I found myself sitting in a busy Starbucks, overflowing with new students from all around the world who were just exploring the uncanny world of “coffee dates.” It’s like this unofficial rule that before you can hang out with anyone, boy or girl, you first have to go to coffee with that person where you have awkward conversation revolving around topics like how you got to Bethel, what your biggest dreams are, and Africa.
As I eavesdropped and people watched, as I so gloriously love doing, I was quickly brought back to my first few weeks here in Redding. It was a nightmare. My housing fell through two days before arriving, my beloved Volkswagen Beetle decided to take a little expensive nap (the transmission died), and I had lost $500 due to what one could call a housing scam. The day I arrived, I remember walking to this same Starbucks in the Redding heat wondering if I had just made the biggest mistake of my life. A lot of my first year was spent walking (because RIP VW Bug) to either Starbucks or the Prayer Chapel where I would lay in silence as thoughts of fear and defeat swung at me.
I had no idea why I was here. I had only recently learned of Bethel just the year before and I couldn’t fathom how I was going to make it out of first year alive.
Throughout that year, I began understanding the differences between what fear spoke and what truth spoke. Whenever I would begin spiraling down that path of worthlessness and confusion, I began taking those thoughts captive and saying, “I will not partner with fear.”
That phrase became a sort of a walking stick for me. I would learn on it when I needed strength and use it to combat anything that tried to attack.
So, fast forward and now here I am. Sitting in the same Starbucks listening to the new and fresh students share similar stories of their journey here. Honestly, I was eavesdropping more than I normally would and I wondered why I was avoiding what I was there to do.
I had gone to do some writing and research for a book that I am helping someone write. Every time I would go to write, thoughts would begin flooding me,
You’re a joke.
You’re not even a writer.
You’re completely out of place.
You’re going to fail so badly and she will regret asking you to do this.
I sat in front of my laptop, tears beginning to fill my eyes as I allowed fear to give me a brief history lesson on my past. Just five years ago I had wanted nothing to do with the church and I spent all my time partying and entrenched in bulimia. What made me think I was qualified to be sitting next to someone whom I have so much respect for and be helping writing a book on health and wellness?
I wiped the tears from my eyes and did a quick look over around Starbucks to see if anyone had noticed. It was then that I realized that I had just allowed myself to become a victim to fear without even realizing it. I sat for a moment as I began gathering my thoughts and couldn’t help but laugh (to myself. I didn’t laugh out loud because people would surely talk about me). I recited my go-to phrase in my head, “I will not partner with fear” only to quickly hear God say back “Partner with the promise.”
You see, fear was right about something because the truth is that I’m not qualified on my own to be doing anything great with my life. If God was fair, I would be living a sad and hopeless life as a punishment for sin. But God isn’t fair. In fact, he’s so unfair that despite spending years of my life running away from him, He chased after me with uninhibited passion. When he finally caught up to me, He didn’t send me to time out. He cleansed me and looked me in the eyes and said, “Now, where were we? Let’s make your dreams come true.”
Sometimes the enemy will use what seems like the truth against you. But God is the ultimate truth.
Don’t partner with fear. Partner with the Promise.