There was once a time when living into space outside my comfort zone sent me into panic attacks, freaking out because I couldn’t cope.
That fear is still there, that I will one day step too far and fall, let others down, let myself fall apart.
That fear is justified, that very result happened again and again, driving me deep into myself and my safety margins.
It has been a hard job pushing out to my edges again, even harder to risk a step over them.
Just a look outside, beyond myself, my beliefs about what I am capable of, has my body tensing, constricting in on itself, as if daring to dream risks my very flesh as I sit safely on my couch.
But I don’t want to let this fear rule me anymore, I don’t want these old shells I built to protect myself digging and cutting into my new being. I hear God calling me out beyond them, inviting me into a life greater than I could even imagine to fear.
My fears are small, and I am tired of their binding.
These old scars feel so hard and immovable when I push against them, when I try to crack through and open space. Butting against these old shells of my self is exhausting and futile work. They don’t move. Not with all my efforts.
I try to remind myself not to focus on my obstacles, not to get so frustrated at who I used to be.
I can see, just beyond, lies fruitfulness, lies ease and lightness. And sometimes I even catch myself living in that space.
Yet for all my strategizing and theorizing, all my persuasive self-talk gets me nowhere. My efforts leave me stuck behind, walled in by old fears.
Tensing up for battle does no good, because this is not a fight. I cannot win against a ghost of myself. And even if I did, what would be left of me? How would beating myself into submission help me flourish? Wouldn’t it just leave me, once again, inside tight walls of my own making?
The response to the tensing must be one of softening, one of love, acceptance and loosening. Until I can accept that, yes, I did need these walls, that old-Me bound by panic and fear was trying her best to protect herself, I can’t release them, I cannot loosen my grip.
But in softness, when I move with love towards who I once was, I can ease around them, I can move beyond them, so I am free to live as I now know myself to be: capable, strong, supported. By being grounded in and sure of my worth, outside and beyond my actions, I can breathe into that larger self because I already know myself to be beyond these old shells.
It’s not so much a living-as-if these things are true, but living-into them. I know them to be true, so I can live them without question.
Living-as-if leaves us faking it until we reach an arbitrary point of ‘made it’, just endlessly waiting for our true status as an imposter to be unveiled. It leaves us living in fear, waiting for someone to notice we have stepped beyond ourselves, claimed too much, and be slapped back down.
Living-into is an act of trust, a claiming that who and what God says we are is true. It is an act of love, yes, back to God, but even more to ourselves. We invite ourselves into fullness, into wholeness, into living out our hopes of who we could be.
When we embrace God’s love for us, and hold that same love towards ourselves, we can live, no longer fighting against old barriers, but confidently knowing we are already beyond them. Living there teaches us we can trust our own worth, value, and lovability.
And those old shells? They are dissolving as they stand consumed by a fuller life, as they soak in the love God and I share for my past self. But they no longer restrict me, they no longer get in my way. Yes, they remind me to be careful and take care of myself, but they do not bind me or hold me back from the Me God is inviting me to be. I am free to live in my true worth.
It’s easy to read posts like this, agree, but then fail to make any changes in your own life. So, here’s some ideas for small action steps you can take to start living beyond old fear-boundaries, and into the life you were meant for:
- Practice making a better choice in your diet or exercise. Keep it small, easy to succeed, and even when you mis-step, keep practicing until it comes more easily.
- Setting aside just 5-10 minutes a day to do something towards a dream, or something that the “ideal-you” would do.
- Plan a get together with a friend to discuss the results of something you’ve been putting off (e.g. discuss a chapter or two of the bible). In order to be able to talk about what happened, you have to do it first.
What small thing will you do today? I’d love to hear in the comments below, or message me on Twitter.
Easy tweetables for you to share: