Fringing Fear…

Where: Good Neighbors 

What: Cold Brew w/ Almond Milk 

Listening To: Hipster Pandora Radio

I’ve dreamed of this season for what feels like so long.

Ever since I was eight years old, I knew I wanted to be married.

But while other girls were dreaming up their wedding, I was dreaming of having a partner and a best friend that I could talk to, come home to, and go through life with.

I never imagined my wedding dress or what cake we would have. That’s probably why I am going pretty simplistic for this whole wedding planning process…

The most desired part of marriage for me was always who I was going to be standing across from.

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Grace Gatto Photography

I posted this photo of Brandon and I on Instagram a couple days ago, when we were exactly 50 days away from getting married. I talked about how engagement is full of so many beautiful things, but there are also so many hard things about the engagement season. Hard, but normal, things that might make us feel like we are wrong because no one ever talks about them. While things are seriously GOOD between Brandon and I, and we are anticipating this next season with a lot of joy, there has been a looming cloud coming from me. A dark cloud that isn’t even a part of the hard and normal things of the engagement season.

A lot of people say that fear and anxiety aren’t things that you actually overcome, but things that you learn how to manage effectively.

In the past 3-ish months, I haven’t been as effective at managing my fear. Really it’s been a struggle since December of 2016, but more recently the greater concern is there is another shoe that will drop, there’s something wrong to counter act this right. From counseling, I’ve learned that this paranoia, concern, whatever you want to call it, follows me because this is how I’ve lived my entire life.

It feels like the enemy has been working over time on me. One step forward doubles me over and before I know it I’ve taken 3 steps back. Some days it feels impossible to move. Impossible to not be afraid of going to sleep because you don’t know what is lingering in the shadows of you at your weakest. Things I’ve never been afraid of (and I’ve been afraid of a lot of things) freak me out now that absolutely shouldn’t.

Jennie Allen talks about how it’s always 3:00am. Why is it always 3:00am?!

It feels like at 3:00am is either when God tells me the most important things or when I am reaching for my Bible and stack of yellow note cards* in an effort to try to take every thought captive.

It feels like 3:00am is either when we are the most susceptible to the lies of our deepest fears or where we will remember God’s answers to our most important questions.

I’ve had both.


 

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Grace Gatto Photography

The best advice/encouragement I’ve received during these past few months is to enjoy this season. And to be honest, I don’t feel like I’ve been enjoying it as much as I should or could have been. The people closest to me have recognized that, or know how susceptible I can be to the thief’s schemes to steal my joy. So when Brandon and I were 50 days away, the Instagram post wasn’t just to say “YAY! We are 50 days away!”, but to give an explanation to my decision to cut out social media for the next 50 days (maybe all the way through my honeymoon).

If we want things to change, we have to be a part of the change.

We have to make decisions that solicit results.

And getting off social media was my good decision to renew my best self.

Right before I made this decision I saw my counselor. Consider this my personal plug that everyone should be in counseling at some point in their life. It is the best investment I’ve made into myself and my relationships. 

We talked about how this season for me as been consumed by worry, fear and doubt, that usually overshadows my joy and enthusiasm. Part of me feels like that the projected direction of my life is one that’s always trying to dodge bullets. Part of me feels like if I stop anticipating the hits, that’s when I will get hit the hardest.

Is that true? No.

Is God speaking that over me? No.

I tend to run overly serious. I process really deeply.

So my counselor told me these two things. She said, “all I want you to do for a week is to do these two things.”

  1. stay present
  2. be grateful

And when I am overwhelmed the simplicity of these two statements is the least I can do.

She also mentioned something to me this week that I think is so profound.

She said, “God doesn’t need to give you grace for this.”

At first in my head I said, “excuse me…what?”

But then as she went on to explain. We were talking about how I tend to take on other peoples circumstances and situations as my own. I’ll hear something heartbreaking and I think my way of empathizing has actually turned selfish, because I will start to place myself in their shoes to the point where I might subconsciously be believing that this is happening to me or it will happen to me in the future.

She kept telling me that God doesn’t need to give me grace for those struggles and He isn’t giving me the tools to deal with those situations, circumstances and scenarios because I’m not there. I’m not in them. 

The truth is that God is meeting me in my own struggle. And I have enough of them without taking on others, but I need to empathize with others and accept the grace that is being given to me for what I’m in right now.

Then she whispered something to me that triggered tears, that I’ve heard from other friends and mentors during this battle…

She said, “You will come out on the other side.”


 

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Grace Gatto Photography

My decision to get off social media was to draw a line.

Living in fear is exhausting and trying to predict my trials and tribulations is leading to distrust and suspicion in God, fear in death, and a lack of living.

Instead of giving the enemy permission and credit for stealing my joy, I am not going to be distracted.

Instead of going down the rabbit hole of what if’s, I am going to stay present and be grateful.

Instead of wishing away this season or waiting in anticipation of the worst, I am going to believe the best in God, and I am going to ENJOY the next 40-something days in awe of my amazing guy and praising Jesus for a perfectly written story and have gratitude for my hope and future.
And I am going to enjoy every day after that, giving the best version of myself, because this is the time to live.
xoxo,
Leste
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Grace Gatto Photography
* yellow note cards- when I was struggling with fear in the summer of 2015 one of my mentors told me to write down my fears on yellow note cards, stick them in my Bible, and then say it’s been handed to God. It’s super cool to pull them all out later and see what God has done and how faithful He is!

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