When it sneaks into facets of your life. Unpredictable, invasive, worming it’s way through healthiness and systematically degenerating the fruits of living.
It can be different for everyone – what fear affects. What its triggers are. How heavy or fleeting it can settle.
Deep breath and truth time: for me it’s intimacy.
In any form. In all types. Friendships, working relationships, acquaintances. If you’re a person I could interact with, I’m afraid of you.
In its myriad of levels and forms, the connection and inescapable bareness of self to others is a trembling reality that is ever-present in my days.
Though personal experiences could be listed under past happenings which give name and influence to the anxiety of intimacy – disapproval, disdain, casting aside, voiced opinions of how I could be more tolerable, being shut out, left – these experiences are not reasons.
Because the only reason that matters – the only one that holds the weight of it all – is the fact that this world is broken.
Sin is prevalent.
People hurt people. We are all of us imperfect. Speckled with flaws.
It cannot be avoided altogether, though do not mistake me, it can be lessened.
We can choose how to treat one another. Which voices get to be heard. What edification can overpower. What bravery looks like.
For me, bravery has looked like trust.
It has felt like obedience.
It has listened as whispers of wisdom.
It has tasted both sour and sweet.
Bravery isn’t based on the outcome. Bravery is based on the act.
And it’s not brave if you’re not scared.
Fear is an imprisoning quicksand. If I stay in it, I’m sunken deep and tightly trapped.
That’s more than imagery, it’s history.
If you’ve met me, you know that it isn’t difficult for me to meet people, to smile and be open and introduce myself and make friends. That’s the easy part. I won’t pretend I don’t enjoy it, take the opportunities I come across to do such things and it makes my heart full.
Where the darkened corners and trembling comes from is in letting the intricately built and fortified bricks come down. It comes at the sight of a the smallest crack in my curtain wall
. A weakness in my carefully constructed defense.
Because I smile, doesn’t mean I’m not shaking at the thought of showing myself – and being seen, measured, found lacking, and ultimately….well…it happens. It happens to more than just me. I’m not the first, I won’t be last. And as long as I’m away from Home, I’ll be seen and left so many more times by the same imperfect people as I.
There is no defense against it. Because I can tell you, walls do not keep the voices of mockery and judgment out. Walls just lessen the amount of voices to one.
If you hear something enough times, you start to believe it.
And the bad stuff tends to be easier to believe.
Still, there is healing. There is choosing. There is a way to repair and there is a way to let the bricks come crashing down to ruin.
Its existence is the key to growth, maturity, healing, discovery.
Its absence is the propellant of misunderstanding, distrust, hurt, fracture and loss.
Trust me. Ask anyone else who has endured the contrasts of with and without. Communication is the tool of the discerning and loving heart. And let me be clear and transparent: I do not do this well most of the time myself. I am not placing blame or calling out any other. I repent of the times where my reasons, shallow or paltry as they were, kept me from speaking when I should have spoken, and listening when I should have heard.
The days I have breath are the days I continue to learn how to be the best version of myself. How to love others better, dispel lies swifter, lean harder into His grace. They are the days where work is needed and flesh is still kneaded so my refinement shines brighter and His Spirit stays longer in my bones.
The days I have breath, are the days I will still find shards of fear embedded in my heart. I will still act out of it, believe from it, cry because of its influence. But with each turn in the fire, I will become more pure and I will become more like Him.
So I do not wish to never fear again. For it teaches me how to behave bravely. It teaches me to abide.
And in the moments where the hurt speaks and lingers, I will mourn – but I will rest. I will bury myself in the communication of His doing, His words, His influences in my life who are stalwart roofs during the rainy seasons. The people who stick. The Body that bands together. All of us imperfect, still learning how to lift one another as more important than ourselves. I am held by the hands, steadied by the feet, embraced by the arms and emboldened by the mouths that speak lovely – that brave to speak at all. I am taught how to grow.
I am given every freedom to open the wall.
May I learn each day, how to be.