All I could hear was breathing in my head. The two giant muffs protruding from my face made sure of that. And I felt so out of place. A girl from the suburbs with muck beneath her Converse, wearing those bulky earmuffs and safety glasses… who did she think she was? Out there clasping that cool metal pistol between her palms and with her finger on the trigger no less! Who did she think she was? Brave? Capable? Powerful? The breaths came out ragged between my teeth. Close your mouth. I thought. Before this thing goes off and you chomp into your lip. So I pushed my tongue down to feel my pulse beating steady in front of it. Wrists shaking, feet apart, one eye closed just like they told me… my shoulders ached from the tensing and my vision blurred with white fear. And I pulled. Slowly, steady, waiting for something to happen. BAM!!!! The open space became a cave surrounding me as the silence shattered into invisible glass. The rush washed over me and my shaking hands fell at last.
“You missed.” Said my uncle bluntly.
But I didn’t care! BECAUSE I SHOT A FLIPPIN’ GUN! It was something I didn’t think I could do. Something that even the thought of was intimidating. But I did it. I took all of that power in my hands and I used it. I got better at it the more rounds I fired, much to the surprise of my uncle, brother, and dad. But even hitting the bulls-eye couldn’t compare to the exhilaration of that first shot!
Despite the name of this blog, I am not a fearless person. I’m the girl who can’t squish a spider, give a nerve-less speech, or take the elevator without saying a prayer first. I don’t like planes, or boats, and anyone who goes swimming in the ocean is, in my opinion, looking to be on one of those inspirational shark attack TV shows. And when I’m honest with myself, I know that the one and only reason for all of this fear is my desire to be in control. Why was I afraid to shoot a gun? Because what if it kicked back too hard and I couldn’t control it? What if I was too weak to handle it and the bullet struck more than a cardboard box?
My desire for control is also exactly what led me to obsession over my body and food intake. When outside circumstances were beyond my control, I unknowingly turned inward. If I couldn’t control what happened to me, then at least I could control my body. But control turned quickly into imprisonment. Cutting out added sugars became cutting out ALL sugars. (Even fruits and more sugary vegetables like carrots) Running a couple of miles a day became running 4 or 5 miles, which would have been fine had I been eating carbs and had I not been literally rearranging my life to fit in my runs. Wanting to be fit became wanting to be skinny, wanting to see my hip bones, and wanting my legs not to touch. When someone would comment on my weight-loss I would get defensive, but then secretly feel proud at the less-ness I had accomplished. And it broke me. Made me feel trapped. I went from not even being aware of my body to over-analyzing every inch until I just didn’t want to live inside of my own skin anymore. I ate less and less, ran more and more, and when the chains of my control would finally break, I ate, and ate, and ate until I couldn’t see straight.
Coming out of that took a lot of prayer. It also took me admitting what I was going through to other people so that I had support. And it took some bravery too. Bravery to cast the control from my hands and trust my body to be what it is going to be. It’s so ironic that our desire for control is sometimes the exact thing that makes us LOSE control. I didn’t feel I had the freedom in my life to say “YES!” to ice cream. When my friends wanted to hang out, I couldn’t do it because I had to run that night. Does that sound like a person who has control or a say in what they do?
Ultimately, I had to lay this struggle in God’s hands. He had to take back the control that I had tried to steal from Him. Instead of running off my troubles on the treadmill, I took them to Him. Instead of hating my body, I learned to love it for the vessel of worship and service that it is to God. And today I celebrate the victories that have been won for me in my mind. I still have rough days sometimes. Days of not liking how I look and wanting my squish to be gone and thinking about eating a little less. But it’s in moments like today, when I shot that gun, that I’m reminded of how far I’ve come. Letting go of the control bit by bit until God can have His way with me. When I’m afraid to pull the trigger, He says “Do It. I’m with you”. And when I finally do, when the force kicks back and the sound echoes out, I’m left invigorated, changed, and even a little fearless.
2nd Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.