There was a time when I was very afraid. Afraid of saying the wrong thing, of looking stupid, of being seen…. This fear shaped everything I did(or didn’t do) and said(or didn’t say). My fear shaped how people saw me. Some saw weakness, pride, and sometimes my lack of words was viewed as stupidity. Yet what hurt the most were the people who never noticed me.
“Oh, you were there?” was a common question and it hurt like a knife to my heart.
But over the years there has been a change. I am not afraid. Why? What has changed?
I was thinking about this last night as I had dinner with an old friend. We were waiting to be seated but the host hadn’t taken our name. She suggested that I go check if it were our turn. “You’re the bold one.” was her excuse.
“Since when!?!” was my response. She has always been the older more confident one. Since when did I become the bold one? But there I saw, out of the two of us, I was the most confident. How did this happen?
The only answer I could find is that I know I am loved. As I look back my fear started to fade as I began to let love chase it away. Love from the people in my church, love from my friends abroad, and most importantly love from God.
As a child, I always saw God’s love in the same way I saw my dad’s love. Loud, rough, temperamental, and easily lost. As a teenager, I began to read the Bible on my own and I saw that God’s love was a little different.
Yes, there are times where God’s love seems rough…but He shows mercy more than He punishes. He gives us so many chances to stop what is harming us and others. Then on top of that He sends Jesus, who shows us what life with God can be like. A life that blesses the lives of the people around us.
I saw how different that was from my dad’s love. I felt the love the people around me offered and I decided that love was better than fear. Love brings light to dark places and births hope in the midst of pain. Love is the opposite of fear. Fear is selfish and isolating.
I want others to know God’s love and that is what makes me bold.