“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” -Galatians 1:10 (ESV)
There’s an old wooden ladder, leaned up against a tall tree. Climbing this ladder proves to be challenging– shaky, unsteady. As you look around at the other trees, you see that some others are taller, some others are wider, some have brighter fruit or bigger leaves. So you keep climbing to get as high as you can. The wind is blowing, and your ladder and the branches around you seem like they could give way at any moment. And if you’re looking around and thinking about where you are compared to everyone else, there will always be another anxious climb, even if not this tree or this ladder.
But, what if there’s another way? Instead of climbing the ladder, can you just sit under the tree? Can you rest for a little while? With the solid ground beneath you, you run your fingers over the steady roots. You lean back, cradled in the shade of the leaves and branches above you. A bird is perched on a branch above and sings you a sweet song. You are grounded. Rooted. You are sheltered.
Have ever struggled with any of these statements?
- I’m too emotional.
- I’m not outgoing enough.
- I’m too loud; my personality is too big.
- I’m not organized or productive enough for that job/company.
- I’m too quiet to make an impact.
- I’m not important enough for others to listen to.
- I’m too broken for this church.
- I’m not spiritual enough for that friend group.
- I’m too quiet, shy, boring.
- I’m not pretty enough.
- I’m too inexperienced to succeed at this dream.
But here’s the bigger question–who says so? Somewhere along the way, did you hear that some aspect of who you are doesn’t meet the standard of other people’s expectations? Did you absorb the message that you need to tone down your light or your level of excitement to make others comfortable? Sure, for one friend group or person, you may be “too much,” but for another relationship, those very same characteristics might seem like “not enough.” For one job or company, you may be “not creative enough,” but for another role, you might be “too outside of the box.” It’s funny… all of these too much/not enough statements are actually very subjective if you think about it.
If we are living our lives in fear that our personalities, skill sets, and what we have to offer won’t meet the sliding scale of comfort or expectations for the culture around us, we end up living in a way that is inauthentic to who God created us to be.
As a recovering people-pleaser, I have had to remind myself often of what God says about where I find my identity. Do I find it in the opinions of those around me? Or in HIS value in me?
“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” – Proverbs 29:25
“Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?” – Isaiah 2:22
“For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” -John 12:43
“Let no one deceive you with empty words…for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” -Ephesians 5:6-10
Here is what I’ve seen happen when we don’t believe that we are enough, just as we are:
- We gain false security: We become secure in things that can change at any moment. When we think we have reached the status of “secure” in the opinions of others, those views can change within moments, days, seasons. We can become puffed up with pride when we value those feelings and accolades of man higher than the view of God.
- We scramble: When we are constantly trying to get in the good graces of others, we end up doing things for the wrong motivation of trying to be SEEN as helpful, likeable, needed. Rather than stewarding the good gifts, skills, and characteristics God has given us, we scramble to try to earn the favor and praise of others.
- We strive: Similar to scrambling, striving happens when we start climbing a ladder fast and hard to meet the standards or expectations towards worldly “success.” This is what happens when we try to prove to ourselves or others that we ARE in fact enough. Can you learn to rest secure instead? Not in what you have done or haven’t yet done, but in what God has done for you. He has already rescued you, redeemed you, set you free. You do not have to live a life of striving.
- We become stunted: The too much/not enough lies can make us compare our beginnings, our skills, or our stories to those around us. And then in that comparison, we can become completely paralyzed. Our growth stops when we try to be like someone else, or when we are frozen in fear that we will never be good enough to try going after those dreams He’s placed in our hearts. Instead, we are called to walk forward in the confidence and calling that God has for us, and in who He made us to be.
- We suppress: When we fear rejection for the truest and most authentic parts of ourselves, we hold back and dim everything about us that in fact makes us unique. Because maybe, when we have let our true selves show in the past, someone verbalized our deepest fear….that who we are (our very essence) was too much/not enough for THEM. But for God? The One who made you? The one who knows the very numbers on your head? You are exactly who He made you to be, sweet friend.
“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” -Isaiah 61:3
Notice that it says in Isaiah 61:3, that they will be called oaks of righteousness for HIS Splendor. By HIS planting.
