No Fear No Shame

I have long been a fearful person. This is not something I realized or could even own up to until very recently. I have often prided myself in being fearless; bold; daring! Not afraid to try new things! The first to jump in! Perhaps this is so in certain circumstances, but I frequently find myself making small choices, that if I really dig down and yank up the roots, I discover are driven by fear and/or shame.
This bothers me because I want so badly to be bold. I want to champion difficult causes and fight challenging injustices, but I am often too afraid to uncover what the issues really are. I do not want to know exactly “how bad” things are, and don’t you DARE show me pictures! The whole “ignorance is bliss” mantra is something I have lived out of on a daily basis. The less I know to freak out about stuff, the more peaceful and happy my existence is. Turn off the News, I can’t do anything about it anyways! Plus, how much of it is contrived, fear-mongering and how much of it is actually true, honest journalism?
In second grade I came across pictures of the Holocaust, and I lost my innocence that day. Gazing at image after image of emaciated dead (and alive) bodies, I discovered the salient evil people could exact and passively administer. I was haunted for months, had nightmares for days, and wanted to vomit upon the slightest hint of anything violent or perverse in the following years.
Anything violent utterly disturbs me. My insides literally turn over, and I feel a cold, sweaty horror creep over my body. I start to shake and feel sick, and beyond hope. I feel desperately inconsolable and physically like death. I feel the rend of Eden in the core of my being, and I am pulled into Hell’s belly.
My spirit knows with a visceral ferocity that Death should not exist; it was not part of the original plan. Oh how cauterized our souls have become to the snuffing out of life. War is now a game we play in our living rooms for hours. Violence is something we pay to see. Call me sensitive or irrational, but killing is never okay, real, imagined, sanctioned, or otherwise. It is a horrible reality of this broken planet, and a necessary EVIL at best.
So, how then shall I live? How do I engage with the current atrocities of the world in a compassionate and courageous way? How do I bear the light, love, and hope of Jesus in the face of mind-blowingly cruel realities?
I wrestle with these questions every day, and have found that taking a local approach is often most effective. I cannot fix the world’s problems, but I can love and serve my community better. I can address the homelessness, human-trafficking, domestic violence, abortion, sickness, child abuse, etc. that happens in my city. I can choose to live generously and lovingly with those I come into contact with on a daily basis. I don’t have to live in a foreign country in order to change my world.
I recently finished a book by one of my favorite authors,Paula Rinehart, and she discussed how “brave” people simply do things afraid.  “Fearless” individuals still feel fear; they just aren’t immobilized by it. The energy of fear can be focused into positive action. As a new mother, I need this encouragement every minute of every day. I don’t have to be afraid of the world my little one will be growing up in.
This past year shoved a myriad of seemingly impossible things in my path: childbirth, moving across the Pacific, multiple “traveling solo with an infant” scenarios, job insecurity, severe depression, getting back into performing, and yet… here I am. At the beginning of last year, knowing a few of the challenges coming, I chose to ascribe a hashtag to the year 2015: #nofearnoshame. I want to be a warrior for the truth. I want to fight injustice, and champion the cause of the weak, vulnerable, and voiceless. I want to make choices driven by unfathomable love and passion. For 2016, in every essence of my existence, I want this to be truer now more than it ever has before.