Our Greatest Fear

This post is one that I  pray my words come out right. That you are moved in the same way that I was. That you read and you are nothing short of inspired.

This weekend I did not expect to be pushed or challenged. This past weekend at a retreat, I was anticipating a spiritual, but relaxing, experience. I planned to be be refreshed, not frightened.

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Then our speaker asked us: “what would you do if you weren’t afraid?” I tried to answer this, but I honestly couldn’t think of anything. Most of the things I want to do are just not feasible right now, because I’m still a student without credentials (or money). I didn’t believe there was anything I “feared” (other than the obvious, tragedy related things).

Then she read us a poem that turned that thinking upside down…

greatest fear

Wow. How many times have I thought, “who am I?” Who am I to make big changes or to try to influence others? Who am I to do things that will bring attention to me? Who am I to think what I say could make a difference?

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In recovery from anorexia and onwards, I was happy to simply be alive. I didn’t want recognition or attention. I was content with just being. This was fine for a little while… but then I began to minimize my story and experience. I felt like it was either irrelevant to those around or too typical for those afar. I felt like standing out made me further from everyone else. Who was I to think I was something special?

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But now I see how making myself small did nothing for those around me. My belief that what I had to offer couldn’t change the world led me to feel inadequate which led me to inaction. Allowing myself to get comfortable being “average” made me believe I couldn’t make a difference.

By minimizing myself, I actually minimized the value of the people I encountered. Maybe I can’t change the entire world, but what if my story and experience could change the perspective of just one person who is suffering? Wouldn’t my story and experience then be automatically meaningful, because who knows what that person will go on to do or be?

It is my light- the potential I have to be powerful- that is most frightening. Once this capability is realized, this light demands itself to be shared. 

I am currently about half through my journey to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. When I finally realized this career path was the one I absolutely had to take, I was very nervous. With my history of anorexia, even in my recovered state, I feared that people would think I chose this career path because I was still “disordered”. Yet, when I told people what my plans were, they often said things like “yes, that makes so much sense”, “you have to much knowledge to give”, or “this will be a great opportunity to help people going through what you did.”

When I heard these responses, it scared me. I didn’t want my career to be involved with eating disorders. I wanted to help people with things like heart disease, diabetes, and food allergies.

After this weekend, however, I can’t deny the itch I have to help individuals heal their relationship with food. I can’t deny the passion that burns inside me when I think of all the people still in the chains of an eating disorder. I can’t pretend that fire is not there.

It’s a beautiful thing to see how the things that once caused suffering go onto make good. Our suffering, our experiences- those things that make us who we are have the potential to bring a light of hope into the life of someone still stuck in the middle of it.

We have it in us to make the difference- we were born “to make manifest the glory of God that is inside of us.”

Go on, it’s okay to recognize the greatness inside of you.

“As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

What would you do if you weren’t afraid? 

Thanks Amanda for letting us think out loud.

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14 thoughts on “Our Greatest Fear

  1. Ohhh Kate, this is beautiful. I know I only “know” you through “blog land,” but just from everything of yours I read, I believe without a doubt that you would offer something very special to anyone struggling with food. Whether eating disorders becomes a focus in your career or not, your experience, compassion, empathy and knowledge are going to shine through when helping anyone.
    This made me think of some words by Julia Cameron:

    “We begin to sense our real potential and the wide range of possibilites open to us. That scares us. So we reach for blocks to slow our growth. Unblocked, we may be something much more threatening – happy. Being happy can be very threatening as a self-concept. We can become increasingly threatened as we become increasingly functional.” I’m not saying this is you. I just find it fascinating where a lot of our fears come from and the strength we gain when we don’t hold ourselves back.

  2. I can honestly say that I never considered that I was all that great or that I really had anything to offer the world. However, I do live in a constant state of fear of ‘not being enough or not giving enough’ so what you say makes sense. If I don’t believe that I’m good enough, I won’t try, and then people won’t be disappointed by me.
    I’m so glad that you are joining the dietetics field. You have so much wisdom not only about the physical natural of food (does that make sense?), but also the emotional aspect of food. You will be amazing in any field you choose, but I think you would help so many people who struggle with eating disorders.

    1. You are amazing! You are such a kind heart and wonderful wife/mother. I honestly feel like my life if better b/c I know you.
      I really appreciate your encourage- it’s the emotional aspect of food that makes me so passionate about it!

  3. Lovely post, Kate 🙂 I’m definitely my own worst enemy when it comes to keeping myself from progressing, and it’s a constant struggle not to give in to the voice that just tells me to sit quiet and not try to push myself further. But I know what you mean about that fire, because that’s exactly how I feel about helping people. It’s a beautiful thing to want to help others, and I think you’ll be amazing in your field!

  4. I think that fear of people’s opinions, fear of wondering who I am held me back for so many years. IT was only as I began to realize who Christ is and who God is that I began to understand the depth, the reality, the strength, the power of the purpose that I have in Christ, and it really made me GLAD. Realizing the joy of my salvation has been so freeing in the past few years.

  5. This is a beautiful post! The easiest thing that we can do is just sit back, and just do what is most comfortable. What really takes some guts is making the bold choice to live your life to its fullest potential.

  6. Beautiful post, Kate. You’re wise beyond your years (which is why I keep reading even though I’m several years older).
    As someone who is deeply afraid of failure (my head realizes failure is normal and is how we learn, but my subconscious is deathly terrified of being judged), I tend to hold back. Also, as an only child whose parents/teachers/etc probably offered too much praise, I struggle with the idea of being good enough or great versus being ordinary or untalented. Typical millennial, I think!
    You’re blessed to have found your calling, and from what I know of you simply from your blog, you can do great things.

    1. I appreciate you saying you read despite our age difference. I’ve always had a hard time finding my “place”. I’ve been an old soul, but I haven’t had all the life experiences to keep up with it.
      I feel like in a grade school I should have been made to fail more so I wouldn’t be in such fear of it.

  7. If I wasn’t afraid, I would give my all to running. I would work harder. I would try the bardest I could to be great (nutrition, workouts, media indluded). That’s what I would do.

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