Hey everyone! I hope you had an exciting weekend. I spent mine in Orlando with all of my family because…MY SISTER GOT MARRIED! Yup! They grow up so fast 🙂

I’m really excited for her, and everyone is thrilled to welcome her fiancée, Sammy, into the family. He’s been around for so long that he already feels like a brother.

It was a really great weekend, though. It’s never a dull moment when the entire Gaviria family gets together! There’s something about that feeling of togetherness that exists in Latino culture that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside…it’s the reason I’m so close to my family. Yeah, we might disagree from time to time, but the love is always there, and it grows stronger every time we’re together.

Today I want to talk about something completely different than happiness, love, and marriage, and that’s fear. Well, I guess fear goes along with marriage, but we won’t go there!

Anyways, I was at Catholic Bulls Night this past week and on occasion, we split into small groups to dive deeper into the topic of the night. This week’s topic was identity, and I heard the Bible study leaders share truly captivating stories about their self-identity quest. Yet, none of that stuck with me that night. Maybe it’s because I’ve been there and still am there. Maybe it’s because I’ve come to the same realization that they have, so I didn’t feel like I got anything new out of it.

But when we broke into our small groups and explored the topics a little more, one of my small group members brought up an interesting point…the one thing we are scared of in life is fear itself. I guess to put it in a more colloquial sense would be to say that there’s nothing to be scared of other than fear itself.

He expanded upon this by saying that when you think about it, everything that makes us anxious, worried, stressed, unhappy, etc. is due to a particular fear. Our quest in trying to find our identity is one driven by fear…the fear of not knowing who we are. Me being stressed out about grad school is a result of the fear of not getting in. When people are unhappy, it’s because there’s an underlying fear consuming their life, and addressing that fear is the only way to find happiness once again.

Why are we good people? Because we fear the repercussions. As a Catholic, I fear the consequence of Hell that arises from a life of lies and unfaithfulness.

When we start thinking about life this way, everything becomes a little daunting. It forces us to think…what am I afraid of? What’s going on deep inside of me that’s causing all of this unhappiness? Because the thing is that just one little worry, one little fear, can extend to so many parts of our lives. It can have so many consequences.

Take my grad school example. Living in this fear of not getting accepted, of not getting scholarships or a teaching position, of what these next steps mean is beyond mentally draining. I’ve stopped reading, which used to be one of the things that helped me find peace. I’ve had to cut down to one blog post a week. I’ve dramatically reduced the amount of time I spend with friends and family. I’ve grown stagnant, even regressed in my faith journey.

In reality, all the areas I grew in over the summer took a hit, and a big one at that.

And for what? So I can take my next step in life? What’s the point in taking this step if I have no one there with me along the way?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years though, it’s that I am the pilot of my own life. We all determine what our next steps are going to be and how we approach every situation that’s presented to us. I’ve made the decisions that got me here, but I’m the one that messed up.

The truth is that we are all going to mess up at one point or another, but the key things are that we…

  1. Recognize that fear.
  2. Learn from our mistakes and confront that fear.
  3. Ask God for the grace to live every day as He would.

It’s only through those three things that any of us will ever make it through the journey of life. So don’t fret, but find joy in the fact that with God’s guidance we can overcome the fears that plague our lives and find the true happiness He’s promises us.

I’ve started making more time for my family and friends. I’ve started sleeping more. Most importantly, I’ve started going to Catholic Bulls Night again and giving God the attention He deserves. God’s got a plan for me. I hope it includes grad school, but it’s His will not mine.

Practicing this is a journey though. I’ve got a lot of ground to cover, but I’m confident I’ll make it through…and so will you!

So I ask you, what are you afraid of? What have you been neglecting? More importantly, what are you going to do about it?

As always, thank you for reading! Don’t forget to like, comment, and share. I’ll talk to you next week 🙂

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~ Nelson Mandela

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