Healthy Soul/Lessons Learned/Living Out Your Faith/My Life/Teen Life What I Learned About My Faith by Getting Rejected by a Girl by Dillon Duke There was a point in my life where I liked a girl. Okay, let me be more specific. I was head over heels for this girl. I was simply amazed by everything this girl did, whether it be show incredible grace and patience, or just simply smiling. For the long time that I liked her, she knew that I liked her… and I did a whole lotta nothing about it. I would phase out in U.S. History and just think about how cool it would be if her and I [insert couple montage that’s on equal level of Mozzarella in terms of cheesiness]. But it wasn’t until I got the pep talk of the ages from my friends that I decided I would actually ask this girl out on a date. I had run this scenario so many times in my head. In some scenarios, she said yes, followed by me getting a congratulatory phone call from the Pope asking if I want to hang out this weekend. And in some scenarios she said no, accompanied by the most angst-filled phase of life anybody has ever seen. The point is, I spent an embarrassing amount of time thinking about the “what if’s” and talking to my friends about her, but I never actually did anything to solve it. Whenever they told me to just do it, I shut down. To me, if I asked her out, and knowing how awesome she was, it would probably be a no, my perfect future would then collapse and I would be a bum who would have Ed Sheeran playing on repeat to get over her for the rest of my days. Here’s what actually happened. She very respectfully and nicely said no… and I was still breathing. Colleges still accepted me, my friends didn’t think of me as a failure, and my Sheeran listening session was around an hour or so. Did it hurt? Well, yeah. But it finally happened. I could finally stop wasting my time being scared of what might happen, because now I knew what did happen. And that’s the point I’m getting at. We cannot let fear control us. That goes for everything. Whether it be asking your crush out on a date, or asking your boss for a promotion, the fear of rejection cannot drown out your excitement about whatever might be out there. If the “what if’” questions you ask yourself are followed by a negative future, do it. If it’s positive, do it. You won’t know what will happen unless you try it. It’s natural to fear. Fear is actually a sign that we can recognize possible dangers, a key aspect to… well… being human. We should acknowledge fear, but not bow down to it. Fear drives out any excitement, curiosity, and imagination, creating a shut-off perspective on the world. And this idea isn’t exclusive to teenage boys who listen to Ed Sheeran. Every person has fears, and those fears turn us away from amazing things. One of the greatest things that humankind ever accomplished was sending people to the moon. It’s a feat that brought us one of the most iconic moments in American history. And the American people were scared. In fact, even when the shuttle launched in 1969, half of the American people didn’t even approve of the U.S. investing in this Space Race. But it seems that every fourth of July, it’s the top highlight it “America’s best plays” montage on TV. Weird to think that such an amazing thing in American, technological, and human history was just too scary for some. I’ve found that fear is especially prevalent in our faith life. As a Christian living within a secular society, it sometimes feels as though everything we do is observed under a microscope. Even if you do something as small as say “God bless you” after someone sneezes, it’s not rare to have the entire student body/work staff looking at you as though you just had screamed at the top of your lungs the homily you heard last Sunday. Wearing a retreat t-shirt puts more eyes on you than people who know your name, and genuflecting might as well be you doing an entire Shakespearean one act play in front of anyone you’ve ever met. We’re scared to give up something to God because we don’t know what will happen. Whether it be time, His will in our lives, or even saying a quick prayer before lunch: the unknown scares us away from some of the greatest things we can ever be a part of. The fear of not being good enough, the fear of being pushed into something you’re not okay with it, the fear of being vulnerable, pushes us back from the memories that would last a lifetime. Being rejected by that girl may have hurt a bit, but it taught me that even if I fall flat on my face after doing something radical, the “fall” isn’t as bad as I had imagined. The “worst-case scenarios” in my head were so incredibly exaggerated that I was too afraid to do a lot of things I wanted to. Now, I’m much more courageous, especially in my faith life. Instead of succumbing to the fears in my head, I’ve learned to challenge them. For example, if I was scared that my classmates would mock me for my retreat shirt, I would make sure to wear it proudly. Did I get stared at? Was I ridiculed? Sure. But not nearly to the level that my fears had led me to believe. While that may seem like something small, it was important nevertheless. Take the nearest opportunity available to be bold. Whether it be portraying Jesus in skits on many occasions, being extremely vulnerable with several groups of teens by giving my testimony,or even wearing awesome retreat shirts, I’ve been so incredibly scared that when I do something, everybody who even hears of it will proceed to make me the laughing stock for being a “Jesus Boy”. But I have to recognize that living without those memories would’ve been huge regrets. So many stories, lessons, and friends have come from the chances that seemed the scariest. Our comfort zone of faith needs to be pushed everyday if we’re ever going to do anything truly special for our world that desperately needs it. So to close, be bold. Don’t bow down to your fears. Seize the opportunities that He places in your path, no matter what the voices in your head tell you.