the one with all the phobias

To escape fear, you have to go through it, not around it.
-Richie Norton

Back in February of 2015, I was feeling overrun with fear and insecurity. For some reason, I decided I would feel better if I gave my fear a real name. I came up with anuptaphobia, aphenphosmphobia, and philophobia.

Anuptaphobia: the fear of staying or being single.

Aphenphosmphobia: the fear of being touched.

Philophobia: the fear of affection.

All of these irrational fears stemmed from the one that started it all: the fear of being single forever. I was am the biggest hopeless romantic and this only made my sadness of feeling alone deepen. I pored over romantic movies and books and hung on every word of the stories my friends would tell me about the guys they were dating. I thought about this notion all the time – night and day – and would come up empty on why I was still single. To be honest, I thought I was quite the catch and to stay grounded, I would tell myself that all those possible suitors who looked right past me were the ones missing out, but I still felt empty.

I wish I could tell you that as soon as a boy finally noticed me all was well. Little had I known that it was much worse to actually have someone there to backup your insecurities — as soon as it happened I wished that it hadn’t. I would have much rathered be invisible than being told I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, reckless enough, smart enough, worldly enough… the list goes on.

I wish I could tell you that if I had only been patient and waited for the right guy to come along that all would have been well. I truly do not believe that would have been the case. Had I made the choice to say no to the few offers I received in the next two years, I may not have known the good that was my husband or I might have taken his good for granted. I believe that had I not gone through that heartache and confusion, I might not have chosen my husband at all. I wouldn’t say I am grateful for all of the hurtful memories that accompanied dating, but I do think they were worth going through, because I wouldn’t trade where I ended up for anything!

Remember that guy I used to talk about? Then one who not only made me incredibly happy, but also accepted every part of me? Well, we got married! It blows my mind to look back and see how broken I was about being single when this guy was just around the corner. I used to be afraid of being single forever, of being touched, of affection… well I’m living proof that it is possible to put that behind you when the time is right. All of those fears have been stripped away from me and I feel so much lighter now!

| Lauren Grey

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Growing Up

Why do we want to grow up so fast? Even as children we long to be just a year older. We think it has to be better than where we are at. We want to be able to make our own choices and do whatever we want. What we don’t realize is that with age comes responsibility.

Now I am not against responsibility. I have always felt I am quite the responsible person, but in the last few weeks I have really been struggling. The realization that in May, I will be a college graduate and “officially” an adult. I will be expected to get a job, live on my own, pay my bills, afford my lifestyle; and let me tell you: this is a scary thought.

I am one of the lucky ones who has not had to put myself through college thanks to my parents, grandparents, and scholarships that I have been fortunate enough to receive. I will have to pay back some debt, but I was encouraged to focus on school. Because of that for the past four years, I have not had to worry about school, rent, insurance, phone bill…and I am starting to really freak out that in less than a year from now I have to figure out how to pay for all of that.

I have been slowly, but surely teaching myself to budget, but failing miserably. I got a new job back in May that I thought was going to help me save up money over the summer, but has been giving me less and less hours, so my paychecks aren’t really cutting it. I have these envelopes that I split my checks into: groceries, gas, rent, entertainment, and a few others, but there doesn’t seem to be enough money to split and actually be useful. It is a rude awakening figuring out how much stuff actually costs and how all of that adds up. I have been looking for a second job; applied to almost 15 places in the past couple weeks and have heard nothing back. I have just been extremely discouraged lately.

Failure. Loser. Pathetic. These are the words that have started to float around in my mind. I had never really feared the future until now. I used to think I would make a great older person, because of how responsible I was, but now I am thinking otherwise. I am scared to finally be out in the real world, because I have no doubt it is going to make a mess of me.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:6-7

I’m Sorry Doesn’t Cut It

i suck

I am sorry.

I really screwed up.

I let my insecurities take over.

I let my selfishness show.

I made a mistake.

I overreacted due to a misunderstanding.

I am sorry.

I know I hurt you.

I didn’t mean to.

I have issues.

I wish I could be perfect.

I am sorry.

I know that doesn’t matter.

I wish I knew how I could make it right.

I am mad at myself.

I always mess up good things.

I am sorry.

I wish I could talk to you.

I want you to yell at me.

I want you to tell me how you feel.

I want to make it right!

I am sorry.

I care about you so much.

I am scared of losing of you.

I am beating myself up.

I wish I could take it all back.

I am sorry.

 

Will you forgive me?

I Have The Power To Choose

choice 1

When people talk about having courage and exploring the unknown, I immediately think of traveling or beginning a new phase in life. Today, I read this phrase and had a completely different thought; I’m not traveling or starting a new phase, but I have decided to take a different path than the one originally set for me and it is going to be a scary road.

