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Fear: it’s paralyzing. It can be all-consuming. It can chain us to our current circumstances. It can also initiate a fight response.
We back into a corner with our teeth bared. We go in kicking and screaming, ready to claw anyone in our path. Adrenaline floods into your blood and often times you blindly swipe in order to get out of the place you are in.
Both responses are animalistic. We all know about the flight or fight response. But what if we chose to say no to fear?
The voice of fear is strong. It has an overwhelming presence that leaves us with our heart beating fast, our palms slick with sweat, and our mind not even trusting its own thoughts. It is a force that can whisper in the wind or shout in a storm.
It makes us feel as though we cannot stand up to its might, and yet a simple two letter word can cause fear’s voice to instantly mute. If only I knew that long ago.
Fear left me defeated for years.
It would whisper I couldn’t get up in front of those people to say a speech I had earnestly and passionately been preparing for. It would shout I couldn’t play that sport because what if I was bad at it? What would people think? It told me I couldn’t recover because I didn’t know what my life would look like after I recovered.
For years, my inner voice was muted and fear was the voice that took over, parasitic in nature, leaching the voice of reason until it was no longer there. I let it dictate what I did or didn’t do, who I talked to, what activities I participated in, and where I did or didn’t go.
I never knew the true freedom of saying no until I was tired of letting the voice of fear control me.
I still remember exactly when it happened. I always wanted to play sports, but I was terrible at soccer and baseball, and in my hometown, those were the only two sports you played. I would watch teams play and wish I could have that same sense of camaraderie, but continued to be too afraid to join a team in case I was made fun of or goofed up.
My sister started playing rugby and I remember falling in love with the sport. There was talk at my school about a senior boys’ team starting up, and I wanted desperately to play. However, the voice of fear held me back, whispering I wasn’t athletic enough, or tall enough, or muscular enough.
Like I did every other time, I agreed with it and let it keep me back.
But then I got thinking. What if I was awful? What would it really matter? Sure, maybe I wasn’t athletic enough right away, but that is something that can be honed and improved.
So I made the decision: I said no to the voice of fear.
That was the first time I said no to fear, and the two years I played rugby were some of the most fun I had in school. And once I said no the first time, each time after became easier. Now I’ve been given opportunities I never thought I could take, and sure, some of them fail, but that’s okay. We were never made to live in perfection and the times I fail are often the times where I learn about myself and others in a way that is intimate and causes growth.
The voice of fear that used to be all-consuming and dictatorial in my life has been muted by one simple word: no. Yes, it still rears its head every once in a while, but I know that it will never consume me again. I won’t let it.
Say no. Embrace your imperfections, they make you who you are.
I’m going to be straight with you: you’re going to fail. But instead of letting it defeat you and allowing the voice of fear to creep back into your life, take it as a chance to learn and grow. That is the best way to mute the voice of fear in your life and accept the freedom you deserve.
When you let the voice of fear speak into your life, your destiny becomes that of giving up, being defeated, losing out on opportunities. Now, my destiny is that of growth, learning, wholeness and refinement. You can have that too; all you need is the courage to utter a one syllable-word: no.
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Mark is currently in high school and hopes to study International Law in the future. He struggled with depression for four years until finally winning the battle. Upon first hearing about Libero, he made the decision to bring his story about depression and how he has dealt with it in hopes to spread awareness and bring support to those going through depression. With still being in high school, he will offer a teenagerʼs perspective on depression and relationships through sharing the many challenges and victories he has faced with both. Mark hopes that through his writing he can help others understand that brokenness can lead to wholeness.
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