I've been thinking for a while now what to write on this new blog. It's been so long since I've written anything that I knew I needed to make a fresh start. A beautiful, clean slate. So I've cut ties with my past blog.

I'm not sure I even know the author of that blog anymore. In some ways, I feel I've barely changed in the last decade. In others, I find it quite difficult to reconcile who I am now with the person I was then.

Funny how that happens. Am I the only one who experiences this? I don't think I am, but it's hard to know for sure when I'm just up here in my head. Often, the things I assume everyone does and thinks are actually unique to me, and the ways I think I'm special or weird are quite common.

Like the arm thing. Do you ever lay there with one arm straight in the air? I have one roommate who does on occasion, and another who thinks we're both weird. Yet, I saw a post about it on Instagram. I thought I was the only one for a long time.

Fears are like that too. I think I'm the only one with them, the only one who is afraid of this thing, and when I finally get the courage to say it out loud, I find everyone else has the same hang up. Most of my fear confessionals start with, "I know this is stupid, but..." Cuz it is. Fears are stupid.

Some of them are good, like the fear of burning your hand while pulling something out of the oven. That fear prompts you to put on an oven mitt. But the fear that you're going to lose an arm in a freak accident if you hold your hand out the window of your vehicle while you're driving down the freeway and going under a bridge is silly. Nearly irrational. There is that slight chance of that happening, but it's not enough of a chance for you to never put your hand out the window. Can't let that fear rule you.

Or the fear that you're never going to get married. 

Too real? Welcome to my world.

Most days, this fear isn't active. It doesn't rule my life. It doesn't keep me from ever putting my hand out the window. Rather, it lays dormant during waking hours, normal life hours. But when it's time to go to sleep, this fear wakes up and whispers in my ear, telling me the same, stupid lies.

Something is wrong with you.

You're too old.

You're not pretty enough.

Your body isn't the right shape.

You missed your chance. He was there at ____ that day, and you missed him.

Your expectations are too high. You're going to have to settle.

You're too extroverted.

Your loud laugh is unattractive.

You don't wear the right clothes.

You're too independent. It's a turnoff.

You talk about baseball too much.

These fears war with my hope. The hope that I have fought for. Hope that I had once given up. Hope that has been deferred for decades, and at times has genuinely made me sick. I hold on to the second half of that verse: "But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12)

My hope is not in myself. Been there, done that, not helpful. Too much stress and pressure and weight on me to make something happen. Ugh. Just thinking of that time of my life is gross.

My hope is not in my future husband. He's not going to fix anything. He's human, after all. He'll be just as flawed as I am. And I'm sure it's best to not go into a relationship expecting the other person to already be like Jesus.

My hope is in my God, my Savior, my wonderful helping Friend who is with me every moment. When the fears threaten to overwhelm me, when they do their best to drown out every rational thought in my brain, I turn to Him, I rest in Him. I can't fight the fears on my own. I can't fight them at all. I mean, I can try, but I think they know me better than I know myself. They certainly know when I'm down, if the kicks are any indication.

No. I can't fight. But I don't have to. When I am weak, then I am strong (in His strength, not mine). 

Once upon a time, I heard His voice. Clearly. He's encouraged me, promised me things, laughed with me, laughed at me (He likes my jokes), even offered His Spirit to me in ways I couldn't imagine. He's with me. I strive to hear Him again. To be so in tune with His Spirit, His Voice, that I would be an extension of Him on this earth.

I didn't really have a plan for where this first post would go, but here we are.

If you've lost hope in any area of your life, I am sincerely sorry. Don't put your hope in anything of this world, for it's all ashes and dust here. Hope in God. Trust in Him.

I'm praying for you.

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