Conquering Fear

At the beginning of the trip, at training camp, our leaders asked us a basic question, “What’s something you’re excited for on this trip?” My answer was “I’m excited to do the things I’m afraid to.” What they didn’t know was that the list of things I’m afraid of is quite long: heights, weird-shaped bugs, crowds, talking to strangers, or loneliness. You name it, I just might be afraid of it. What I didn’t know was that God was going to challenge all of that this trip. 
Heights: flying, driving in the mountains, and climbing in the Indian caves. I really am not a fan of being off the ground. I mean, one wrong move and I could be pulled down by the force of gravity. I’m currently sitting in a pretty turbulent airplane. With every jump or bump of the plane, my brain wonders how I can trust this flying piece of metal to defy gravity. 
Weird-shaped bugs: Needless to say, I found a centipede (seriously about 7 inches long) crawling towards my foot. I apologize to the family in the room next to ours because I screamed so loud. After about 15 minutes of 12 teenage girls screaming and laughing trying to catch this bug, we finally shooed him out the door which really surprise our leaders who were outside chatting. Easily one of the funniest/scariest moments ever.
Crowds: Have you ever been to an airport? People are everywhere. Try navigating the Atlanta airport all by yourself. Yeah, I did that.
Talking to strangers: For ministry one day we were told to go through a mall and evangelize. Naturally, this challenge was very nerve-wracking. My group and I tried to talk to several people, but failed over and over. I felt very discouraged until I saw a group of girls wearing dance shoes. I went to go talk to them and only 2 girls responded. They were so kind, and I found out they were the only Christians on their dance team. These girls were so joyful and amazing to talk to. It made my whole day.
Loneliness: It gets quiet at night. Everyone is asleep except for me and my thoughts. That can be a very lonely place. You start asking what if questions to yourself like “What if everyone decides tomorrow they don’t want to talk to me?” “What if I have an anxiety attack tomorrow?” “What if I don’t sleep at all tonight?” These thoughts can be scary especially in the dead of night when there’s no one you can talk to. No one to reassure you that those things will not happen, that everything will be okay. 
So God really gave me what I wanted: challenge and adventure.  I was definitely pushed to trust God more and more on this trip. On the planes, I had to trust that God would protect me and keep the plane in the air. I also learned that even though centipedes may be scary like many things, God has put people in my life to help me kick my fears out the door.  Being in crowds taught me the importance of being independent and able to find my way without depending on others all the time. And in the still of night, when my mind is racing with anxious thoughts, God is there to speak truth into my heart: “I am pleased with you.” You may be afraid to do something. Maybe it’s flying, talking to a friend about Jesus, or learning to love yourself. But no matter how far down the rabbit hole of fear you may go, God will always be there to remind you of a simple truth:
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. -Isaiah 54:10

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