makes doing these things so much more enjoyable. So much more empowering. I get to do these things because I am alive. So why wouldn't I want to? I am so much more than the bad things that happened to me. Don't I want to see what happens if I don't give up? Don't I? Many people want to hope for something in their life but are afraid because of their circumstances. The fear is holding you back. Love gives you hope. Right now, I'm just clearing out my space so I can clear my thoughts along with it. Moving forward with love and hope is my only way to find happiness. Have I gotten less scared as the years have gone on? I feel like the answer is no; I haven't. But the flashlight of love is right next to me when I'm ready to turn it on. I have realized the power of having people around me with flashlights. Because when you are part of a loving community, fear doesn't stand a chance. I can't tell you for so long that I believed the lie that no one wants you to ask for help and that you're a burden if you ask for people for help. It's the complete opposite. People have strengths that are other people's weaknesses. So I can't come up with a better invitation to encourage people to share their gifts.