Cankles (And My Other Greatest Fears)
I was sitting in church the other night, after the service, and I started doing one of those zone-out-and-think-of-all-your-worst-fears things. Does that ever happen to you? One second, you’re perfectly fine and happy, and then in an instant everything falls apart. I swear, every terrible thing I could think of crossed my mind in that moment. I went from happily thinking about Second Peter to freaking out over stupid, highly unlikely scenarios. Like what if I choke up on a live interview and start spouting out nonsense, making homeschoolers everywhere look like uneducated fools? What if my next book is a total flop and everyone stops following my blog and I get letters from colleges I’ve never even heard of just telling me how much they don’t want me to do go there? What if I drown in a swimming pool or bleed to death from a freak accident at the dentist before I get a chance to grow up and get married? What if—and this is definitely the worst—I get cankles?
Looking back, I can only imagine how much everyone around me would have been chuckling if they’d known the fears playing over and over in my mind. It is kind of silly, if you think about it, to be sitting in church, fretting about cankles and the dentist. In fact, it’s downright silly no matter where I am. When you’re sixteen years old and you have your whole life before you, the last thing you should be thinking about is drowning in swimming pools and getting hate letters in the mail.
Obviously, any time you have a peek into the mind of a sixteen-year-old-girl, you’re going to find a lot of silliness, no matter how well-spoken and educated she may think she is. But, all joking aside, there are a lot of serious things that scare me. Terrify me, even. My dad likes to remind me that I am a role model other teens, and that is something that scares the heck out of me. Because, most of the time, I don’t want to be a role model. I want to be a teenager, and I want to go wherever I want and say whatever I want without having to worry about people think. There’s definitely a part of me that wants to hide and shirk away from any responsibility that has been given to me.
I’m also terrified and nervous and giddy about anything that has to do with my writing. The idea of people reading my book sets my stomach into knots. Because, obviously, I want people to like it. I want people to like me. And the idea that I might not be someone’s cup of tea is a very real fear of mine. The fear of being rejected, and of not being liked. It’s something that I am very aware of, because I am in the public eye, and it’s something I struggle with daily.
In case, after reading all this, you are wondering why I am an author or blogger at all, I’ll tell you why. It’s because I have a deep-seeded confidence that God will give me the strength to face my fears. I know that the Bible says, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear or be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave your nor forsake you.” (Deut 31:6) I can listen to the criticisms of others and not be shaken or fearful because I know that God is with me. I’m happy with where God has placed me, and I’m happy with what He has helped me to do. I have no shame in what I’ve written or done, and I feel confident enough to be the role model that my dad says I am because I know that God is leading me. And I don’t have to be afraid to stumble or fall, because I know that He will lift me back up again.
When I think of all my greatest fears, it does cause my stomach to get all twisty. I hate the dentist—all those sharp things near my mouth really freak me out. Cankles terrify me, never marrying seems tragic, and receiving hate letters would probably make me cry. But there are greater things in life that are worth facing those fears for. The opportunity to write, to connect with other teens, to be an example and an encouragement. Those are all things that inspire me, and make me want to work even harder for. One person criticizing me is not going to bring me down. Jumbling up my words and making a fool of myself on a live interview is not worth losing sleep over.
But the chance to live for God, to do what I love, and to support and encourage others all make fighting my fears totally worth it. I may have days and moments that cause me to feel discouraged and weak, but when I remember everything that God has done in my life, and look forward to everything I see Him doing in my future, it gives me the strength to move forward in spite of it all. And you can bet that something like cankles will never slow me down. 😉
[Photo via jaybird]