I have decided to start this That Dear Wednesday Life November letters off on a more personal note. The theme for this month is "Fear-Less". As I sat to reflect on this month's theme, I prayed and asked God what He wanted me to write. Pictures began to flash in my mind along with memories about past and current struggles. In that moment I realized the extent to which I have allowed “fear” to drive my life. In the right context, fear is good. Yes, we need to seek shelter from a bad storm. We should be vigilant when walking to the car at night all alone, and so on...
However, many people, especially Ladies, are filled with the type of fears that have no factual evidence or grounding behind them. We trust these fears to guide us because of what we have been told, have seen, and what we have been deceived to believe. Therefore (unless the Lord tells me otherwise) I am going to share personal stories that I hope will encourage, but more importantly, push you out of fear’s illusion-based prison.
I love science! And I have always been such a medical nerd. I was not afraid to study and watch surgeries or medical procedures being carried out. I actually had a knack for being calm in physically uncomfortable situations. I have hiked mountains in Central America. I have fallen down mountains and in to rivers. I have eaten questionable foods and ventured into less than safe territories all while maintaining a sense of fearlessness.
I have always been able to tame my external fears, it was the internal ones that were out of control.
Despite these fearless actions, I suffered from a debilitating fear of man.
This concept may sound foreign to many of you, so let me explain.
Fear of Man is essentially an irrational fear of being rejected or disapproved of by another human that you may deem as superior to yourself. I lived my life building walls to try and protect myself from others hoping that I would not be hurt or feel uncomfortable. Fear of Man can stem from untreated trauma and show up as a defense mechanism.
So when I “broke free” from home and went off to college, my main focus was on meeting a great man and getting married. Yes, that is the truth.
But my reason for wanting a relationship so badly was to combat the emptiness I had always felt inside. I was afraid to be alone.
So my senior year of college I met a guy, about 4 years my junior, who was nice and liked me. We even got engaged halfway through my senior year. We had our own apartment; yep we lived together (insert side eye here). I gave myself a way with the hope of feeling something other than emptiness.
Our relationship was difficult at best. It would have made a great study case for counseling and psychology students. We were two deeply wounded, insecure, fearful individuals trying to fill voids within each other. And so I stayed… I was deathly afraid of what others would think if I broke off the engagement. What would my family think, what would his family think or DO?! What would my leaders and worst of all my friends think if it didn’t work? I was more afraid of what others were going to think than living the rest of my life in misery with a man I was never supposed to be with.
We stayed together another few months, and I became seriously depressed. I was eating tons of crap food and had no motivation to study or even apply for jobs or internships. This continued on until the day I had one of the most vivid thoughts I’d ever experienced... I knew with crystal clarity that if I did not do something I was GOING to DIE. Be it from overeating, high blood pressure or worse.
So for the first time in many years I prayed a real prayer to God and I asked Him to do something, anything to end my internal misery! I ended up falling asleep and the Lord spoke to me so clearly in a dream.
The Fork in the Road Moment
During this dream, I saw myself married to my fiance at the time. We had our own place and a couple of children. I was standing in the kitchen cooking when my children ran in to hug me. My husband walked in shortly after and in that moment I “physically” felt overcome by misery. I had everything I wanted but I was miserable in my dream.
I woke up startled and heavy because I knew what had to happen… So, I said out loud on my bed that day “God I choose to follow you wherever you will take me because I do not want misery”. This declaration began one of the scariest seasons of my life.
I had to break off my engagement and face the crowd. I am not sure how much I was actually judged by others (i.e. I had an irrational fear of people judging me), in fact, they probably felt a sense of relief on my behalf. Nonetheless, I moved back to my hometown… jobless and fianceless with no clear direction BUT this time I knew I was on the right path… a path towards freedom. Freedom from the chains of fear and his siblings.
You may be suffering from fear of man or FEAR in general right now. Maybe there is a decision you need to make right now but the fears and statements in your mind are holding you in place. Maybe the contrary words of others that you have internalized or misconstrued have created a wall that you just can't seem to climb over. Or maybe you think, somehow these irrational fears are protecting you from pain of some sort.
Well, my hope is that you began to understand that fear can not kill you but it can kill your purpose, hopes, dreams and smother you talents.
Here is a song by: Zach Williams called “Fear is a Liar”. Listen to it HERE (on repeat if you have to) until you get mad enough to move because the only way past fear is through it.
Until next week, with love and fearless courage,
“We do not simply exist just for ourselves, our lives are guiding lights for others who are stuck in the dark.” ~Life Quote
This Dear Wednesday Letter was hand-crafted by Ashley Marcel. Ashley Marcel is a lover of people, daughter of God and Public Health advocate. Currently, Ashley is working with students in the medical and dental fields who provide service to the underserved regions in her area. At the same time, she is studying Public Health at Capella University with the goal of working in the area of research. Part of Ashley’s purpose is to help women live fuller, more abundant lives through mentoring, encouragement and health promotion. Contact Ashley Marcel further @anwilli7 on Instagram.