My sophomore year in college I lived in a suite with three other girls. The rooms were set up as two bedrooms with an adjoining bathroom, but it was fairly common to “super-suite” the rooms so that all of the beds were in one room and the other room housed desks and a couch or some type of living area. We had done this to our rooms, but had the beds set up in a unique configuration that was the envy of the whole dorm. In all fairness, I can’t take any credit for it. Two of my roommates (Julia and Christina) had arrived a day or so ahead of me and Taylor and had managed to assemble a masterpiece of bunk beds, desks, and dressers. Three of the beds were triple bunked, but the middle bunk, rather than being directly between the top and bottom bunks, was lofted perpendicularly with one end supported by the top and bottom bunk and the other end propped on top of a dresser. The fourth bunk was lofted high on top of two desks with bookshelves so that it was even with the top bunk of the triple-decker and left room for two people to sit back to back at their desks underneath. Those two highest beds were so high up that after crawling into them, there was only 12-18” between you and the ceiling. To this day I cannot figure out how those girls did it without any help.
Being very accident prone and generally afraid of heights along with my propensity to get up and pee at least 2-3 times on an average night, I happily slept on the very bottom bunk all four years of college. Except for one fateful night. I had been at the library with my then boyfriend (now husband) until it closed at midnight. As I stood outside my door, digging through my bag for my key card a note on the outside of the door caught my eye. “Face your fears,” it read in Christina’s distinctive handwriting. Having no idea what this meant, I laughed a little. Big mistake. I went in and stumbled around in the dark getting ready for bed. I had pretty much forgotten about the sign until I made it over to my bed. Just as I was about to collapse into it I realized…there was someone in my bed. Christina. I tried to move her, but was unsuccessful. I shrugged to myself and climbed up a level to Taylor’s bed. There was someone in Taylor’s bed. It was Julia. I did not consider moving Julia because it had now become completely clear to me what was going on. “Face your fears.” This was what it meant. Shaking, I climbed up a level to Christina’s bed. And there was Taylor, sound asleep. Which left Julia’s bed, vaulted to the ceiling and still missing the extra long ladder we had ordered for it. I knew I had a choice. I could have turned on the lights and yelled. I could have pushed Christina over far enough to wedge myself next to her in my own bed. I could have slept on the slightly skuzzy couch in the next room. But this was my moment. Life had handed me an opportunity and I was going to seize it. I was born for such a time as this. So, I crawled over the sleeping Taylor into Julia’s bed in the stratosphere and wedged myself between the wall and my mattress, using my (thoughtfully provided) pillow as a barrier, should I begin to roll in my sleep. The morning came as mornings do and I woke up, stiff, but victorious.
There is a point to this story (I think.) I was reminded of it because in some ways I think God has been asking me to face some fears in the last few weeks. Fears about where we’ll end up, if we’ll have good jobs, if we’ll have enough money, if we’ll be happy. Even fears about God himself and whether or not he really is good, true, and faithful. Whether or not he really has a plan. Sometimes when you are confronted with a particular fear, you realize that it really isn’t as frightening as you thought it was (i.e. me and the really high bed.) And sometimes, you realize it’s every bit as frightening as you thought it was. But that doesn’t change the fact that deep down at a core level there are things that can never be taken from you. If the worst thing that you can imagine actually happened, then what? S
ee, a lot of my fears stem from the one big fear that I will not be allowed to have good things or that the good things I have will be taken from me. And it occurred to me as my husband and I walked through this decision about moving and jobs that I am trying so hard to hold on to my good things that I don’t even recognize that I already have the best thing. I have the love of a God who poured out his life for me, regardless of whether I am in a moment of belief or of doubt. Because even if I lost all of these things I so desperately fear being separated from—my husband (not that he’s a thing:) ), my home, my family, my friends, a career, living a place I love, dreams for the future—this I could never be separated from. Nothing can separate me from the love of God. Not even me.
We have decided to stick with our original plan and move to Raleigh. Although the other opportunity offered a lot more security, we ultimately didn’t feel a strong sense of God’s calling towards it. We are scheduled to move right after the Fourth of July, but the rest is largely unknown. Thanks to all who have listened and loved and prayed. You are all evidence that when God asks us to face our fears, he doesn’t ask us to do it alone.