I know that we live in a culture of upward mobility. Of making room for ourselves to make our voices heard. Or rubbing elbows to get in with the right crowd. When we are not secure in who HE has made us to be, we worry that we are not enough. We become so fixated on what we can do, and on not making the mark, that the ground beneath us becomes unsteady.
We do not have to do the work or put our own selves on display. In Him, we are oaks. Firm. Strong. Righteous. Planted- exactly as He made us, and exactly where He wants us to be.
While the opinions, values, and feelings of this world can change in an instant, and are as fickle as the “breath in our nostrils,” our God is different. Throughout Scripture there are SO many powerful images of God as a steadfast and steady force. Here are just a few that remind me of the strength we can find when we trust in God:
“And they remembered that God was their rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer,” -Psalm 78:35
“For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?” -2 Samuel 22:32
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” -Romans 8:31
“Be still and know that I am God.” -Psalm 46:10
“Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.” -Psalm 95:1-5
“‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” -Isaiah 54:10
Instead of swaying back and forth, trying to be everything to everyone, I pray that in HIM, you can stand firm. I challenge you to rest secure in the fact that the Creator of the universe also created you, with all of your quirks, character traits, passions, and your specific voice. We do not have to scramble or strive for value, because we are already seen as valuable to our rock and redeemer. If we can take our focus off of the changing tides of this world, we can keep our eyes on His steady face and do it all for His glory instead of man’s.
Lord I pray that you would remind each of us that we are not defined by what we DO, but by who you are, and who we are in you. Help us to rest secure in You, in your steadfast love and righteousness, not in our own striving or scrambling, or in the changing and unsteady things of this world. I pray that we would rest our souls before you, knowing that in you we can be called oaks of righteousness, planted and secure. Because you are more than enough for our questions of whether we are enough, Lord. We pray that today we might find our value in You, and You alone.
*This post is part of a series about IDENTITY for the month of August. If you want to read the series, here is the introduction (Who do you think you are?), followed by a post about our new-found purity in Christ, no matter how dirty we feel (I am clean, I am made new), and last week’s post about the lie that you are unworthy of love. Also, special thanks to fancycrave1 of Pixaby and Kevin Young of Unsplash for the beautiful images to accompany this post.
Elementary school. That was the first time I had that feeling of not fitting in. Specifically, third grade. I was tall and lanky with glasses and a bad underbite. I was shy and wanted to fit in with the group of girls who had emerged as “popular.” I remember feeling embarrassed on the first day of fourth grade that my new outfit, which had been considered “cool” in third grade was suddenly… uncool. Fifth grade, as the other girls in my class developed and moved into a new phase of bodies and boys, I was still secretly playing with Barbies. I was behind and on the outside.
Through middle school and high school, I started to realize that if I modified how I spoke, what I wore, and the jokes I laughed at, I would stand out less and could blend in more. I was consistently insecure that if others saw the “real” me, they would surely reject me. I became a shape-shifter to gain approval from friends, never really showing my authentic self. In actuality, I don’t think I knew who that was. But I knew that I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror, and a large part of that was that I didn’t feel loved and accepted. I thought I had to earn the love of others, and I never quite felt that I made the mark.
Another huge component of this growing lie that I was unlovable and unworthy came through the lens of romantic relationships. When the boy I had a crush on in my fifth grade class openly laughed at me for my flat chest, I went home early with a stomach ache–my first glimpse at rejection and unrequited feelings. But even more than that, I absorbed the internal message that who I was wasn’t worthy of returned affections. Over the years I heard iterations of the a certain message from our culture (from the someday-my-prince-will-come fairytales of childhood all the way to the more mature romantic themes of magazine ads, television shows, movies, and books)– that I would feel complete when finally I found someone who loved me in a big and sweeping way. I came to hope that being accepted by others would fill in the holes of loneliness. During my deepest times of insecurity, I took on heartbreak after heartbreak by opening myself up to relationships out of fear of being alone or thinking that when I finally found “the one” I would finally feel whole.