I have been wrestling with my faith and what it means to believe for awhile. I grew up Christian, non-denominational Baptist to be exact, and I worked really hard at being perfect at it. As I got older, I realized this was just a facade for me. I played the part so well and on the outside, I was the part to a T. I went to church, participated in Bible studies, and attended church camp. I volunteered, prayed, and was extremely active in my youth group. I didn’t do things that were deemed bad such as smoke, drink, party, or cuss. I was one of the good ones.

What I learned was that you can’t be a perfect Christian. But you can feel like you are doing something wrong. In the past six years or so, I have worked so hard at doing what I have been taught to do in order to have a strong relationship with God. Be in continuous prayer. Have a quiet time every morning. Talk to God like a father or a friend. Be patient. Listen for what God has to tell you. Read your Bible. Memorize verses. Surround yourself with good Christian friends. Be honest. (That is not all they tell you, but those are the ones that stand out to me at the moment.)

I did these things day in and day out. As much as I tried to enjoy it; make it something I wanted to do and not something I had to do, I failed. It always seemed like so much work and effort with no results. I still felt empty. I listened, but never heard anything. I prayed, but never got answers. I studied, but never learned. I surrounded myself, but felt judged. All of it didn’t seem worth it to me. I became bitter, because I would hear stories and see others who seemed to be living the life and having the relationship I was supposed to have. Although I understand they might be putting on a facade too, it didn’t change the negativity that surrounded me.

A few months back, I decided to take a break from striving so hard to be successful in my religion and creating this relationship that seems to be nonexistent. I stopped reading my Bible, praying, going to church regularly; I started to dabble in activities that were frowned upon. I didn’t like everything and being “bad” isn’t really me, because of my morals and personality, but I found that I was so much happier not worrying so much about being perfect. That who I was and who I wanted to be didn’t have to be dictated by my religion. I could still be a good person and not be a Christian.

I realized that I did not have a problem with everything I had been taught. I believe there is a greater power/being (aka God) and I believe that he created the world and everything in it, but from my experiences I do not believe that he is striving for a relationship with me. From the research that I have done, I am taking a leap and calling myself a Deist. I don’t necessarily think that a label for what I believe is needed, but it helps to classify myself somewhere.

Making the decision to step out of what I was taught and have always known and to swim against the grain of most of the people in my life is extremely frightening for me. I have not told my family about my change of heart, but to be able to post it here and recognize my current beliefs is a big step!

As hesitant as I am to move forward, I want to bring on the unknown and test my courage!

❤ a girl

Being a Fraud…

honestyToday I was sitting in church with my parents and between all the nonchalant eye rolling and dreaming of someday, I realized that I was a fraud.

I sit there and freeze to death while I listen to some dude up on stage tell me that no matter what I can find refuge in Jesus. As I rolled my eyes for the thousandth time that morning, I asked myself what I was doing here when I obviously didn’t want to be here. When I was just dismissing in my head everything the preacher was saying.

But there was no reason to even ask myself that question, because I already knew the answer. I was there, because I am afraid of disappointing my parents. I am afraid of what they will think of me, if I told them that I don’t believe anymore. I am afraid they will see me like they see my brother. So I wake up every Sunday morning, attend church with them and then volunteer as well. I am worse than just being a fraud, I am a coward too.

I am honestly quite pathetic, because I don’t even feel comfortable in my own church, but I continue to go. I have gone there for about ten years, so it isn’t just my parents that I am afraid of. It is also my close friends, the leaders that taught me when I was younger, the kids that I helped teach when I had my own class, the other college-aged kids who I grew up with. I am afraid of all the whispering that will happen as they all discuss what happened to me and why I have strayed.

I desperately wish that I wasn’t a coward. I wish I could just step up and tell my parents that I don’t have a desire to go to church, that I don’t pray and haven’t since the beginning of the year, that I don’t think God cares about me or has an impact in my life, that Christian people make me feel uncomfortable, that I feel like a ton of bricks has been lifted off of my shoulders since I stopped focusing on all the rules that religion brings, that I have more of an open mind, that I am happier.

Awhile back, like early spring, I told my mom that I wasn’t into it anymore and she labeled it “struggling with my faith”, but that is not what I call it, I call it being done and over it. I am not saying that all Christian people are bad by any means, but I just don’t want any part of it.

I just don’t know how to stand up to her and explain who I am now, because I know what will follow. She will go off on a tangent and get all emotional and then start beating herself up as a mother, because both of her kids have strayed away from what they were taught and I just don’t think I can handle that look on her face. What she doesn’t understand is that not all people who don’t believe are bad. They are just people like anyone else and it bothers me so much that her mind is so closed and that this is her mentality. I know there is nothing wrong with me, but I don’t think she will agree.

Confrontation is not my thing. And I have no problem standing up for myself when I feel it is extremely necessary, but when it comes to my parents or my best friends, I just become weak, because I care too much about what they think. And yes they should still love me no matter what, but I fear that they won’t and then I will be alone.

So there you have it; I am a fraud and a coward and I am too afraid to do anything about it.

❤ a girl