The concept itself challenges me. I just completed four years of college, where I learned to be independent and self-sufficient. I prefer writing a paper or taking an exam to working on a group project. I would rather just do something myself than explain to somebody else how to do it, because, often, I think only I can do it right.

I’m constantly asked, “What are you going to do with your life?” Maybe the better question would be, “What does God want you to do with your life?”

“Be not afraid” tells me that I can’t do anything alone. Maybe it’s not all about me, but all about God’s plans for me. It’s difficult to combine that understanding with my stubbornness and independence.

Plus, there’s the fact that I’m constantly afraid. There are the usual phobias: heights, small spaces, unknown noises in the night. Then there’s my shyness, and my love of My Comfort Zone. It’s a great place and a horrible place to be. I struggle to leave My Comfort Zone, to meet new people, to try new things. What if I don’t want company on this walk? What if I’m OK with just being afraid?

And then come those three words reverberating in my head.

It’s a scary thought: Maybe nothing is entirely in my control. But I guess that “be not afraid” is also pretty liberating. I have nothing to fear? Really? I guess I can get used to that. If God will help me do what I’m meant to do, then I guess I could attend that event. I guess I could introduce myself to that person I’ve never met. I guess I could go to that party where I only know one person. I guess I could baby-step out of My Comfort Zone.

This column will chronicle my adventures in being not afraid. It’s a journey most young adult Catholics embark on during and after college. I hope that I can gradually learn to open the door to God more and more, and open the door to new experiences and friendships.

I’ll also use this column to tell you about events in the Milwaukee area catered to young adult Catholics. If you have anything to share or an upcoming event about which you want people to know, feel free to let me know.

My post-college journey began a year ago, but it really begins now, as I learn to be not afraid. I know I’ll get discouraged and stumble. I’ll second-guess myself, get embarrassed, and sometimes fail. I’ll want it to be effortless, but it will be a struggle. I’ll want it to be immediately gratifying, but it will take time. But I’ll get used to it, and I’ll have a blast along the way. Milwaukee will become My New Expanded Comfort Zone!

So the next time I hear, “be not afraid,” hopefully, I really won’t be.

(Dolan is a member of St. Mary Parish, Elm Grove)