Thankful Thursdays: Week 23 – Learning to live in faith, not fear

by inspiredrd on June 7, 2012

I was telling my mother-in-law yesterday about the exhilarating feeling I had when I climbed the eagle perch and took the leap of faith at a ropes course a few years ago. I explained how my normal self would have hesitated, thought it through, and waited before tentatively jumping. I explained how on that day, I had made the decision to just go for it, climb without fear, take the leap of faith. “It was awesome,” I said.

“That’s so great,” she said.  “When have you taken a leap of faith since then?”

Gulp. I couldn’t think of one time since. Apparently I settled right back into my comfortable life.

This conversation actually came at a perfect time. You see, my soul has been restless lately. Being comfortable has started to become increasingly uncomfortable for me.

I’ve been wanting to express these feelings to you, but I didn’t quite know how to articulate them. I’ve hesitated sharing my whole heart.  There is so much to say, a fire has been lit inside, and yet I feel paralyzed.  Fearful that my poor writing skills will fail to adequately say what it is that my heart wants to say.  Afraid, not knowing where to begin.

Sure, I’ve hinted at my faith before, in a safe “let’s keep personal and professional life separate” kind of way.  But I’m tired of being safe.  I’m weary of keeping up a front in the name of professionalism.  I’m ready to let it all hang out.  Ready to use the voice God gave me, even if it means flying my freak flag for the world to see. Ready to live a life of authentic faith, whatever that looks like.

So here it goes.  It’s time to leap again.  I’m ready to tell you my story.  Let’s start from the beginning.

From a young age, I’ve struggled with the “what-ifs” of life.  What if my mom gets in a car accident?  What if my friends talk about me behind my back?  What if Joe falls into a pool?  What if a scorpion crawls into Leila’s crib?

What if?

Anxiety steals joy.  Fear cripples abundant life.

Ten years ago tomorrow, I found the only one who can bring me peace when my fear is crippling.  Ten years ago, Jeff and I walked into a crowded Starbucks knowing we were ready to give our lives to Jesus.  All of our searching, all of our researching, all of our divine appointments, both apart and together, all of our praying had led us to this moment.

Married for only five months, we were newlyweds on top of the world.  Except for that nagging feeling that something was missing.  We had been fake-it-til-you-make-it Christians for long enough.  Jesus was stirring our hearts to a deeper place of knowing.  We called the pastor of the small church we had been attending with Jeff’s parents and asked if we could meet.  We knew what the bible said about believing in Jesus, but didn’t know how to get there.  Turns out it was very simple.

In the middle of that crowded Starbucks, Pastor Jeff asked if we were ready to accept Jesus as our Savior.  Here?  Now?  In the middle of this crowd?  There are so many people around, are you sure this is ok?

We closed our eyes and prayed.  When we opened our eyes, the crowd was still bustling around, ordering lattes and caramel double-shot macchiatos and such.  There was no choir of angels, no bright light.  But there was a beginning of peace.  A chink in my armor of anxiety.

Over the past ten years, my faith walk has been inconsistent at best.  I’ve run away from God more times than I would like to admit.  But He is always waiting for me with grace in His eyes.  My faith continues to be strengthened, through the highs and lows, the joys and sorrows, the peace and anxiety.

The fears never go away, but now I know who to bring them to.  My most recent fear is sharing all of this with you.  What if I am rejected because of my faith?  What if they lump me in with the Christians who don’t represent what I know to be true about Jesus?  What if they write me off in my profession because I share my faith too much?  What if companies don’t want to work with me now?  What if I mess up and say the wrong thing?

Here?  Now?  In the middle of this crowd?

Here.  Now.  In the middle of this crowd.  I’m choosing to live in faith, not fear.  I’m choosing to leap.  (And now I’m choosing to nap, because being so vulnerable takes a lot out of this introvert).

Thank you for letting me begin my story…I would love to hear about a “leap of faith” moment of yours.  Email me or leave a comment if you’d like to share.

