What are you afraid of? This is the question I constantly asked myself as I weaseled out of an opportunity that seemed cool. So lately I tried a new thing. I stopped running away from my problems and (plot twist) after failing a few times, I actually learned how to discern the voice of God.

Excuse me while I celebrate my small victory.

Okay, I’m back.

The Backstory

So it all started when a director from a local pageant asked if I could host pageant interview workshops. Naturally, I agreed but had mixed feelings. On the day of the first workshop, I noticed missed calls and messages from the director.

Oops…I forgot all about it!

Sure, I can blame my schedule and pretend as if I had SO much on my plate, but I didn’t. The moment I agreed to be the host, I gave into the thoughts like:

I can’t do this! I don’t have time! What am I supposed to do?

After I missed the first workshop, I tried to convince myself that I could redeem myself. But nope. I got scared and canceled the second one. I’m not super proud of myself but I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel some relief.

Months ago, I cried out to the Lord asking for direction and how He wanted me to serve. I didn’t hear a verbal response but at that moment I felt it in my spirit to help single moms and women in distraught.

Boom. Got it. I rolled up my sleeves and tried a few things. After visiting a shelter didn’t work, I eventually gave up and convinced myself that I just missed God.

On Sunday, the leader of the Nursery ministry made an announcement about how she needed help. I had this weird feeling like I heard something in my spirit or mind but I was in an irritable/mischievous mood so I ignored it.

Well, I tried ignoring it. But that thing about helping women was still in the back of my mind. When I couldn’t bear what seemed like subtle reminders from sermons, I decided to take action. It took me a while, but I asked a few people about the nursery hoping that they would do the busy work for me.

But no, I HAD to be the one to talk so I introduced myself to the leader of the nursery. Only thing I could do was be myself. So, I told her how I felt called to help women. And that talking to her was my way of pushing through my fears and insecurities about dealing with children.

It was a short and sweet convo and she gave me an application. A few days later, I returned my application and background check. And then I got scared and purposefully missed follow-up calls from the church’s office.

Literally, weeks went by but it wasn’t until I heard this song at church that I decided to do something: Everlasting God by William Murphy: (Click photo to be redirected to YouTube)

screeenshot of William Murphy's song called Everlasting God

I remember how I felt at service this day. I was mad then and even mad the day before because I had been procrastinating. About 5 minutes into my pity party, I thought about other things I was avoiding like bills and the nursery. All of these thoughts forced me to question whether God was leading me or not.

Thinking about all this stuff just made my mood even worse and I was irritable, cranky and impatient. I didn’t want to sing at church this day but when the praise team sang that song…I could barely open my mouth. Not because I was angry anymore but because I had to keep myself from crying.

Girl! The first few lines almost broke me to tears:

The Lord’s my light and salvation
Whom shall I fear?
Whom shall I be afraid?

So powerful! I was in the pew, well aisle, thinking about why I keep running away from the things that I wanted. I thought,

Am I going to let fear get in the way?

happy girl in field with arm stretched out

Now I’m feeling empowered! I secretly did a hair flip in my mind and lifted my chin up. After praise and worship to ended and I stepped out while my Pastor greeted the congregation.

I marched around the corner and made sure I set up a meeting so I can get started with the nursery. The moment I apologized for being so flaky, I could not hold back my tears.

Growing up, the worst thing I could do was to have a child. My mom got pregnant young and my sister was a teen mom. No shade to you if you had your children younger. Kids are awesome and motherhood is beautiful. My mom just wanted a different path for me.

She wanted me to have what she didn’t. Which is super respectable but man was it tough! I have always been a hopeless romantic so not being allowed to date until I was 18 wasn’t fun. My mom is big on education and would always redirect my focus from having a boyfriend to excelling in school. She would say this all the time

“Boys and books don’t mix” – My Momma

Even though I didn’t like it, the saying was very true. My brain would turn into mush if my crush spoke to me. In a positive way, my upbringing saved me from a lot of heartbreak, motherhood before I was ready and STD/STIs.

But at the same time, I got an unhealthy view of motherhood and sexuality in general. Which explains my fear about dealing with kids.

But my past has also taught me a very valuable lesson about becoming my own person. A lesson that I understand right now as I’m writing this because, for the first time, I submitted to God so He can make me whole.

The Word

The same day I went to the nursery, my pastor preached about fear and not giving up. Perfect timing, right? The sermon confirmed Scriptures that I randomly read before going to church.

I’m touching and agreeing with you that today you will pay attention to the things you have been avoiding.

Because the LORD is your light and your salvation–so why should you be afraid? The LORD is your fortress, protecting you from danger, so why should you tremble? (Psalms 27:1).

Update: Bonus Lesson Learned

I swore after writing this post that I would have so much info on how the nursery changed me. But here’s what really happened…

I went to the orientation for the nursery. I volunteered for one Sunday but I didn’t like that I couldn’t enjoy church service. Even though the kids were great and I really enjoyed reading books to them, I felt weird and out of place.

And I still wasn’t sure about the nursery.

I huge barrier that we face is how we move after we fail. I didn’t fail when I was growing up. On the outside, I had it all together. I had good grades and didn’t get into trouble. Losing pageant competes sorta helps me deal with disappointment. But the art of picking myself up after I mess up is still a skill I’m working on.

But as I still work on my strength and confidence, here is one I was reassured of: Peace

That’s how I feel when I hear from God. So when it comes to figuring out where God needs you and when He speaks, follow peace.

You don’t have to afraid to fail or get too bent out of shape when you don’t understand if God is speaking to you or not. It takes time. And if you’re like me, be proud of yourself for trying. It’s a small victory worth celebrating.

And that, my friend, is how I stopped running away from my problems and learned God’s voice.