I'm talking with someone. We're catching up on life, laughing, and we just ran out of small talk. The conversation is about to switch gears.
And I'm afraid.
Telling people about (Gay) Mormon Guy has connected me with a fear I didn't know I had. I find myself tripping over words, trying to figure out the best way to speak, and afraid.
I'm not afraid of many things. Usually I can think through my feelings and let fear go. I just try to think of the worst possible outcome, and then come to grips with the fact that it isn't all that bad. "How could I be happy even if that happened?" And the worst possible isn't necessarily probably.
That's what gave me the courage to talk to people on my mission, or to ask a girl out when I knew she was interested but didn't really know what to do.
I guess I am afraid of some things. Afraid of being a stumbling block in someone's life. Or not being a good friend or doing something wrong that impacts the people I love. And that's the fear that comes out.
I'm afraid of being so totally open. Laying everything in my life out to display... because somewhere deep inside myself, I remember what it was like when I first saw it all laid out.
For a long time I couldn't love myself. I was never good enough, and nothing I could do was enough to make up for the shortfalls I saw in the mirror. I could serve others, know that God loved me... but it took me a long time to love myself and really understand who I was - behind the talents and trials and blessings and gifts and environmental factors... to see the real me.
I guess the fear I've felt is fear that the people I love will have the same reaction that I did. That they'll look at me, see my faults and flaws and failings, and think that I'm not worth it. As I write this, I know that's completely inaccurate. My family and people around me love me more than I could ever communicate. But I also don't think that I'm the only one who has had that belief.
Courage is doing something even when I'm afraid. But the Lord doesn't ask me to have courage. He asks me to have faith. Faith is one step further - losing fear entirely. Which means that I still have a ways to go. But at least I'm getting closer.