Okay, I’m fairly certain I wasn’t this scared three months ago in Scotland. Sure, I used to be afraid like this before, but I thought I’d moved past it, I thought Scotland was a growing season, I thought I’d changed.
But here’s a list of some of the recent things making me feel like a wimp today:
—I’m afraid to go to school tomorrow for two reasons:
1. My first professor (who counted me late when class starts at 8am and I walked in at 7:59) is handing back our reference papers, and I already know I didn’t put a cover page where I should have, so I’m already not getting the best grade, and so I just don’t want to deal with getting the paper back (or having to see that teacher).
2. We’re workshopping my first short story for Advanced Fiction, and I foolishly decided to center mine around a war veteran who comes home having lost his mind, but I know nothing of war and nothing of post traumatic stress, so I’m pretty sure I didn’t handle that subject very well, and I’m terrified of what the class and the teacher are going to say, and I’m worried I might’ve offended someone.
…What? That’s stupid, I know. I don’t remember worrying about school work this much in Edinburgh. I mean, I know that I did, but I also know that I would talk to my roommate about how I needed to remember that my grades didn’t define my value.
Then again, I didn’t take any creative writing courses in Scotland. I think it’s much harder to detach my value from my creative writing than it is to detach it from my academic writing. (But both are really, really hard for me.)
—I went to new church for the first time yesterday, and I was invited to go to someone’s house for a community group dinner tonight. I’m going to go, but I wish I didn’t feel so terrified about doing it. Why am I so scared to go to dinner? Sure, I have no idea who’s going to be there, and I don’t know anyone there anyway, and I may seem out of place, but that didn’t stop me from checking out churches in Edinburgh! In fact, I sought out places like that in Edinburgh, and if someone invited me to something afterwards, I went! I thought I was growing, becoming more open to God’s opportunities, I thought I was brave.
But for some reason, I can only be brave in Scotland, not in America.
—I’m afraid to talk to my friends. WHAT? Yeah, how wimpy is that? You see, I’m not very good with keeping in touch with people who are far away, and so now that I’m back in America, I’m kind of afraid to initiate things with friends that I’ve missed. Because I’m afraid things have changed. …So my solution is that I just don’t do it? That’s ridiculous. Also, I’m afraid that I’m losing my friends from Edinburgh because we don’t talk all the time like we used to when we lived in the same city, so that means there must be this strange disconnect, so it would be hard to talk to them whenever I got around to it, so I just shy away from phone and skype conversations and replying to emails. …Yes, I am aware of how foolish that sounds and how wrong it is.
—And the ongoing, underlying fear: I’m afraid of looking foolish. Why? I don’t know exactly, it’s something I’m bringing before my God. But this is why I don’t “just ask” for a product I want if I don’t see it on the shelves; this is why I don’t raise my hand in class, even when everyone else is saying the wrong answer and I know I have it right; this is why I feel embarrassed for twenty minutes after I pull on a door that says “push.”
Seriously, what the heck is wrong with me?
I hate being a wimp. I hate these projections I have in my head, they’re binding me from experiencing freedom and joy.
I thought I was past this.
I thought it wasn’t this bad.
But I’m scared of how scared I am, and of how much I attach my value to the thoughts and reactions of other people.
I am God’s child. Nothing else matters. I need to walk in freedom, not fear.
But how do I do that?