Monday, March 10, 2008

14 days without fear

I heard the most amazing speaker at my church last night. It's quite funny how that big guy upstairs lines stuff up just right so that I can learn some pretty mighty lessons. Besides working on pride and ego, He's been hitting me pretty hard with fear (namely the things in my life I do or don't do because I'm afraid) lately. Last night this lady shows up and starts talking about giving up fear for lent and what can happen when we lay down our fear and are truly obedient to the opportunities God lays out before us. I don't do this very often. Okay, lets be honest, I almost never do this. So this lady comes in and she's like "hey, put down the fear. Stop it. There are 14 days of lent left. It's time to make some space for God and see what life looks like without your fear."

I have taken up the 14 day challenge and am amazed by the utter expanse of space available when I stop with all the fear. Stop with all the worrying. Stop with all the anxiety about my future and my life and my plans. I slept hard last night. Real hard. I didn't wake up until my alarm clock ripped me from my sleep. I don't know the last time that happened. There's a calm in my head (which doesn't mean my mind isn't going a thousand miles a minute. I have no idea what will stop that) that I really like.

I've been reading her book that I got last night after church and it is amazing. It's more than that, it's witty, heartfelt, open, deep and basically all of the messed up thoughts that go through my mind on a daily basis. As I was reading today I was looking at my students and wishing they were striving to live without fear. In my moments of clarity and faith, few and far between as they may be, I feel a deep longing for my students to have the same feeling. I wish for them to look up from the clutter and frustration that many of them call life and know that there is more out there for them. I wish for them to know God (and some of them do) and to know themselves (very few of them do). That's why I'm here actually. I want them to stop being afraid and to live into their lives. I would have previously written live into their lives before it's too late, but I'm realizing that's part of my fear complex: that I'll wake up one day and life will have passed me by and it will be too late. I'm not going to buy into that anymore and I want to find a way to convince them not to buy into it either. I want to leave them with not just an understanding of verbs and a love of The Outsiders, but a deep belief in themselves and in the world around them. I want them to realize these moments and these everyday ordinary things that so many of them fill up with negative actions (towards themselves and others) are never coming back again and are wasted on fear, despair and loneliness. I want them to see the shining moments of good that I see in them everyday, be it as simple as Deivie chuckling at his book or Gustavo grinning ear to ear at his essay score. Those moments help drive out the fear in my world and I hope they can find their own moments in life to drive out their fears. It's never going to be too late, but now is certainly not a bad time for them to begin.

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