Long ago-before Twitter, Facebook, and myspace- there existed a place called Xanga. There I experienced my first internet bullying, joined like-minded Hello Kitty fan groups, elementary education groups, vented my feelings, and gushed about my best-friend-boyfriend.
Through the elementary education group I was part of, I met fellow Xangan, Megan. For years we were only internet friends but we stayed connected through social media. Lucky Ducky us- we got to meet one another last May. AWESOME!
I typically write about fashion, thrifting, and outfits but I asked Megan to write from her heart about fear. We all struggle with it. I pray her writing blesses your heart ....
(and for all you BlissDom gals, she too, likes Jon Acuff.)
When Jana Faith first told me I could write a guest post on her blog, I was pretty pumped. The fact that she and I are even friends is such a cool story in itself. It involves the truth in the song “It’s a Small World,” the long-forgotten world of Xanga, and a super yummy breakfast at IHOP. After her amazing adventures at BlissDom, where she realized that blogging opens up so many realms of possibilities, I told her my desire: to be Jon Acuff. I want to make a living blogging, writing books, and speaking. God knows I’ve journaled enough in my day to publish several books…not that any of them are worth the read! So, for 2013, I decided to get serious. I began a new blog, and now I’m intentional about it. I call it “Centered,” because I want it to reflect the way I want to live, centered on my Savior, Jesus Christ.
There’s a fear behind each post, though, a fear that has worked its way into every thread of my life.
It’s a fear of rejection.
It’s a fear of rejection.
I am afraid that no one will read my blog. I fear that too many people will read it and know too much about me. I fear that I’ll say something theologically, or, God forbid, grammatically incorrect. (I’m an English teacher.) And most of all, I’m afraid that I’m not actually “good enough” to do this, either for a hobby or for a living.
This fear of rejection or not measuring up has been with me a very long time. However, about a year and a half ago, God started a process of healing this in my life.
I was at a revival service at the church I now attend, and things were a little crazy. Worship was nuts. To describe how people worship in this church would be impossible, but I'm going to give it my best shot. Hands were in the air, people were dancing and twirling, tongues were spoken, shouted, and sung, people sang their own songs and sounds, tears were falling, laughs were building, hugs and circles and prayer groups were forming...and that's just a taste. It was one of my first experiences with the charismatic service.
In the middle of it, the pastor walked up to stage and said, "What's going on?" And he literally meant it. He wanted people who were laughing or crying to come up to the stage and speak out what was happening. A man walked up and started talking about how he generally doesn't speak, but he felt like God was breaking the fear of rejection off him at that moment, so the pastor had him pray out a loosening of that fear over the sanctuary. Then another girl spoke about how the Lord was leading her through difficult times. And another man went up, sobbing, and said more things about fear of rejection. That's when the pastor got back up and said, "We're back on this fear of rejection. There's more work to be done here." So he had everyone in the room who was struggling with that fear to raise their arms. I raised mine, and the women surrounding me laid hands on me. They were praying over me, in English and in tongues, but I didn't feel much of anything, so I went and sat down with two of my friends.
One of my friends said that she had this picture of me in a jail cell, with bars all around. I was looking out and seeing everything, but I wasn't experiencing it with others. Sometimes the door would swing open, but I was content to grasp the bars and watch. Wow. So they began praying over me, hardcore. My other friend prayed against the spirit of numbness and declared that God was moving and I was feeling. She asked that the Lord would set my heart literally burning for Him, that I would feel Him in my heartbeat. When she said that, I felt my heart beat faster and harder, and it started to ache a little. Then she had me pray along with her that I was choosing to walk out of the jail cell and into freedom and trust in the Lord. When they finished praying, they looked at me expectantly, and I said, "Well, my chest started hurting a little." And they told me that that was feeling something! While I knew they were right, I was also a bit disappointed that it hadn't been something more.
At that moment, it felt like my fear of rejection was being compounded, like even God was rejecting me by not showing up like He was showing up in everyone else’s.
Then, a woman I didn’t know very well came over and told me that God said she was supposed to pray for me, because my time to experience Him was now. I freaked out just a bit but I was excited so she stood me near the altar and put her hands on my head. She was screaming that something that I wouldn't believe was about to happen, and my mind was still doubting that it could, though my heart wanted it to. And then, I fell. I can only describe it as my knees gave out. I fell backwards and a couple people caught me and laid me down, but I didn't know that. My eyes were closed. Actually, the lights were so bright, that I had one hand over my eyes. At first I thought that "mind over matter" had caused me to fall, but I know without a doubt that my knees gave out and I was slain in the Spirit. I started laughing like crazy because of the cheers and whistles, and the woman was laughing and praying over my face that God was shaking me up and bringing me to a new maturity. She said my whole life I've been saying, "Me too! Me too!" and God was saying that now was my time.
As I was lying on the ground, it was the most restful, peaceful experience I have ever had. The ground beneath me no longer felt like a thinly carpeted concrete floor. It felt like two giant hands of God, cradling me, holding me, caring for me. I felt loved. I felt cherished. And I no longer felt bound by the fear that had been holding me all night.
It’s been about eighteen months. And I still struggle with that fear, sometimes. But now I can remind myself that God did not give me a “spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7), and that “perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:8). Those are powerful truths when I get caught up in that spiral of worry and fear. Plus, God, in His faithfulness, has always met me in those moments with either gentle whispers of love or intense displays of power, like he did on that night last year.
Please take the time to visit her blog, Centered, and get to know Megan's heart more.