I am sitting alone in my room, the same room that has been mine for 10 years. It has changed a lot over the years-the pink walls replaced with a calming tan color, the posters of boy bands replaced with maps of the world and big girl artwork. Everything is different and yet everything is familiar. Everything in here I know: every crevice, every wall, every scrape and stain on the floor. Ten years this room has seen change and yet I sit here feeling like that same 11 year old girl. I look at the pile of boxes that will be moving back to school with me tomorrow for the last time, my senior adventure, what every person dreams of all throughout high school and most of college. And yet now that it is here I am terrified. I feel so unsure of myself, my future, my relationships. I strain my eyes and struggle to see the future and instead I feel like I am groping around in the dark reaching for the light switch that can't seem to be found.
I have always had it all together, or at least been able to successfully fake it. I am, sometimes to the severe frustration of my friends, the mom of my group. I know how to be the supporter and the cheerleader but I never learned how to be the one supported. I am the one with the big dreams and the roadmap to get there. I am the one who has it all... but tonight, I don't. In fact I so far from don't I cried because I dropped my fork. But, in this messy, stressed out, place of uncertainty I finally realized that is completely ok to not know the answer but it is not ok to live in fear. And it is the most freeing realization I have EVER (and I mean ever) had (Thanks mommy).
I was flipping through instagram and stumbled across one of my favorite pages, the radientlifeblog.com (If you don't follow them you should), and tonight instead of a fashionable print the picture simply said "no fear in love" and my jaw dropped and my heart instantly soothed from the chaos that has been whirling around in my brain for the past few days. It was almost as if God was saying "do I need to create an instagram to get your attention?" Here is the verse they got that from 1 John 4:18 "Perfect love casts out all fear" OH MY GOSH!!!!! DID YOU GET THAT?! I know it is easy to miss because its short but "perfect love casts out all fear." There is nothing, literally nothing on this earth to be afraid of if you have love. That sounds so cheesy, and it sounds like I should owe Disney thousands of dollars for copyright infringement considering that is the climax in all their movies, but it is so true and so simple that I completely forget it ALL THE TIME. And, when I forget, I end up in this weird uncertain, whiny, "do you love me" phase and it is annoying and ugly and hard to function. It breaks my spirit and yet the answer to healing is right in front of me all the time.
But, when I am not living in love I am also not living in hatred, no hatred (in and of itself) can be very powerful and push your life in new directions (usually very negative directions-not something I recommend). No, I live in an even more dangerous place-I live in fear. And fear not only makes me feel weak and incapable and incompetent it cripples me in every single aspect of life; my school work, my friendships, my relationship. Fear leaves me treading water, not going anywhere and not doing anything. Fear is just as dangerous as hate. Kelsey and Kendall on the Radient life blog go on to state "fear holds you back from accomplishing dreams and it also holds you back from raw, open relationships with the people you love most." FEAR IS KEEPING YOU FROM LIVING THE LIFE YOU DREAMED-and the answer to fear is not one second of intense courage, or weekly planners filled with inspirational quotes. No, the antibiotic to fear is LOVE. Crazy, intense, passionate, selfless, I am willing to get hurt LOVE. Somewhere in my "I got this" life I have become so afraid to love. So afraid of not being enough: pretty enough, smart enough, witty enough, successful enough...just enough. So, instead of pushing through that fear with love I just shut down. I quit loving me and in the process began to shortchange every one else in my life.
Sitting on a beach in San Diego last week my friend Maggie said "I just love love" and I thought it was one of the most bizarre things I have ever heard. But Maggie was so right-SO RIGHT-and I was too stubborn to see it. The imperfect people in and around my life love me so perfectly and yet I overlook it everyday looking for that deep philosophical answer to combat my fear, to combat the source of an empty life. So for tonight sitting in this little room looking to the years ahead and reflecting on the years behind I will look without fear because I will look through a gaze of love...Here are a few (and I mean very few- there are thousands of others) things/examples of love that immediately come to mind:
1. My mom has this collection of shells and rocks that my dad has collected from everywhere he goes-when I asked why they all look broken he showed me how they all make hearts if they are turned the right way. MY DAD GETS MY MOM HEART SHAPED STONES AND SHELLS OH MY GOSH! That is so gross....and cute...and gross.
2. My beautiful friend Maggie being an absolute cheerleader, rockstar, and just rock when I was freaking out about swimming in the ocean. Not only was I a whiny baby about it I am pretty sure I pouted like a 3 year old, but she NEVER and I mean NEVER stopped cheering me on. You would have thought I had found the cure for cancer how much she was cheering for me.
3. Staying up really late even though you know you have to get up early for work simply because someone needs you that night-suddenly 8 hours of sleep seems overrated (even though you really wanted it).
4. The way my college pastor and his wife will stay awake until super late on a saturday night to watch the presidential debate with me so I don't have to watch alone (not only did they watch it with me they let me talk through the whole thing which can be really annoying).
5. The way my grandma starts every phone message with "hey Megan, this is Mammaw..." Not only is it adorable but she took the time to call AND to leave a message-2 things that almost never happen anymore.
It is so easy to turn on the news and think "there is no love left in the world-why should I care" but there are rays of light and love every where you turn. We will never change the course of our lives, our friendships, our nation, our world with hatred. But more dangerous than hatred (and a root of the hatred itself) is the crippling fear that we live in each and every day. You will never get anything done living in fear-so instead live in love and let your light shine....light will always, always, always overcome darkness.
Today I choose joy, I choose contentment, and most importantly I choose love because it is literally EVERYWHERE and it is EVERYTHING. I choose to grab the chains of fear and throw them down because they only have power where you let them. I choose to live my messy, complicated, passionate life to the fullest and not waste one more day worrying my love isn't enough. I choose to live a real and raw life.
"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened." Buddha
So, are you willing to love again?