The chemistry of fear

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Moving to a city that is filled with people who not only know who they are but also know what they want while you are just getting used to the sound of your name is probably not the brightest idea ever. July is coming to an end and I’m still asking God why He brought me here. Just as I start to settle in He rattles my heart with a truth so solid it cannot be ignored. I don’t understand why I have to be broken in the midst of people who are so willing to redefine me. They almost give me no choice. “This is who you are.” And I’m left searching for any speck of truth in their words.

The will of the Lord is a beautiful thing to live in when things are going good. It is by far the hardest thing to align yourself to when things are chaotic. The simple activity of saying yes to His will seems impossible when all of a sudden what was left is right and what was right is left.

It has taken me two months of no longer meditating on God’s word, a month of short rushed prayers, four Hannah Brencher blog entries, two “I need to drink myself to a stupor” attacks (that never prevailed) and a sermon about Ruth to get me to realise that I am slowly but surely sinking in the battle between God and culture. It has taken all of that to get me to realise that God has been quiet because I’m officially being tested and so far, I’ve just about failed every section. It has taken me all of that to get me to realise the truth in Philippians 1:21. Truly, for me to live is Christ.

Normally I describe myself as an adapter…I’ve always found it easy to gel into a new environment. But this time… When I unpacked my bags in the middle of February, I assessed the environment. I caught sight of parts of the ecosystem that could easily be avoided. I also however saw parts that posed a great threat to my spiritual life and those parts could not be avoided. Naturally, my body had to make a fight or flight decision. Without realising, I had gone on flight. Autopilot.

I have been running away from who I am in this city. I have been running away from fixing parts of me that would help me survive the unsurvivable. I’ve been running away from conversations that would force me to be fully present. I’ve been running away from the present straight into the more attractive arms of the future.

The problem with running away from the present is that your life gets put on hold. The truth of the matter is that we will forever exist in the present. If we are continuously running after tomorrow, we’ll never win because there’s always a tomorrow. The race would never end.

Singleness is one of the realities I have been running away from. When everyone around you is either promised marriage, working towards marriage or finalising preparations for marriage, the fact that you are only 23 years old fades into the pressure of having a pimped out left hand. Culture. Whenever my age comes into question, it is followed by a remark that is leaning towards marriage. It is an ideology that has been drilled into my head for as long as I can remember. Don’t get me wrong, I want to get married, I really do. But I have come to the realisation that life doesn’t start upon the commencement of Holy matrimony…it continues.

It was my mother who, not so long ago said, “Know that in every aspect of your life, you are a single woman. Own it. Live in it. Marriage will come but for now, embrace being single.” I had so many questions. I still do. But right now, those questions could go unanswered and I’d still be fine. I have missed so many chances by being in flight. I have missed chances of being a friend, a sister, a church member…I’ve missed chances of being the stranger that God used to speak life into a dying situation.

I have missed chances of being a vessel all because the married me seemed more attractive and more useful than the single me; the married me has greater purpose, says deeper and more meaningful prayers, but most importantly, she’s a size 6 woman who is as in love with the gym as she is with her husband, who eats all she wants without putting on weight, whose job is incredibly great and has all the money in the world. She is everything I should start working on being now but am too caught up in the clouds to pick myself up and push. Million dollar dreams with a minimum wage work ethic…

The thing about the response to fear is that we don’t consciously trigger it or even know what’s going on until it has run its full course. My fear of spiritual disability or even death due to my present status triggered the longest marathon I have ever run. My geographical location is part of Gods plan. My marital status in this particular city at this particular time in my life is all part of Gods plan. Tomorrow still seems more appealing but knowing that there will never be a moment like now again keeps me present. There will never be a moment like this. Never will there be a breeze so gentle. Never will there be sun rays so poetic. It takes being present. It takes showing up. It takes fighting to stay present and stay aligned to the will of God. After all, the will of God existed before the chemistry of fear did.

