When I was nearing the end of my college career, I had no idea that some things that happened in a season would plant little seeds of fear that I feel burdened by years later. Fear is so annoying, but I’m going to be honest about it because I was reading Carl Lentz’s book and one thing he wrote struck me. “The moment we talk about what scares us, it begins to lose its power on our lives.” So, here I go.
I’m scared of people saying mean, untrue things about me online. This isn’t my only fear, but every time I speak or write, it’s one of those nagging thoughts. Why? Because it’s happened before. I had/have, if they still exist, Twitter and Instagram accounts specifically made to say mean things about me and when you’re a 21 year old trying to figure out who you are as a person and what your life looks like, those things can stick.
When I start to write my next book those voices (lies) resound, “You are two-faced. You are fake.” Literally never in my life was I called these things until an angsty 14 year old who I’d never met decided to put me on blast. When I start to type a blog or plan for a speech I am overcome with imposture syndrome and I put a name tag on my shirt that says, “Hello, my name is Unqualified.”
One post that I will never forget (although I keep trying) said something like I changed my name from Ainsley Lollar to Ainsley Britain because I was ashamed of my past and that I did pageants so I was trying to become a new person. I remember reading that and thinking, “I don’t even have a past to be ashamed of?!? I don’t care who knows I did a few pageants?! I had a blast doing them, won a free trip to Vegas and got to wear pretty dresses!” For some reason, that post and the rest of it’s multi-paragraph content of hatred really cut me. This was written probably around 2013 and I’m still talking about it in 2018 so that’s how much it effected me. Let me first say, I changed my name because I wanted to and there are many things I’ve done in life just because I wanted to and I’m proud of that. I’m proud that I sometimes throw caution to the wind and just say “yes” to things, not knowing their outcome. Maybe had I known people would read into me changing my name, I wouldn’t have done it!
Ya know, I always hear about God qualifying the chosen, not choosing the qualified and every time I read that, I feel courageous enough to take one step forward. Instead of, “What if they hate me because I’m not perfect?” it becomes, “Thank goodness they already know I’m not perfect so I can skip that part and go straight to the salvation of Jesus.”
Every time I step into something new or unfamiliar, I try to say, “Yes” as often as possible, despite fear. While I admit I still struggle with so many fears and I have certainly let fear win more than once, this is my personal way of fighting back. Throwing caution to the wind with changing my name, getting a tattoo and a nose piercing that made my mom cry (I took it out) is serving me in my rebellion against fear. Fear says I can’t? Okay, watch this.
Even if I fail, God still reigns and He still uses people and gets glory.
2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.”
Saying yes is one swift kick in the devil’s pants because it’s HIM who is trying to creep in and plant those little seeds. It’s God who uproots them and replants you in a safe garden, watering and caring for you making sure you get enough sunlight to grow and flourish.
Say “Yes” to new adventures or just to a coffee date with a stranger.
One time I was on my way to a coffee with a girl that went to Belmont, but I hadn’t known until we were both in NYC. I didn’t feel like fostering a new friendship and wasn’t excited to go, but I said yes and quickly realized that I was sitting across the table from an actual angel who has the biggest heart I’ve ever seen and she is now one of my favorite people on this planet. Her name is Graceann (@gbelgiorno) and she is one of my favorite “Yes” moments.
In conclusion, say yes more, kick the devil in the pants and don’t be a jerk just because you can hide behind your computer screen.
P.S. - hitting “post” and not proof reading in case I get scared and try to talk myself out of it here I go BOOM bye