My Fear of Growing Up

I was standing in our small 6”9 living room, in our old gray farm house, looking up at my dad, when I said in a very convinced tone, “I am not going to graduate when I get older.”

I was 5 then. A small bundle of joy with cute cheeks and a personality that was intense. Oddly enough, even though it was such a long time ago, I remember that conversation I had with my dad so clearly. It was the day after one of my brother’s graduation. Very sunny out, happy feeling, and the house was decorated with balloons, and congratulation banners for my brother's graduation from high school.

My dad and I were having fun making silly noises with the helium from the balloons. I, however, was forcibly trying to make that high-pitched voice without letting go and letting the helium take full effect. “No Peter, just talk normally.” My dad said as he gulped in a bellow of air. “See I am just talking normally and my voice changes.” This time his voice was like a Christmas chipmunk and made me giggle.

I tried and tried and seemed to not fully grasp this intriguing concept. After letting out the air in another balloon I had in my hand, I suddenly got serious when I recalled the last night's graduation ceremony. “Dad,” I said as I looked up at him now in a more intellectual, matter-of-fact kind of way.

“Yes?” he replied.

“I'm not going to graduate when I get older.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t wanna give a speech in front of so many people.” You see, I had thought that in order to graduate you would have to give a speech of some kind. Public speaking terrified me. I was consumed with fear--I would not graduate, and that was that.

My dad gave a very warm smile and simply said, “I think you will change your mind when you get older.”

“No I won't,” I said, convinced. Little did I know that 13 years later I would not only be graduating high school, but I would also be giving a speech.

My point in bringing this anecdote up is to talk about fear. Fear has a way of making us believe we are incapable, or even unwilling to do something. Public speaking is many adults' worst fear so you can see why a 5-year-old might have some hesitations about it as well. But I was failing to let go, failing to trust God, not believing he would take me where I needed to go. Like with the helium, I was trying to make my own silly noises, instead of letting go and speaking plainly. I am still terrified of public speaking, but I am also terrified of my future. Will I be able to make it in photography? Will I be “set” in a few years? Will I have a clear vision of the future? On and on my mind can race, and think I won't be able to do what I need to do when the time comes. But I fail to trust my God. I fail to give Him the glory. I am afraid of failing.

However, I can trust in something greater than myself. I can focus on Him and not worry about falling down. Stop playing defensively trying to control everything. Rather, focus on God, put all your trust in Him and he will become your defense. He will be your full suit of armor. Sing loud, talk with confidence, eat well, play hard, be diligent, kick butt, and in the end may He get all the glory!