***This was written about 2 months but I was going through a phase of crippling fear to post anything. Now I’m back 🙂 and I pray that the Lord may continue to use me to touch your hearts. Be blessed.***

9am Sun

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It’s 09:57 on a Monday morning and I’m still in bed. Freedom Day. That’s what today is. Today in South Africa we are celebrating 21 years of democracy.

You know how your mind gets super busy in the morning… Like I think of one thing and then another comes up and it links itself to another ‘til I don’t know where I started. That’s me right now. I’m trying to figure out where I started; I’m trying to figure out how I got here…

I’m sitting in an awkward yoga position on my bed (which is now starting to cramp my right leg) facing the window letting whatever sun ray gets to me hit me on the face. I figure that’s enough of a distraction to make me not focus on this hollow space in my heart. It’s been there for a while and I’ve been trying to get it filled with something or someone but I keep getting distracted and I keep letting myself get distracted because somehow I know that figuring out how it got to be so empty and hollow will hurt. I don’t want to hurt. I’ve been hurt a lot in my short life and today I really don’t want to be hurt. Not at 9am.

I used to be a dreamer. I used to dream that I’d be rich in my early 20’s and that I’d live a life filled with adventure and that I wouldn’t need anything but I’d be a giver of everything. And then I grew up and realised that though it doesn’t cost you to dream, disappointment will come knocking at your door once in a while. I don’t like disappointment. I don’t . So for a long time I stopped dreaming and just started living. Until I realised that I had to dream again in order to live with purpose.

There is so much that I want to accomplish but sometimes I just don’t know where to start and sometimes I’m just plain scared. Scared of starting and not finishing. Scared of starting and failing and not getting the courage to continue. Scared of starting and being rejected. I’m scared of being rejected. I’m scared of putting myself out there and not being good enough. I’m scared of exposing myself only to be turned down. I’m scared. Heck I’m petrified!

Last year September I packed my bags and moved out of a city that had become so dear to me. I fought countless battles in that city. Some I lost but some I was victorious in and having won the last battle (by the grace of God), God saw it good for me to move. I didn’t want to go. Moving meant starting over. I didn’t want to start over. Ironically, a few months before I moved I asked God to let me start over. I shared that with a friend of mine. I wanted to move and go somewhere where nobody knows me so I can start over. I wanted to run away from a can of worms that I had opened and couldn’t deal with any longer. I wanted to escape. I forgot about that request. And when the time came for me to move I didn’t want to go.

“Whatever you run away from will always be around to chase after you.”

I can attest to that. Though the last battle was won in Port Elizabeth, not all of them were. And the ones that were not conquered are now sticking their heads out trying to signal their existence.

There was a boy. There’s always a boy. Handsome young man full of zeal and potential. There’s something about potential that makes me go weak in the knees. I buckle at the sight of potential (help me Lord). We never dated, never even tried to even though there was something there. His nature was very broad; very loving yet stern, very childish yet manly, full of intent yet soft. Reading him was never easy. But in my heart I knew that there was something there. I couldn’t put my finger on it but there was something there. But because there was no way we could date, I never made it obvious that his presence made my stomach have a million knots.

I never made it obvious that his mere existence gave me hope. And because I knew the type of woman he goes for, I made it my mission to disqualify myself. I made it a point to look in another direction when he would come running my way. I made it a point to not allow myself to be disappointed. Sadly that is one of the battles that I am yet to conquer because as much as he didn’t exist 100% in my space, he had shares to my mind and my heart. So while running away from him physically was successful, mentally and in my heart he is running towards me and I don’t always have the strength to take my eyes off him and look in another direction.

My dreams have changed. I’m no longer focused on just being a billionaire. Things changed. Things happened and made my dreams change. Now I dream about freedom. I dream of the day when I will look back and think “Thank God for grace and mercy.” I now dream about listening to other girls speak and my heart smiling because I not only know what they’re talking about, but I also know that it can be conquered. I dream of the words “I used to”. I dream of a flourishing heart, a prospering mind and the purest of spaces behind closed doors. I dream. And that’s a good thing; that I’m dreaming again.