I’ve always struggled with risks. I think everyone does, though maybe not as much as others. If I know that there is something to be lost, I don’t want to. Don’t we all? Whether we acknowledge it consciously or not, we realize that we contain infinite value as beings created by God in his image and redeemed by Jesus.
We also experience fear when we’re confronted with the possibility of loss, and it looks different for everyone. Some people are afraid to take risks on career ventures. Others hate the idea of moving away and facing the unknown in that respect. My issue is with relationships, specifically the dating kind.
I’m not the only one who has been hurt. I’m not the only one who has been scared. I’m not the only one who gets tripped up on words or will altogether avoid words when nothing seems sufficient enough to make enduring the fear worthwhile.
Unfortunately, inaction, in my case, has led to much, much more pain than action. You know, at least if you get shot down, you know you can change direction. And there can be a lot of reasons for being shot down other than it being, you know, your fault, something you did, something you are, heck, how you look.
But wait! How can you experience pain if you don’t take a risk?
I’ll tell you.
You see, it’s equally as big a risk, if not bigger, to assume that something bad could come from your action, as it is to assume that something good could come from your inaction. I don’t mean that you should just blindly “follow your heart,” but holding back what’s inside of you because you’re afraid you might get hurt is like holding onto fire. You don’t actually get used to it the more you hold it; you simply burn what’s left of you the longer you hold it.
You’re not protecting your heart by not telling people how you feel. You’re actually poisoning it. You can always get back up from rejection, but you can’t move past a choice you never made. I’ve avoided making a lot of those choices, and it never made it any easier to live with the regret of what I might have missed. I can think of a few instances in the not-so-distant past when I could have simply told someone how much I cared for them or let them see more of my real self, let go, and just had fun with amazing people; but I didn’t.
I treated my insecurities as though they were for my benefit, like they could save me from being broken.
In reality, all I did was break myself before I let anyone else get to me.
What really eats at me is that every time, at least for the past several years, I’ve told myself I would stop avoiding what’s inside of me, quit copping out of making the choices that I had to make. “This time” I’ll say how I feel. After all, that’s all I can do, right? After all, I have no control over what she does with that knowledge, right? And I haven’t actually lost anything more than an idea, because until the feelings go both ways, I’m not actually “in love” with a person, right? And it’s their problem if they can’t get over the fact I might have feelings for them, even if I can get over them myself, right? So, knowing all of that should make opening up easier, right?
I haven’t. Not once.
Even as I speak these things, I realize I’m just finding more reasons to blame myself, as a dear mentor and friend recently put forth to me. And she was right. I’m not doing this for my own good, at least not anymore. Just the habit of repressing the person that God made you to be, even if you don’t acknowledge that you’re actually doing that, leads to the belief that God doesn’t want good things for you, that you are beyond His love, His grace, a second chance, and that you might not even have any value at all.
Guess what. It’s a lie. Your very existence, not to mention the whole truth and message of the gospel, is proof of that.
We all torment ourselves over something, but if it isn’t making you a better person, it’s not worth it. Whatever you’re tormenting yourself over—and it doesn’t have to be fear of rejection—isn’t worth your time, your breath, or your life if it is a barricade preventing you from growing into the person God made you to be in Christ.
Easier said than done, right?
It’s a good thing we have a powerful God going before us. Just trust that. Trust Him. Take a risk. Even if it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, let Him carry you to the place He wants you to be, and trust that it will be somewhere beautiful.