The biggest F-word is FEAR. It is one of the most debilitating factors that triggers one of the biggest bad words: SETTLING.
One of my earliest memories is of 4/5 year old me wanting a baby. Instead of a baby, my mother gave me a Barbie doll. I burned it! About a year or so, I got my baby brother, the boy who to this day, everyone in my family affectionately refers to as my son. I consider that memory one of my early examples of me refusing to settle. I was bratty? Yes! But I was a girl who knew what I wanted and unwilling to settle even if it meant going out on a limb to get it.
Fast forward 13 years later. During a Youth Service at church, I was asked to give a word. My immediate internal reaction was one of fear and denial. Eventually I went up to the pulpit, legs and hands shaking, and opened my mouth. To my shock, non-stop words of power flowed out. Then a strange thing happened. I got into my own head: “Shit! Am I making sense?” as voice asked. Immediately as my nerves (fears) took over and my doubts crept in, my voice was stifled and I stopped and couldn’t continue. From that day on, I turned down almost every opportunity that I was given to bring the Word. I choose to settle in my roles of Sunday school teacher and praise and worship leader, shying from any opportunity to deliver the words that God often placed in my spirit.
Two versions of the same person but two different attitude to fear. Somewhere along the way, young Chañel morphed into a woman who settled because of fear. I allowed fear to become the pilot of my life, polluting it with doubts and second-guessing. Throughout my childhood, I was the one who let my younger sister take our childhood spotlight because of my fear of exposing and being rejected because of my inadequacies when compared to my sister. At 13, I was the teen who let her best friend have the guy she crushed on for three years, afraid to let her feelings known and face probable rejection. At 15, I was the person who saved for months to buy her dream phone and then settled for another when an unexpected price change deterred her, fearing that if she didn’t get it today, she never would. At 21, I was the Christian who turned down the request to speak during our Sunday School Convention, although I was given the Word two weeks in advance. After that, I would often wonder why God didn’t use me more. But who could blame Him? He couldn’t trust that I would deliver when:
- I was the person who allowed fear to become the pilot of my life.
- I allowed my circumstances to set my limits, the height at which I dared to fly.
- I let the expectations of others dictate the roads I took. I settled again and again.
Each time a new path/option arose, I often made a conscious decision to settle when I couldn’t be certain of the outcome. I placed my dreams on hold, afraid to take a leap, focusing on the voices that dictated my pending failure. I feared what others would say if I stood up and voiced my truth, shaking off the chains that shackled me. I doubted and I settled constantly. I settled for the mediocrity I hated. I settled for the friends and boyfriends who did not inspire me to be. I settled for the persons who silenced me while simultaneously trying to be my voice, speaking their inaccurate renditions of my truth. I bowed to the pressures of her job and life, settling for the immediate comfort and failing to pursue the things that made my soul sing. It was always tomorrow, never today.
In essence I became a person full of regrets about the roads consciously not trodden.
I regret the times when I was asked to preach or be the lead singer but I turned down the opportunity, even though I had already been given the Word or knew the song. I sometimes wonder what would have been the results, if I hadn’t settled in the safety of being a Sunday school teacher or singing on the choir or leading the Praise and Worship team. I regret the times when I had the opportunity to voice ideas but stifled myself because I may look foolish. I settled and settled some more.
Somewhere along my walk on this earth I forgot 2 Timothy 1:7:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
I have no control over yesterday but I do have a say in the outcomes of today and tomorrow. Today, I choose to trust God who sees beyond today and tomorrow. Today, I choose to live with the spirit of power, love and self-discipline that God has bestowed upon me. I choose to stop settling and to just begin. Will you join me?
A SPECIAL NOTE:
I am choosing to face everything and rise. As a show of the commitment, I am undertaking a “30-Day Journey of YES!” in which I will both say yes to any opportunity that my spirit agrees with. I look forward to documenting the testimonies that I am certain God is already in the process of making.
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May the Peace of God go with you!