“to the timid and hesitating, everything is impossible because it seems so.”—Sir Walter Scott
As I was studying for my British Literature take home test over the weekend, I found this quote in my notes. I immediately proceeded to send it to my friend, and we both marveled at how it punched us in the gut.
Specifically me, though. This quote almost knocked me over—metaphorically speaking. I don’t think a quote could physically assault me and knock me over. But metaphorically speaking it does have that capability. Anyways, this quote metaphorically knocked the wind out of me.
Why, though? Why did this quote in particular knock the metaphorical wind out of my lungs? Well, let me explain. If you don’t know me, you don’t know that I’m that person who’s terrified of everything. I’m borderline afraid of my own shadow. Okay, that’s going a bit far, but you get my point—I’m terrified of a lot of things. Mainly I’m afraid of big life decisions, new people, social interaction, and the like. I really just don’t seem to like people very much, or change, or the idea of screwing up my future just by one decision I make in my present. That idea really haunts me: the idea that I could possibly screw up my future with some decision I make here in the present. Now, admittedly that fear is a bit counterproductive, considering the fact that my fear is causing more problems in my future than any dumb decision ever will, but hey, I’m just being honest. (honestly, honesty mean’s that much to me).
See, I understand that my fear is causing problems, destructive problems, yet I can’t seem to get out of its death-grip. To use an analogy that I believe I’ve already used, my fear is holding me hostage, and I’m having a hard time getting it to let go.
So when I saw this quote, it punched me in the gut. What if all the things I’ve been dreaming of for so long aren’t happening simply because I’m afraid? What if me not putting myself out there and opening myself up to failure, rejection, and the like are the cause of my failures? Perhaps my fear is doing even more damage than I thought. Perhaps, instead of just keeping me from living, my fear is destroying what life I have and keeping me from the things I could be experiencing. I’m so afraid of everything that I’m not doing anything. Everything seems impossible. And because everything seems impossible, everything is impossible. So basically I’m digging myself into a hole.
I know none of this is new to anyone whose read previous blog posts of mine, but it’s something that continues to slap me in the face—the idea that I am being held back by my fear. Yet, for some reason, even though I realize that I’m being held back, I still allow myself to be held back. I realize I have a problem, but I don’t know how to fix it. I mean, I understand that faith in God is ultimately the cure for many worries, but what if that’s part of the problem? Not that I don’t believe in God, because I do. My point is that, what if part of my problem is that I struggle to trust in God? I mean, I suppose that’s kind of the assumed problem, as that’s what I’ve been told I need to do more: trust God. However, that’s one of those thing’s that’s easier said than done. But I do take great comfort at times from the verses in the Bible such as Luke 12:24-26, 31-32, which say,
Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?…Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Verses such as that carry immense comfort in them. It is so comforting to know that God provides for us everything we need. Not only that, it’s comforting to know that God gives us more than we need, and far more than we deserve.
But you know what I find even more comforting? There’s a quote from The Magicians Nephew that I’ve been seeing around a lot recently, and every time I read it, I cry. No, seriously, every time. It’s not even funny anymore, I can’t help myself. Anyways, here’s the passage that I’ve been seeing a lot of recently:
But when he had said “Yes”, he thought of his Mother, and he thought of the great hopes he had had, and how they were all dying away, and a lump came in his throat and tears in his eyes, and he blurted out:
“But please, please—won’t you—can’t you give me something that will cure Mother?” Up until then he had been looking at the Lion’s great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.
“my son, my son.” Said Aslan. “I know. Grief is great. Only you and I in this land know that yet. Let us be good to one another.”
This passage is so beautiful. Here we have Digory, who is terrified to lose his mother, coming face to face with someone who he thinks can help him, and he sees all his hopes for help dying away. He can’t help but ask Aslan for help, and what does Aslan do, but weep with him and say “I know.”
The most comforting thing to me is that we have a God who doesn’t look at us and mock us, or hate us, or shame us for our fear and worry and anguish and depression, but a Lord who looks us in the eyes, with tears in His own, and says, “My son, I know.” Honestly, I think that’s the most reassuring thing I’ve remembered all week. Maybe I just need to go re-read the entire Chronicles of Narnia series. But I digress. It’s just so reassuring that Jesus sees me struggling, and says “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). I guess I can rest in Him, no matter what my fears and anxieties are.