Fear and why you shouldn't be afraid of it

If you were to ask ninth grade me about tenth grade, I would’ve laughed and halfheartedly said something about theatre, choir, and passing all of my masochistically difficult classes. I maintained this mindset that the future would just play into my lap and dance around there because why not? School can’t be that hard. That couldn’t have been farther from the truth. 

Around the second week of tenth grade, my theatre class started buzzing about next year and how they weren’t sure about who would be moving up to varsity. As well as varsity theatre, the alluring pull of varsity choir as a junior sounded very appealing to me. Around that same time, the workload from AP World History started to hit me, and when I say hit me, I mean like a speeding train. I wasn’t prepared for an AP class, much less WHAP, which is considered one of the hardest AP courses, only having a 51% pass rate on the AP test. Not only did I have theatre, choir, and WHAP to worry about, I had my other classes worry about. Pre-AP Chemistry and PAP English 2.  By the grace of God, I scraped a C+ out of WHAP, a B+ in Chem, an A in English, and I managed to suppress the fears for next year. Then musical hit. 

I consider Oklahoma! to be the main reason I completely fell apart. People had always talked to me what anxiety felt like, the suffocating, terrible fear that nothing in your life will go right. I had always tried my best to understand and comfort my friends through the ordeal that they were going through, but none of that actually prepares you for when it happens to yourself. I think it first surfaced during a conversation with my mother about my grades and how she thought I could do better in WHAP. In that one moment, I realized that my future depended on that grade, my life depended on whether I made varsity or not, my family would rely on whether or not I got a good grade on that essay I had slacked off on. Fear overwhelmed me like a tidal wave crashing into a window pane as everything became simultaneously incredibly important and completely needless. 

Now kiddos, there is a bright side to this story, I promise. And it comes in the form of a lot of prayer and acceptance. One particularly bad night, I decided to open a Bible and try and let God speak to me, and three verses in particular stuck.

“He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” 1 Peter 1:3-4

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18. 

It took me ages to realize what God was trying to convey to me. Not only is God with us in every single day and every single moment, but He has also promised riches in Heaven that we could never imagine. God never promised us a perfect or even stable life on Earth, but what He asks for is a faith in Him that will put our souls to rest and our minds to peace. While the rest of the world may be falling away, God will be by your side, keeping you safe from things none of us could understand.

As 1 Corinthians 10:13 says,No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” God may test you and push you and send you hardship after hardship, but in the end, it will never be more than you can handle. Society and life and the world will force ideas of conformity and selfishness into your path, saying that you’ll never accomplish anything without becoming exactly like what they want. Don’t fold under the stress of life, be thankful that God has given you something else to handle because He knew that you could. We are the new generation, the ones who influence both the generation before us and the generations after us. Let our legacy be one of love and Godliness. Be an anomaly, be the defect, be the light in the world of dark.

I love you

Your family loves you

Your friends love you

God loves you

- Matthew

"He says, "Be still and know that I am God; I will exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.""

Psalms 46:10