Conquering Fear: It’s a Process
Our relationship with Jesus includes relying on him to help us overcome the fears that hold us hostage.
Men. I’m 29 years old and sometimes the word still triggers me. In a moment, pain will stir in my heart and I’m reminded I still have healing to do.
I know all men are not created equal, but most of my life was spent believing that.
The first sexual contact I experienced was at the age of four, by a man. Then another. Then another.
I was convinced that the one man I desperately wanted to love me, my own father, chose alcohol over me.
He beat my mother. He beat my step-mother. I learned to mix his first drink at six years old. His friends, all men, were the same. They always smelled of whiskey or beer and I’m sure they only owned one shirt.
Not only was I struggling with my own view of men from an early age, but my mother was doing the same. Through her own disdain and fear of men, she was teaching me that men were evil. So far she had proved her theory to be true, so it was easy to believe.
I lost my virginity at a young age, assuming it was the thing to do. Isn’t that what so many of us believe?
I give a man what he wants and he’ll leave me alone.
In 2002, I woke up to the face of a strange man in my bed. I stood in the shower begging for the shame to wash off, but it wouldn’t. I vowed that day to never let another man near me for the rest of my life. I stood by that promise to myself for many years. Not only that, my hatred for men led me to pursue a relationship with another women. You can read more about that in my book.
It was safe and I was in control, so I had myself convinced.
On a cold December day in 2005, I walked through the doors of a church after an invite from my boss. There stood this gentle, large, gray-haired Indian guy, with a smile I had never seen before. He introduced himself, then hugged me. That day changed me.
For the first time in my life, I felt the safety from a man in the form of a gentle, innocent hug. I never knew something like that existed. Ted B. would be the first man I allowed to hug me, and through his words and actions, he would be the man who guided me to a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Fast forward to today. I’m almost 30 years old and last year I finally allowed myself to date a man. Words can’t describe how hard that was for me. I had to be vulnerable. I fought insecurity. I desperately wanted to feel safe, and at times I let myself.
But there were times the mere thought of letting a man kiss me would make me sick to my stomach.
The relationship ended, because through much prayer and fasting, God showed me he wasn’t the one. But the experience grew me and strengthened my faith.
I’ll admit I’m still scared. I know I haven’t worked through all my fears when it comes to being vulnerable with men. I still struggle to trust. I want to be in control. I want that guarantee that a man will never hurt me, but I know that isn’t reality.
So today, right here in this moment, I realize I’m still fragile. I know that vulnerability is an issue. I know that trusting a man is going to be a process, and I am believing God will send me a man full of patience and grace, who can understand my past and grow with me in my future.
Through my fears, I still desire a companion. A friend. An advisor. A leader. A husband. Safety.
And through my fears I trust God and vow to do it afraid.
About Jennifer O. White
I'm a simple wife who has discovered God's amazing gift of prayer. Here at Prayerfully Speaking I share my journey of unwrapping this gift. God invites us to ask Him, but His enemy works diligently to keep that from happening. I hope to offer you encouragement to believe God is ready to pour more into your life than you've ever imaged.