I will not be afraid.

I will walk through the fire. I will not be afraid. They can take everything that I have, but they can’t give me my name (The Classic Crime, “My Name”).

I so desperately want to be fearless not because I want to be bold but because I simply want to be me again.

I want to be the child I was–the bold one with dreams and imagination and words and dances and ideas. I don’t know what happened, but in the midst of growing up these past couple years, I forgot what it meant to be me, to be Kelsey. Truly, fully me. I closed up. I do not know why, but I do know it is frightening to not know who you really are.

I have always carried anxiety in tow, and part of me knows that it will probably never fully be left behind. And I can grapple with anxiety. I can fight it hard and send it scampering away.

But fear… Fear is another thing entirely, and it’s a foe I am so much less equipped to fight. And it had made itself home in my heart.

I don’t know how it happened, but one day in the recent past, I must have awoke afraid, and here I am tonight, still afraid. I once dreamed brave dreams, and I wrote them down in journals with tear-stained pages, and I chased after things that brought my soul to life, and I didn’t care if I wasn’t the best because I just wanted to be there, doing and living and being a part of my dreams.

They are simple dreams. To write. To teach. To love. To inspire. To feel fulfilled. I had every confidence that by this time in my life, I’d have accomplished them all.

And now I just dream of getting by. There have been times where that was truly all I could manage, and that is okay. Staying alive is a worthwhile dream to pursue.

But now I’m out of the valley of the shadow, and I’m ready to fear no more. I’m beyond the dark places, I have clawed my way through thorns and bristles, and Jesus has shown himself to be as loving and gracious as he has always said he is. Yet I am still as crippled and perturbed by the world around me as I was in the dark. With light all around me, with Christ’s hands clasped in mine, I am so unsure. I’m afraid to lift my eyes. I dare not.

And why? Why can’t I lift my eyes? Look around? Take it all in? Move forward? Trust? What am I so afraid of?

Falling. No more do I dream brave dreams. I dream of falling. I don’t recall dreaming of falling very often in my life, but I do now, and I sometimes wake up in terror before I realize it was not real. That I am in a warm bed. That I am safe.

There are days that the same fear follows me all day, and I am anxious to be out in the real world where falling is not just a dream. I want to be home, in my room, away from risk or change. I want a bed and sleep–dreamless, thoughtless sleep.

But I always have to wake up eventually, sometimes to face a fearsome day, and to confront fears and anxieties. Some days I conquer it all. Some days I just get by with enough. And maybe that’s okay.

But I want so much more. I want my dreams to be that of my childhood. I want what young Kelsey wanted. I want to write heavy words, to read plots of victory and vulnerability, to teach, to inspire, to love, and to grow. And I want all of this without a dark shadow of fear latched to my person like a terrible, deprecating shadow.

Put simply, I want Kelsey. The real me. The fearless me who followed her Savior and trusted the gifts and opportunities He had for her.

Fear is heavy, and it’s the kind of anchor that makes itself a noose around your neck. It pulls you from the surface, deep down away from the light, and it’s a fight to make your way out of the more. I want out of the mire and muck.

I can see the surface; it’s just at my fingertips.

I am held, and held firmly in hands that are stronger and more sure than I can fathom. He has pulled me out of deeper depths, and He will never stop calling my name.

To Him, I have always been Kelsey, and He will always bring me back, cut loose the noose, and walk with me toward whatever path.

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