You know those questions you always have back-up answers for? For instance, “What is your greatest fear?”
“Ha. Well… the dark, spiders, cottage cheese?”
What we really want to say is more on the lines of: I fear death, the thought that no one really loves me, my life has no purpose, and the list goes on…
About two years ago, an article came out in the newspaper announcing that myself and three other 19 year-old girls were preparing to embark on a 2-month mission trip across America. We had it all mapped out, but our main goal was to love outrageously and give freely. There wasn’t much more to that plan, because God had laid it on my heart to just go where He led us, loving the people in front of us with our actions, instead of loud words.
The day this article came out, I was ecstatic! People who saw me even driving were laughing because I was waving at everyone singing, “GOD IS GOOD!!” It wasn’t until I got on Facebook later that day when I saw people commenting on the article calling us “idiots,” “stupid girls,” and “why don’t they just sign up for that thing called YWAM?” My heart sank a little when I read these comments, but my faith was strong enough at the time to press on and not let that waiver me.
It’s funny (in a not so funny way) how those words can come back to haunt you in your down moments, where you begin to believe those words.
I grew up with some people very close to me who accused me of being self-righteous and prideful because I brought Jesus up too much – “there was no way I was that nice” – and I was too confident in my faith. Those words cut deep because people didn’t know about my mostly-secret battle with depression and suicide where I actually believed I deserved to die and that the world would be better without me. If I raised my hands in church, I would sometimes hear, “There she goes again.” Talk about phrases that sting a little too close to the heart.
It is by the grace of God that these seemingly validations of my fears didn’t turn me from the church. God spoke truth over me every time I felt the sting of my critics, and gave me unexplainable hope to press on. This doesn’t mean I didn’t have my moments of complete despair. I promise, I did.
Over the past couple years, while there have been moments of finding my voice, I would say, overall, I became scared of it. There has been a lack of confidence in the value of my voice which has taken root in my heart, and I will never truly know how many opportunities I missed as a result of it all. When I have tried to speak about my heart and passions, it seems to be coated with fear causing me to fumble over my words, making me feel more embarrassed than my attempts at playing football. These conversations where I walk up to the line and stare at it while speaking, send me in replay mode once I walk away. Anxiety takes over. It consumes me. I will get dreams about it, and hide these fears in a little box where no one will discover my brokenness.
Oh, and did I mention I also fear rejection?
Rejection and feeling misunderstood often come hand-in-hand for most of us with these fears. We try to people-please, begging (often times subconsciously) for people to validate and affirm us. We want people to believe us when we say we truly want to make the world a better place, and it isn’t about us being the hero. There is the harsh reality to face: when we take strides towards our callings, we are often forced to face rejection and being misunderstood. This is where God comes in and wraps us in His grace, and asks us to believe Him when He tells us that our dreams are His dreams for us, and to not give up. The hardest part for me is receiving this kind of love, because the fear and rejection begs me to believe that I am not worth getting back up and trying again.
Guess what? Not only are you worth it, but so are the people you are trying to help and love.
A few days ago, I attended an event that began to uproot this lack of confidence that had grown deeper than I would like to admit. They told us to write down the word on our hand that we felt God speaking to us. I wrote, “SPEAK.” This word seemed to hold so much weight as I stared at the messy Sharpie on my hand. God was asking me to speak up again, and ask for help for the trip I am about to embark on once again. He was asking me to speak, not for myself, but for my team and for the families we will be meeting this summer.
You see, this July, myself and four other women are setting out to meet families with children in the hospital who are waiting for organ donations in hopes of sharing their story and providing them with a community who will join them on their journey. We are hoping to record videos and take photos, documenting their story and inviting people online to “adopt” one of the families we meet so that they may provide financial, spiritual, and encouraging support whether it be from the other side of the world. We want to say, “WE SEE YOU. WE LOVE YOU. WE WANT TO DO LIFE WITH YOU.”
If you know Ember’s story, you know just how much this trip means to our team, and to her family. We want to leave Ember’s legacy, as she is the inspiration for this trip and the new program that will be emerging called, “Ember’s Spark.”
I have been scared to ask for help, especially people with resources that can get us funding and other great connections for this trip. So here I am, asking you if you can help in any way. We need to raise $9,000 by July 1st, and we need people who are willing to follow our journey and help us spread these stories as they come in along the way.
Please, please help us, because we cannot do this alone. We need a tribe, a community who will support us, speak truth over us, and will say, “Hey, that is worth my time.”
Fear of rejection and being misunderstood can’t hold me or you back anymore. Our life and the lives around us need people who are willing to speak up. Speaking up can be done with shaky hands, a trembling heart, and a quivering voice. We don’t need to feel like heroes to make a difference, we just need to be willing to take it all one minute at a time and keep saying, “Yes.”
If you would like to join us on this journey, go to withoutbordersministries.org.
Connect with us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Without-Borders-Ministries-773442312680072/
Your voice has value, and it could be the voice that inspires other voices to emerge. Let’s love together, outrageously of course.