Button

Pin It
  • http://glutendude.com Gluten Dude

    As the youngest in my family, I reluctantly followed my 3 older brothers throughout my youth. I hated it…and I hated myself for it. But it was safe. They laid the path…and I followed. I even went to the same college as one of my brothers, one of my only big regrets I still carry with me.

    But in my twenties, I said enough and I forged my own path. I didn’t want what they had. I wanted to do things my way. And while there were a lot of mistakes along the way and plenty of bumps in the road, it led me to where I am now; which is the best place I have ever been in.

    As soon as I broke away from the pack a bit, it instilled a completely different faith in myself. It’s a different faith than you speak of above, but it’s still faith just the same.

    Thanks for sharing your story and thanks for listening to mine.

    As Bruce Springsteen would say…”It takes a leap of faith to get things going.”

    • inspiredrd

      Thanks for sharing! I think that so many times it’s easier to go with the pack, but once we break away there are so many rewards to be had. Glad you are in a good place!

  • http://www.angelhaynes.com Angel

    I love it, Alysa! I’m so thankful for you and thankful of your courageous step of sharing Jesus through your story with all your readers. Love you, friend!

    • inspiredrd

      Thanks Angel, you inspire me so much. Love and miss you!

  • http://gothextramileblog.com Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile

    This was so beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your story!

    • inspiredrd

      Thank you for taking the time to read it Brittany!

  • http://www.aholeistodig.blogspot.com hannah singer

    i love this.
    i love YOU.
    thrilled for you stepping out. i’ll celebrate 13 years NEW at the end of august!
    xo

    my friend tim brindle has a song that i think sums it right up:
    “I have a new life, this is my new life, I was in true strife before I knew Christ
    I’m just a baby Christian, this miracle’s new to me/
    I’m still trying to hit my spiritual puberty/
    Christ claimed all my fails as His loss/
    He took my sins, and nailed’em on the Cross/
    I’m a child of God, He bought my soul in advance/
    Christ is risen I felt the holes in His hands/
    I love my life but now I see it’s His/
    My soul’s been resurrected like Jesus is/
    I have a new life, this is my new life, I was in true strife before I knew Christ”

    • inspiredrd

      Thank you Hannah!!! Love you girl.

  • Kristen

    I’m willing to bet any company who chooses not to work with you because of this post … For being authentically you… Is not a company you want to be associated with.
    I’m proud of you for sharing your faith so courageously. And your testimony has and will touch others !

    • inspiredrd

      Thank you Kristen, I appreciate your kind words and support.

  • http://goodandbrokenn.blogspot.com Jess

    Most of the progress that I’ve made in my life has been a direct result of a leap of faith. Most notably, recovery from my eating disorder and re-entry into real life.

    I hope this doesn’t offend you, because I kind of went in the other direction, but this rings true to me especially today. I was raised Catholic but it just was not what I believed in. By Jewish law (through my mother and her mother) I was Jewish by birth but my mom has pretty much considered herself an Athiest and my dad is a pretty devout Catholic. Anyway, it was one day that I had a discussion with a friend that I realized that I was not AGNOSTIC, like I had been believing, I was Jewish. Just because my beliefs weren’t Christian or Catholic did not mean that I did not believe in a God. I have since gone much deeper with religion and it has brought joy, hope, peace, and comfort into my life. Praying, I learned, can bring a calm over me despite anxiety. I received a Hebrew name today (a ritual that is usually done when a baby is very young) and held the Torah for the first time, and it was such an amazing experience. I had to be brave and face being different from my immediate family, and chance being ridiculed by my siblings.

    Personally, I firmly believe that many paths lead to the same place (I know not every person believes this) and am happy to hear your story of your path and hope that you were able to relate to mine in some way even though it’s a different one.

    • inspiredrd

      Jess, I’m not offended in the least. Even though we might not agree on faith issues, we can still respect each other, and I am thankful that you shared your story.