On the other side of divorce and deep heartaches, I still occasionally hear those old lies of “unlovable” or “unworthy,” and sit with the fear of rejection or abandonment. But the past few years, God has done some incredible work within me to bind up wounds and show me His sweet love. I want to whisper to you some words of encouragement today…
Friend, I don’t know what you’ve been through in your life that makes you wonder or doubt your worthiness in relationships. I don’t know what wounds you carry from childhood, or the heartbreaks, rejection, trauma in your life that have layered lies, insecurities and deep wounds into your soul. I know that at times you may feel lonely and rejected in rooms full of people, and even more achingly so when you’re alone with yourself. That these wounds may have opened you up to lowering your standards, settling for unfair or unhealthy relationships, or even enduring abuse because you didn’t believe you deserve any better.
But sweet friend, here is what I’ve come to know as absolute Truth, and sometimes have to remind myself of even now. Another person will never make us feel complete. If I’m waiting on that “perfect love that casts out all fear” (and casts out insecurity and self-doubt), it will never come through another imperfect soul on this earth. As we sit longing for a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love, we need to recognize that God IS LOVE, and lavishes that very kind of love on us. That He is a good and perfect father who can bind up our wounds. He abides in us and we can love others (and ourselves) more fully once we know that He is the one who fills us up and that we are made complete in Him.
As I’ve read my son the Jesus Storybook Bible this year, I have found myself holding back overwhelmed tears during the stories of Creation and Jonah and David and his small stones, and the mighty but quiet story of Jesus’ birth story. Sally Lloyd-Jones shares in such an accessible and simple form the beautiful and redemptive love story of God in a way that she describes as a “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.” This year, during my own prayer time after Emmett goes to bed, I’ve sometimes pulled his storybook Bible back out to re-read the story from that night and wonder how I’d missed it before. That in one story after another, this Heavenly Father has pursued us, just wanting us to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He loves us and will never leave.
Honestly, THIS was the place that my heart shifted from seeking other places of self-worth and love and saw that the Truth of my being as loved and chosen and pursued by God was right in front of me all along.
In those times that we question or doubt our ability to be loved, we have to go back again and again to these Truths, as we up-root the lies of unworthiness:
- “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)
- “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.” (1 John 4:7-9)
- “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
- “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
- “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love.” (Zephaniah 3:17, ESV)
- “…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19, NIV)
- “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16)
- “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13:7-8a)
Our emptiness or feelings of unworthiness will never be satisfied entirely in human relationships, even the good ones. If I am seeking a big redemption story in a relationship here on earth, I will end up disappointed again and again. Don’t get me wrong- I believe that incredible healing can come within the context of healthy community and relationships. But until we recognize that the ONLY one who can fill up all of our empty spaces is God, we will always come up short.
In HIM, we can know that we are His beloved, that He chose us, that we are worthy, that He will never leave us. This is different than human love. Humans may reject or abandon us, they may put up walls or turn away. But not our God. This amazing Father, with loving arms, embraces us as His beloved children and fights for us. With Him, there is a precious guarantee- He is a God who keeps His promises and is unwavering in His character (Numbers 23:19).
In HIM, we are purely and perfectly loved.
*This post is part of a series about IDENTITY. If you want to read the series, here is the introduction (Who do you think you are?), followed by a post about our new-found purity in Christ, no matter how dirty we feel (I am clean, I am made new).
Dear Tender Heart,
You and I are cut from the same cloth, so I want to whisper you some words of encouragement. I don’t want to assume to know everything about you or your story, but I hope these words can give you comfort. I picture that we are sitting across from one another at my favorite coffee shop, or sitting side by side on a breezy summer day, rocking in wooden chairs on a big front porch. Or maybe this can be a folded letter on delicate stationary that you can tuck away and read again when you need reminders from a friend who gets you.
Sometimes I know you wish that the heart you wear on your sleeve could be covered up. I know its a heavy load to bear at times- feeling everything with such intensity and depth. I know that when you see the aching and struggles of the people in your life, you feel their pain too. I know that you often sit in longing, in sorrow, in the overwhelm of how to care for the hurt you see around you.
There may be people in your past or your present who made you feel abnormal for this tender heart of yours that feels so deeply. That you are too much or that you are too different. But I don’t want you to lessen yourself or try to cover it up or become like “everyone else.”
You know why, sweet friend? You remind me of Jesus.
