I am not free. I remember this feeling from when I was younger. I was 16 or 17 years old and I attended church at least 3 times a week (there’s Bible Study, choir rehearsal, church services.) Sunday services were at least 5 hours spent in church in one day alone. I attended an A.M.E. (African Methodist Episcopal) church where praise was lively and boisterous. My family didn’t grow up going to church. Well, my grandmother (the matriarch of my household) was a God-fearing woman but as the years went on, she stopped forcing her children and grandchildren to subscribe to her faith. When I attended the A.M.E church, I used to have a fear that my mother would see me vigorously praising in church and that she would drag me by the hair out of the building. Because our family wasn’t raised like that.
I used to have that thought a lot when I was in a church service. It was a youth church, so the adults would sit towards the rear of the church…and I would imagine when and how I would be “yanked” out of the church. That fear never came true.
Fear is a common and popular sermon topic, it’s something I’m too familiar with– whether the threat was real or not. I always enjoy a good quote about battling “fears,” a good acronym, a helpful reminder on how faith should trump fear. Clever, but there is no step by step guide on how to conquer fears. Everyone’s road is unique.
Three decades on this Earth, and fear remains a personal battle. It’s fueled by doubt, the feelings of unworthiness, the unknown future. This is a big, bad, scary world. Sometimes, it’s easier to succumb to the thoughts. Some days are easier than others.
I’m in a mental prison…trying to free myself stone by stone.