What are you afraid of? It's a question we've all been asked hundreds of times. Often we respond with pretty superficial answers: spiders, heights, the dark, or being ten minutes late for work for fear our boss will fire us. But if we get really honest with ourselves, our fears go far deeper than a dark room or a Daddy-Long-Legs. That was certainly the case for Michelle Aguilar, whose fight to face some of her deepest fears was broadcast publicly during season six of NBC's hit reality weight-loss show, The Biggest Loser.
"I think it was quite evident from the very beginning of the show that my biggest fear of all was struggling to appear perfect and strong on the outside when I was so broken on the inside," Michelle said. "It was during those months on The Biggest Loser campus when cameras were catching my meltdowns in very public ways that I had to embrace my imperfections in ways I'd never had to before."
Almost three years since she was crowned the champion of The Biggest Loser, 30-year-old Michelle continues to embrace her imperfections by relying on her faith in God.
"My struggle with perfection has been paralyzing at times. In fact it nearly caused me to cut my experience on The Biggest Loser short because I was scared to death of what people would think of me if they saw me falling apart," she said.
Fortunately for Michelle, faced with the choice between running away out of fear and the opportunity to change her life from the inside out, she dug deep and relied on the one thing that had remained a constant in her often chaotic lifeher faith in God.
"Most of my adult life, I'd been able to hide my biggest fearthat people would see my imperfections and emotional painbehind my big, bright white smile," she said. "And then during a physical challenge on The Biggest Loser that literally left a chip in my tooth, I suddenly had nothing left to hide behind."
Michelle explains that the night of the accident that chipped her toothsymbolizing a "chink in her armor of perfection"she lay in bed unable to sleep. She cried out to God for direction and asked him to show her the path to conquering her fear once and for allso that she could lead the life she knew he had planned for her.
God delivered in a big way, and Michelle woke up determined to face her fears, one at time, with God by her side. Michelle not only stayed on The Biggest Loser campus where she became the eventual crowned champion, she also started down an entirely new path of sharing the story of her struggle with imperfection with millions around the world.
As a featured speaker on the Women of Faith Imagine Tour, a multi-platform ministry through E 3 Partners' "I Am Second" campaign, and with her new book, Becoming Fearless, releasing in October, Michelle now spends her days sharing about the power of faith in overcoming fears.
"I find it highly ironic that God's answer to my prayer of 'help me overcome my fear' was to put me in a position to simply continue facing more and more fears," Michelle said with a laugh. "But I would expect nothing less from the One who has orchestrated such amazing things in my life."
And perhaps that is the lesson for all of us. Facing our fearsdeciding to move through our worries by relying on our faith in Godis where we will find opportunities to truly change from the inside out.