He saw the HEARTS of the hurting and met them with compassion. When the stories and struggles of others were brought to Him, He felt every bit of it–He wept for us. Those tears were not a show of emotion just for God to display that Jesus was made of DNA and blood cells and the stuff of personhood. Those were the outward expression of a Creator, a Redeemer, a Mighty God who walked and dwelt among us and loved us so deeply. He touched our wounds and bore our burdens and WEPT for this hurting world. He ached to fix and heal and restore those deep hurts. I read the first 12 chapters of John this week and saw the person of Jesus in a new light. John paints the picture so clearly of a loving, kind, empathetic man whose whole ministry was filled with examples of compassion. As I read about Jesus’ healing of a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years, His conversation with the woman at the well, how He fed the hungry, showed forgiveness, stood up for those with shame, raised His dear friend from the dead, and wept with Mary and Martha, all I could see was that He was MOVED by the stories of others. He met us in our hunger, our doubt, our illness, our shame, our fear, even our death, with His whole heart and sweet TENDERNESS.
I know this passage is a little long, but can we read it together? It moved me to see how much Jesus loved and cared for His friend, so I want to share it with you:
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” He asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” He said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” [John 11:33-44]
He ultimately bore all of these burdens on the cross in His death, taking on every sin and pain so we wouldn’t have to bear the weight of it. He, in His mercy and with His own tender heart, DIED that we might have freedom and hope once again in this fallen world. We can bring every heaviness to Him and ask Him to sit with us. In the quiet or in our crying out, my friend, He is right there with you in this. He doesn’t need to you to change a thing before you sit side by side. He loves you and your tender heart just as you are. After all,
So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. [Genesis 1:27]
For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. [Psalm 139:13-14]
Friend, your deep compassion, your empathy, your sensitivities, your desire to help others find healing? Those are GIFTS. When it is too much to bear, it is okay to weep. But also, I hope you can see that it is good and relieving to bring those burdens to Jesus.
He can show you how to care for the hurting by pointing them to His hope and healing. He can also bring a sweet balm to you. Rest in the truth that you are never too much for Him. You are His beloved, and He cares for your sweet, sweet heart.
A fellow tender hearted sister
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears has not been made perfect in love.” -1 John 4:18
FROM FEAR TO PEACE SERIES:
A few weeks ago I wrote about my own struggles with fear, anxiety, and insecurity, and I heard from several people that this topic resonated at a deep level. I recently read that “fear not” is the most repeated command in the Bible. It’s almost as if God knew we would need daily reminders to trust Him and not live in fear. Over the next few posts I will be digging into this topic further; I will be sharing thoughts about fear in a few different areas– insecurities, lack of control/awareness of the plan for the future, worry about daily needs being met, rational/irrational fear, and anxiety. Each post, I’ll share a little bit about my own journey, some practical tips and spiritual tools I’ve found for facing that arena of fear, and a prayer for you.
When I read over the story of Adam and Eve I think of how long the problem of insecurity has been a part of humanity. In Genesis 2:25, it is written that “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” They were living in the garden, unhidden, fully themselves as God created, but unashamed. They had the perfect love of God and had all they could ever need. Yet, in Genesis 3 an enemy came along in the form of a serpent, whispering lies in their ears that who God created them to be just wasn’t enough. When the lies grew greater than the Truth and they began to doubt God’s perfect love, they fell. They stepped into shame, fear, and hiding.
Recently, my friend Hope introduced my to a song called “Fear is a Liar” that includes the lyrics:
Fear, he is a liar. He will take your breath, stop you in your steps. Fear, he is a liar. He will rob your rest, steal your happiness. Cast your fear in the fire, cause fear, he is a liar.
Somewhere along the way, lies crept into my mind and heart like ivy–a few insecurities were planted through various situations and relationships that started overtaking Truth. I somehow grew convinced that I had to prove myself to be loved or worthy. I worried about whether I was capable or deserving of the friendships/jobs/relationships/leadership roles I desired. I feared that the people I loved would leave or reject me if I was honest about who I was. I fixated on my perceived imperfections and tried to remove them at all costs. I wore a mask to show others that I was okay and had it all together. I hid in shame when I made mistakes. And I started to rely far too heavily on my own strivings for perfection instead of resting in the knowledge that I was perfectly loved by my Creator and Father.
Over the years, that ivy has choked life out of my spirit– all I could hear was “unworthy,” “too much,” “not enough,” “too different,” “unattractive,” “unlovable.” And the lies starting influencing my decisions. The apples I’ve bitten have gotten me no closer to my ideals of perfection, but just pushed me further from the garden.
