By Chisomo Kalumula
I remember when I was younger if there was ever a time I as afraid in my life. It was always during examinations period. I was genuinely always afraid of failing miserably even when I studied. The older I got I would hear my father tell me as I was about to take on an examination that I should not be afraid, that I should look at the word fear as a acronym meaning False Evidence Appearing Real. I was reminded that this is one of the ways to look at fear.
Fast forward now, I still have not gotten over these feelings of fear, actually now I am more afraid as I have the family and communities’ expectations on me. I have met all the necessary criteria but still have not achieved set milestones that I am meant to achieve at my age. I guess now the word fear has a new meaning in my life than that of false evidence. Now the word fear in my life can mean a self-imposed timeline to achieve certain goals, it can mean societal and cultural pressure and it can also mean peer pressure. (Yes, even in our late 20s, peer pressure is real.)
It bothers me that at my age, there’s just so much that has been achieved which my father achieved years ago. I am sometimes so confused and wondering if at all I am doing this life and adulthood thing right or if I am not ready for it. Additionally, I have had so much fall apart from prospective jobs to relationships to further study opportunities. All this pain has been overwhelming especially when it happens within one consecutive period, however all this pain has been a greater driver to continue to push on.
Over time I have learnt to accept what Murphy’s law states; “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.” A very harsh reality of life but not something we should surrender ourselves to, while I am aware that indeed things can go wrong, it does not mean that my entire future is doomed, rather it means that I should be more accepting of how unfair life is on this side of eternity. Murphy’s law encourages me to still challenge everything that can go wrong and to aspire to prove everything that goes wrong to be wrong. (I am also confused by that last part but bear with me).
I am encouraged to believe that while life will hand me lemons, it is what I do with the said lemons that matters. I am further aware that those are my lemons and no one else’s and that I should not bother to compare the lemons I have with those that my neighbor has. I should accept the lemons given to me in their full measure and figure out what I want to do with them and not what society wants me to do with them.
I am genuinely afraid of the future, primarily because I do not know what it holds but I know who holds it. I guess at the end of the day regardless of whether things worked out the way you wanted or not you are truly in safe hands and need to let go of that irrational fear or nothing. You need to know that you are doing your best and you will be alright. You need to assure yourself that even though it is pretty bad at the moment. You have been through worse and yet here you are. (I honestly know that I have.) So, I encourage to believe that whether it is a heartbreak, the loss of a job, uncertainty for the future or just the genuine life struggles and hurdles. You will be alright, as you go through it all remember what the Proverbs 16 verse 3 says; “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (ESV). Theres the formula to overcoming these irrational fears of absolutely nothing. Where do you commit your plans and turn to?