  • Tia Edwards

    Smiling from ear to ear :) I always love hearing you and Jeff’s story! God is using you more than you know to impact the lives of others. Love!!!

    • inspiredrd

      Thank you Tia! You and everyone in Tucson are a big part of our story. We miss you!

  • http://arimack.blogspot.com Ari

    Thanks for sharing your story. We all have our own faith journies, but learning from others is one way to grow in it. Be secure in your beliefs, be who you are.

    • inspiredrd

      Thank you Ari, that is something I struggle with (obviously), but I am becoming more secure each day.

  • http://www.aj_beginnings.blospot.com Andrea

    hello there… I happened to land on your blog while browsing “Everyday Letters” and I am so glad I did. It is so encouraging to know that I’m not the only one out there who gets comfortable in our busy lives and then look back and there hasn’t been much space left for God to move or do anything radical… Not that God isn’t capable.. but that I am not listening or taking the time to be sensitive to His Spirit.

    And I agree with Kristen.. that if sharing your faith and your story causes people to turn away… then I say rejoice because isn’t that what Jesus said would happen… that people will reject him because they do not understand. Stand firm and know that being authentic was the best thing ever.

    Thanks for sharing and I will be be reading your posts often.

    • inspiredrd

      Thank you so much Andrea! You are definitely not alone in your busyness. I’m glad you found my blog, and I hope to chat with you more!

  • http://www.theweightsover.net Wendy

    I am so happy to hear your Faith story. And I agree with everyone else who says if people turn away from you becasue of your proclamation of faith, well, then, they are NOT the people you’d want to be around anyway, are they?

    I’ve been struggling with my faith and lack of church since we moved nearly 3 years ago,and you leave me yearning for more. More faith, more love, more church, more God.
    Thank you for that awakening!

    You’re helping me feed more than my body to nourish myself.

    xoxo

    • inspiredrd

      WENDY!! Thank you so much, you are an encourager! I cannot WAIT to meet you in August!

  • Shelah Phillipsen

    Here is one of my leaps of faith from my fledgling blog (I only have 3 posts so far)
    Forgiveness is a hard concept for some of us to comprehend. We have people who have done us wrong, our loved ones or others around us and our nature is to hate them, be mad at them and wish them the worst life has to offer.

    Forgiveness is free but trust is earned. When you forgive someone it is not a free pass for them to think that life is all back to normal now. They too need to work at rebuilding the relationship if that is what they want or if you allow the relationship to begin again and if not then your forgiveness will allow you to move on with a clear conscience and live a full and happy life.

    Jesus tells us that in Romans 12:19-21 “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
    In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    This is an idea that can be foreign to us when we are wronged by someone we trust. Also, giving the person who has caused us pain food, drink, and love can be a hard pill to swallow. This idea follows the old adage “kill them with kindness”. It is not our place to be judge, jury and executioner against someone who has done us wrong.

    I struggle with forgiveness on a daily basis when it comes to my ex husband. Resentment, dislike, jealousy, & sadness over take my daily life on many occasions. I resent what happened in our failed marriage, I dislike him for the manipulation he used against me and my family, jealous that he is able to move on, start a new relationship and will be getting married again soon, and sadness for my son that he does not have two loving parents who are together. I struggle with these issues every day. At times it makes me depressed, sad, lonely, fearful and at times that I am useless.

    Another Bible verse that really speaks to me is Matthew 18:21-22 “Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.

    Forgiveness will not come easy, it will not be quick or happen over night. You have to work at it every day if you truly want to have forgiveness.

    Bob, my Pastor, put forgiveness in a new light for me and it has helped me considerably but I know that I am a work in progress and if I am to move on, be happy, love again and be there as a whole person for my son I need to successfully forgive and not regret it one bit.