I’m not sure what your insecurity is related to, but I want to share with you where MY hope and healing have been found in this area of fear. When I feel alone and fearful about authentically connecting with others for fear of rejection, when I worry that I am not lovable, when I question my worth, I go step 1 on this list over and over again, but I’m also including a few others suggestions that I’ve found helpful over the years:
1. SOAK IN TRUTH (Romans 12:2- be transformed by the renewing of your mind)- Read about who GOD is, and who He says you are! It’s time to get rid of the ivy and stop it from choking the life out of you. The best way I have found to fight lies and insecurities is to memorize and KNOW the Words that God says are true. In Truth, we find light and life… in lies, we get tangled in darkness and death. The more I’ve written God’s Truth on my heart, the more my heart and mind have shifted away from anxiety and fear. Here are some of my favorite verses that remind me of my identity in Him. I write these on my bathroom mirror, sticky notes on my desk at work, in my journal, and I memorize them so that when lies start to creep in I have an immediate response to combat untruth:
- Psalm 139 (THE WHOLE PSALM)
- “But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.’” –Isaiah 43:1
- “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” -1 Peter 2:9
- “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” -1 John 3:1
- “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” -Ephesians 3:16-19
2. LOVE NOTES– Write yourself a love note! When I realized that I would never talk to another person the way I talked to myself, I knew I needed to work on my self-talk. As though you were writing to a best friend, kindly tell yourself some of your favorite things about who you are as a person (remember- you were fearfully and wonderfully made!). If you are compassionate, creative, generous, trustworthy, loyal, funny, servant-hearted, tell yourself why you’re proud to be that person! If a love note is too daunting, just make a list of 3-5 of your favorite qualities that make you YOU! Start to see yourself with realistic eyes- the way God and others who love you see you.
3. COMMUNITY– In insecurity, we sometimes tend to isolate. Fight the urge to let the lies take over, and open up to other safe people in your life. Surround yourself with people you love. Make a coffee date with that friend who you always feel refreshed after seeing. Pick up the phone and call your grandmother (I guarantee you she’ll love it too). My mom has always said to us, “you have to be a friend to have a friend.” Make a list of 2-3 people you want to get to know better and reach out to plan a coffee or lunch within the next week or two (it will give you something to look forward to).
4. SERVICE– Sometimes stepping out of my comfort zone and thinking about how I can love others around me is just the cure to momentarily lift my eyes from my own struggles and insecurities. Next time you are at the library or grocery store, look up from your phone, and smile at the person you see who looks like they could use some sunshine. Buy a coffee for the next person in line. Get connected to a local ministry or service project you feel passionate about, and commit to serving at regular intervals (to build longer term relationships). Make a meal for the friend or family member who might need a little extra support in their current season. As people come to your mind or your heart, shoot them a little text or note to just let them know you are thinking of them
A PRAYER FOR YOU:
Lord, thank You for creating this world and Your children in perfect love. Even though we walk away from Your love at times, I pray that You would continue to draw us back to You. Father, open my eyes to see myself in light of Your love and grace. Cast out fear, and help me to shed darkness and old lies by putting on the belt of Truth– fight these battles with me. Transform my thoughts to remember that You created me in Your own perfect image, that You will never leave or forsake me, that You call me precious, spotless, cleansed.
Thank you for sending Your own son to die for me, for calling my sin “finished,” so that I can walk in light, freedom, and hope. Lord, guide my thoughts away from my insecurities, and allow your Truth to trickle down from head knowledge to heart knowledge. Prune the dead, old human lies I’ve allowed to inform my identity, and plant your Truth deep in my heart so that I can bear Your fruit. Today, I rest in the fullness of Your perfect love, and I accept the words You call me– beloved, chosen, worthy, child of God, redeemed. Help this change the way I love You and serve others. In Your precious name, Amen.
**Important: Please note–I have spent many years with professional counselors and in recovery programs/support groups, but I am not a licensed therapist or counselor. If you struggle with fear that is interfering with your life, I encourage you to talk to someone about it (a counselor, pastor, mentor, trusted friend, support group). Sometimes saying it out loud makes it a little less daunting, or can help you find ways to root yourself in the present moment and release your fear.