The Fear Fight – Honorable Mention

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Fear took control over my life at a young age. I was never that child who played and hugged dogs. I was afraid of them and hid every time I saw one. During my elementary and middle school years, I had trouble making friends, fearing that they’d reject me. I’d let my classmates cut the line in front of me because I knew if I were to say something, they’d make fun of me.

So, I stood quietly, allowing fear to take control over the things I said and the many things I didn’t say.

Those fears were nothing compared to the ones I had in high school. Every morning before school would start, I would overthink about how the day would be. I’d skip breakfast because I was too anxious to eat anything.

When it came time for Physical Education, I was afraid people would watch me and make fun of the way I exercised. In my algebra class, I was scared to ask for help; I didn’t want the teacher to think of me as “annoying.”

It got to the point where I just couldn’t do it anymore, and enrolled at a school where I would go only a few times a week. It was exciting at first. The thought of not seeing anyone most of the time made me happy, but I made the mistake by distancing myself from reality. The fears only grew more and more as time passed.

Missing public school, I enrolled back at my old high school and was sure to finish my last years of high school there. Returning from the first day of school, I set out to pay my phone bill. I looked at myself in the mirror, focusing mostly on my face. The right side was drooping — or so I thought.

When I was 15, I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, a condition where one side of the face droops or feels weak. Throughout the entire day, it was the only thing I thought about. I moved and massaged my face, afraid that the drooping would happen again.

I’d ask my mom several times, “Does my face look different?” She would respond, “No, it looks like it looked before it happened.” I never believed her. I’d cry every night, afraid that something would go wrong, whether with my face or at school.

One night, I opened my Bible and prayed. A verse helped me a lot when it came to stressful and anxious times like this. Isaiah 41:10 said, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (NIV)

During those times of worries and anxiety, I had fallen off the path of the Father. That night I studied and prayed, remembering the day I gave my life to the Lord. He was that peace that I needed all along.

Now I plan to start college soon and look for a job. I do fear the future, but I know I have God right by my side, guiding me every step of the way.

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Lizette Ramirez was born and raised in Fresno, CA. Growing up, she and her family attended the Church of God (Seventh Day) in Madera, CA, and still do today. Lizette enjoys writing, reading, and spending the afternoon with her two cats, Ocean and Goldie.