For many years, I have written in journals, recording life events and spiritual insights. But writing and then sharing what I have written are two different things. I did a lot of the former and virtually none of the latter. Sharing my journey, going public with my writing, required trust, and trust required moving beyond my fears.
I have noticed that what I fear has changed through the years.
For instance, I remember the first time I went to a movie alone; I was twenty years old. It sounds silly now, but I remember being afraid—mostly of what people would think. But, when I did it, I found I rather liked it. I could sit where I wanted and eat my own popcorn. It was an early lesson in doing something even though I was anxious, and learning that not only could I survive, but that it could actually be good.
Foreign travel on my own was also something that once seemed too frightening to consider. Even when I traveled alone for my job at Cabrini Mission Corps, I was usually met upon arrival by someone I knew.
One time, though, when I flew to the Philippines, no one I knew could meet me. So, the plan was for a driver to meet me at the airport, take me to the retreat center where I would spend a night, and then return me to the airport in the morning for the next leg of my journey. While this arrangement sounded reasonable, I could see several places where it might fall apart. But the plan worked; and as my fear dissipated, my confidence increased. Each “success” has given me another block toward building trust.
Writing this blog is like a trust-walk for me, one of those team-building exercises where I fall back and trust that the person behind me will catch me. It is scary, but I am doing it anyway.
I once participated in a post-traumatic stress study where I learned a number of strategies for dealing with my fears. One exercise was that when I was afraid, I was to stop and ask myself, “What is the worst that can happen?” That simple question has helped me to keep moving through fear to trust.
“Will you trust me?” God asks. I am working on it.