I'm sad to say I've spent a lot of time setting up camp in the "what if" aisle. "What if I run out of money?" "What if I look stupid?" "What if I offend someone?" What if...anything. This got increasingly worse after the anxiety moved in, and for a while, it left me basically paralyzed. I would get lost in the labyrinth of fear surrounding things that were totally out of my hands, like what if my family was suddenly taken from me? Did my friends really want to be friends with me? Do my mentors think I am the most annoying person to ever walk this earth? I felt like a failure in so many ways before I had even begun the task set for me. I hadn't even given myself a chance to start before I would hang my head and take my place in the losers circle.
I was terrified of living, but I was terrified I wasn't living, too. I kicked myself after a day of hiding alone for not taking advantage of living in this beautiful city I call home, but when it came time to cross the threshold from the mirage of solitary safety into the lives of other people, I froze. The never ending list of "what if's..." stormed back into my head and overwhelmed me, so back to my big, red, chair I would retreat. Life was a series of checks and balances, "did I do enough this week to stay in tonight?" "Can I cancel these plans if I promise I go next time?" "Enough" became a word that was forever bouncing around my heart, but always haunted by a question mark, never with the sigh of contentment of a period.
I spent a lot of time in prayer for clarity, and a lot of time trying to even out the scales. It seemed the more I prayed, the less the scales balanced. I was begging for clear answers as to why I felt like this, what exactly did I need to cut out of my life to bring more peace. "For the love of YOU, TELL ME WHAT TO DO" was a pretty typical prayer on my end. I had a hunch I was never going to be able to do enough to quiet the storm inside of me, but I had heard more than a few Christian testimonies to realize this both wasn't a new concept, and was probably correct. God knows my heart for cheesy Christian drama is more than lacking so he was wise to not use this as the main point in my character development.
Instead, he straight up didn't answer my prayers for clarity. Not a single blessed thing came into focus. He answered by providing me with opportunities to trust him. If you're not familiar with Christian-y phrases like "provided opportunities to trust him" read instead, "my life got flipping difficult." I was a bundle of nervous energy as more anxiety flooded in, I tried to keep my footing as foundations crumbled under my feet, and no matter how hard I clawed at the rocky terrain surrounding me, I couldn't fight the pull into the inky unknown. I didn't get it. I was praying my broken heart out for clarity and I was being drawn into the complete opposite. Quit my jobs with no back up plan? Walk away from a dream I'd poured my whole heart into? Sign a lease- with friends I'd like to keep- without an income?
But right before I was dragged kicking and screaming into that cavern of total silence and darkness I was so afraid of, right before I thought for sure everything was going to end in a huge, messy failure, he stopped pulling. He stopped pulling and let everything get really, really still. It was in that stillness that he whispered, "It's not about clarity. It's about trust."
In those tiny moments, peace crashed into me like a tidal wave. I got it. It wasn't about clarity because I, in my tiny humanness, will never fully be able to understand God until the day I look into his loving face. It wasn't about getting me to comply with a checklist of things to complete before my life went back to comfort. It was about me not trusting in who he says he is, and by extension, not trusting the people and the things he gave me. Trust was the missing link to everything. I was relying so fully on myself, and not allowing him to take over because I was so afraid he would let me down, when I was failing myself left and right.
I found myself in the tingly, all fulfilling throes of his peace. Behind me under a cloud of settling dust were the deep grooves of my heels digging into the earth, with trails from my nails as my fingers clawed at the rocks, trying to stop the pull. Before me was my Father, standing between me and the cavern that looked inky and dark, a chasm of silence and unknown, his hand outstretched for mine. It was my choice, after all that struggle and resistance, he was letting me choose to jump. I knew then that my years of mistrust were flimsy and human, and if I chose to put my hand to his heart and my trust in his hands, I would find years packed to the brim with him.
I took a deep breath, I looked deeply, searchingly, into his gaze. I found the rhythm of trust my heart was looking for, and I jumped.