By: Autumn Elizabeth
Fear not, you shall not be put to shame; you need not blush, for you shall not be disgraced. The shame of your youth you shall forget. –Isaiah 54:4
It is often said that if we trust in God, we need not fear. But here’s the thing. I am afraid. I have not forgotten the hard times of my youth. The disappointment of being a millennial looking for a job, the pain of enduring the violence done to my body and psyche, the hopes dashed, the dreams broken, I still feel them all, and it makes me afraid.
I am afraid to make anything permanent, for fear it will be taken away again. I am afraid of showing my passion for justice; for fear that the world will beat it out of me. I do not yearn for confrontation, yet this is what our world gives me. I am afraid that the world will continue to throw away all the lives, black, brown, queer, female, trans*, that don’t matter to those in power.
Yet, I know that for myself, as a follower of the radical Jesus, I cannot let this fear win. Perhaps, that is what all those passages in the bible are about. Maybe when they say “do not be afraid”, they mean “do not let fear own you”. I cannot stop fear, but I must dare to move beyond it.
I have to dare to co-create a better world side-by-side with the spirit of universal justice. I have to dare to believe that we can all be valued and safe in this world. I have to dare to show my heart to the people I love, and to show kindness to the people I don’t know.
I have to dare to believe in a better world, because I believe in a loving God, a powerful force that holds every creation dear. I believe in a God that does not victim blame, does not value some lives more than others. I believe in a God that moves with me in this world so that even the smallest acts of service, of change, of care, matter.
Yes, I am afraid. My faith does not erase my fear, but neither does fear annihilate my faith. They walk hand-in-hand with me as I travel through this messy, broken, and beautiful world.