"There is nothing to fear but fear itself." Hmmm! Really!? I can think of a mess of things that would cause me to be justifiably afraid. How about driving down some of the streets of San Fransisco with no brakes as one possibility? As much as I love animals, facing down a hungry tiger or a cranky elephant would probably get my heart and mind racing. Or maybe being out on open water when a storm is lashing your boat. At one time or another, we have all been put into a position, even small things, that caused us to be fearful.
Living in a perpetual state of fear is another story all together. From a very early age, I lived in a state of dread. I knew I was different. I knew that being a boy was not what I wanted to be. And I knew that the times I was growing up in were not extremely tolerant of people that mainstream society judges as being different. I feared what people would say. I feared even more what they might do. Nearly my entire junior high and high school years I was the target for various reasons for several bullies. I always feared what they would do to me if they knew the deeper truth about me. Even though things are a bit different now in the 21st century, fear still is a present, though small, part of my life.
It really wasn't until a few years ago when I was able to over come my fear and start living a life true to myself. As I went through the steps to change my name and gender status, I discovered that for the most part, my fear was unfounded. Though there were those in my life that did confirm my fears, those relationships unfortunately ended and I have been able to put those individuals behind me for the most part. On the plus side of the equation, many of the people I feared would reject me, to my surprise, turned out to be some of my biggest supporters and now are a part of a group of friends I truly am thankful for. One of these childhood friends told me that it wasn't so much as I came out to the world, but I finally put fear aside and let the world in. It is this group of remarkable people that has given me the ability to feel free to be the person God designed me to be. Releasing that fear has given me the opportunity to help educate people who transgender individuals really are.
The question still remains, why do I still live in fear. After someone has lived life being afraid, it's a pattern of thinking that is not easy to break. It is a slow, sometimes painful process that is only conquered when you give that fear over to God. Fear can be a storm the circles around us. Even when the disciples had Jesus right in their presence, they still feared the raging storm. As I grow closer and closer to God, that fear I have lived with slow fades more and more. We have to give that fear over to Christ and he will take away the fear and calm the storm.