I am by nature a scaredy cat. I always have been.
As a child I used to hide behind my parent’s legs to avoid talking to people.
As a teen I refused to go on church youth tubing trips down the crystal clear rivers of central Florida, because um…hello! Florida has alligators!! All I could picture was my backside hanging down from the tube looking like the center of donut just waiting to be snatched!
As a college student I lived in constant fear of a failing grade, because obviously my entire future and life success could be measured by the grade on my organic chemistry mid-term!
As a new wife I feared finding a roach when my husband wasn’t home, because…I mean, EWW!!! I can’t stomach bugs that crunch when you squish them!
As a new mom I feared…everything!!! Is the baby too hot? Too cold? Too smelly? Am I spending enough time with my husband? Am I totally screwing up the baby? What if the floor crumbles under the baby’s crib how will I get to him in time??? (yep! I really had that fear!)
Now, as a soon-to-be author (who suffers from both chronic introvert syndrome and a debilitating case of people-pleasing-itis), I fear the dreaded bad review. Or worse the even more dreaded “no one cares!” Or worst of all…having to speak in front of people, into microphones, or God-forbid on Facebook live!!!!
And don’t even get me started on spiders, sharks, jelly-fish, barracuda (or really anything that lives in the sea except dolphins), hair in the drain, my kid getting behind the wheel of a car, or gas station bathrooms!
You guys, fear is my kryptonite!
I know that God is stronger. I know that He is able. And I believe that He is with me.
But when faced with one of my laundry lists of fears, especially the ones in which the underlying fear is that of my own inadequacy, I freeze. I fret. I falter.
When facing my fear, I feel a lot like an empty water bottle, whose cap has been loosened. One hard squeeze and I will be crushed. I can almost hear the crunch of collapsing plastic.
I worry about failing, not being enough.
I wait for the inevitable emotional sucker punch life is sure to throw my way.
I will myself to try harder, do better, be braver.
I wince in anticipation of the squeeze.
Yet, I am met with a soft word not of a crushing vice.
My gaze is directed beside me—to the water bottle I have yet to open. It’s seal still intact.
I hold the water bottle in my hand. I squeeze it, hard.
I squeeze again, and again and again. I squeeze with two hands. I can’t crush it. Can’t make a dent in it, no matter how hard I try.
For the bottle is full—the lid is sealed.
I dig an empty bottle from the recycling bin. I easily crush it in my grip.
My gaze drifts back to the full bottle.
The difference isn’t on the outside, they are both made from the same material. What gives the one bottle its strength is what’s on the inside and the fact it is sealed.
My scaredy-cat lips part, “God, I see what you just did there!”
I can’t help but smile.
For the fact is—the scaredy-cat ending, fear destroying, bottle strength giving truth is—that I am not the empty water bottle! I am the full!!!
As a child of God (as one who has trusted in who Jesus is and what He has done) God is not only with me and for me but He is IN me!!!
He has placed in me (in all of His children) His Holy Spirit—His own power. The power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at the right hand of God is in me right this very moment! And as if that weren’t enough, He then sealed me with His unbreakable seal.
I am a full bottle!!
The words replay in my mind as I squeeze the full bottle again and again.
It’s gonna take some time to begin living like a full bottle, but I have no doubt I will get there. After all, I now realize I don’t have to do it on my own.
He’s been there all long, just waiting for me to notice Him. Waiting for me to acknowledge the power He’s placed in me.
So while I may always scream when I see a roach—because I mean they will always crunch when you kill em—I no longer need to live like an empty bottle.
I can go and face what is to come knowing that He who is in me will keep me from being crushed by my fears.
Here’s to living full!