    Forgiveness isn’t about setting the other person free, it is about setting YOU free.
    Forgiveness is a PROCESS
    Forgiveness is a CHOICE
    You will never FEEL like forgiving someone

    Again, as I said forgiveness will not be easy but it is not worth my life, love, or my sons life to hold on to old baggage that is only going to cause me harm in the long run. Harm to my emotional well being, my ability to love again, my physical health, my career goals. It will affect my entire life it I let it.

    A wise woman told me today that hate and being able to not forgive is like a weed that grows inside you. It festers, takes root and will grow uncontrollably until it takes over your life and it will sap you of everything you love and care about.

    I am a work in progress but I will make a promise to myself to work on this task like I work on other important tasks in my life, with all the faith, trust, love and frustration that comes along with accomplishing any thing huge and life changing!

    • inspiredrd

      Wow, thank you for sharing! Sounds like you have a long journey but are on the right path.

  • http://amandalambrechts.tumblr.com/ Amanda Lambrechts (@jolambrechts)

    I absolutely loved reading this! I recently discovered your blog and I love ALL topics that you write on. I am a third year dietetics student at South Dakota State University. I love the program, but with school, comes stress–my best outlet has always been connecting with friends I have through my faith! Thanks for this reminder that I need to stop living comfortable and start taking more of these leaps of faith :)

    • inspiredrd

      Thank you Amanda! It’s hard in college for sure, things are busy busy busy. Sounds like you have a good base of support though.

  • Joenanna

    The worst thing that can happen when you take that leap is that HE will catch you. The best thing? He’s with you when you take it. Win-Win. Your faith, your story is a big part of who you are and can’t be dismissed. It defines your decisions and your priorities. I’m proud of your leap.

    • inspiredrd

      Thanks for the nudge :)

  • Adrienne

    Thank you for opening up and sharing your faith! It is very inspiring.

  • Pingback: Thoughts and Shots

  • http://katshealthcorner.wordpress.com/ Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner

    I’ve done a faith jump before. It was one of the scariest things I have ever done. But I’m so glad that I did it. It has changed me for the better. :)

  • http://metropolitanmama.net Stephanie

    Alysa, you expressed so beautifully and bravely what I’ve been feeling in my heart. Thank you for “letting your light shine” so clearly.

  • Vicky

    Thank you for openly sharing your faith. I originally came to your blog because of your focus on healthy eating. I enjoy your blog especially because of your faith… Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find blogs that share my faith and my desire to cook/ eat “real” food.

    A personal leap of faith for me was moving from WA to TX last summer. I moved without a lot of logical reasons “why” except that God had led me to TX. The Lord has been soooooo faithful this last year. He has met my every need. There were many lonely months, but now I am making friends and beginning to put down roots. I still miss “home”… but I am thankful for the journey the Lord led me on this year.

  • Truly Madly Freely-Christy

    Alysa,
    Great post. Thank you for putting yourself out there. It’s so hard taking that leap and knowing that it could open you up to backlash. But you have to do it because you never know who it will touch and inspire. And I can see that you are inspiring many, including me. Your faith is beautiful.

  • Pingback: Thankful Thursdays: Week 25 – Stepping Outside my Comfort Zone and a Recipe for Mini Key Lime Pies

  • http://loriwalkernutrition.com Lori Zanini

    This is beautiful…congrats on doing life-changing work…from the outside in! :)

  • Pingback: Cooking, Leaping, Struggling and Thanking: A look back at 2012

  • Shannon

    As a Registered Dietitian casually browsing nutrition blogs online, I stumbled across your blog and am so inspired by your posts! I, too, struggle with knowing how to balance/integrate my professional career vs. my personal faith, and my hopes and dreams are to use the passion for nutrition and well-being God has given me to benefit His kingdom. What a great example you are, so THANK YOU for your boldness and transparency in sharing what’s on your heart. Look forward to following this blog from now on!

    • inspiredrd

      Thank you so much for the encouragement Shannon!!

  • Pingback: What I’m not giving up for lent

Previous post:

Next post: