Spiritual Reflections

Of Confident Cowardice and Confused Courage

I admit: I am a big chicken when it comes to a lot of things.

I am afraid of cockroaches, or most creepy-crawlers out there. I can’t even touch a salagubang (amamanggi in Bicol, june beetles in English). The only insects I can probably handle are dragonflies, ladybugs, and ants. But I’d rather not.

I am afraid of heights (I can’t jump from a jeepney’s roof), afraid of deep water (because I can’t swim), afraid of boats (because I get paranoid that we’ll sink and I’ll drown), and after watching a horror movie (or reading a really gripping horror novel) — sometimes I’m afraid of turning off the lights (haha yeah).

I am afraid of being left behind, left alone, forgotten, neglected, ignored, under-appreciated, unwanted.

I am afraid of being hurt, of falling in love (again), of being intimate, of getting close to people, of letting people get close to me, of missing someone, or not be missed at all.

I am afraid of being misunderstood. I am afraid of being understood too well. 

Being a melancholic, it was easy for me to hide in a virtual shell. Most people seldom bother to knock and find out what’s going on inside. Some do care, yet it’s safer for me to retreat back, or distract them, or simply ignore. I am afraid of being let down. I am afraid of opening my heart and have it stabbed, broken, or kicked around.

It’s easier to walk around with an aura of confidence — like veiling one’s stench with a layer of perfume. I walk around quickly, letting them only catch a pleasing whiff, so as to avoid having them notice my horrible scent. The smell of insecurity. The smell of fear. The smell of cowardice.

Yet even in my fears, in my insecurities, in my cowardice — I still try to keep an iota of sincere confidence.

A confidence that God cares for me — especially when the world seems against me.

A confidence in my family — that no matter how scattered and far apart we all are, they would still recognize me, remember me, and treat me as one of their own no matter what has happened in our arduous history.

A confidence in my true friends — who will be there to pick me up whenever I just feel like wallowing in my mistakes and failures, or at least give me an encouraging/challenging (but painful) wakeup kick to prompt me back to my feet.

A confidence in my church and its leaders — who may not all know me well, but I’m sure that because of God’s grace, wisdom and guidance, they mean me well.

And a silent confidence in my self — not in my capabilities and abilities, but in this broken person whom God is continuously changing, fixing and renewing.

I am afraid, but I have to overcome.

I am afraid, but I need to push forward.

I am afraid, but I will press on.

I am afraid, but I must trust Him – my God – and live on, love on, and lead on.

I am afraid, but I am confident to finish my own race and win.

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