Internet Cafe Devotions
This week's question:
What is one thing that you feel you cannot share with another person about yourself? (You think if they knew this one thing or struggle that they may not accept you).
Ooooo, oh, ooooooh!! Good one!! Let's just "put it all out there," shall we?
I'll preface this by saying that I truly believe that the enemy looooooves it when we keep our struggles, our sins and our past mistakes all to ourselves. He especially loves it when we continually beat ourselves up over it, too. And he really, really loves it when we are too scared to face the issue head on, because, of course, that means we'll just make the same mistake again, then beat ourselves up over it again and yet again not face it...and the vicious cycle continues.
There is tremendous freedom in sharing our struggles, which is why I really appreciate this topic. Imagine the freedom we can all experience as we start "getting real" with each other!! Rather than just berate ourselves over it, we can share it and allow our sisters (and brothers) in Christ to help us confront it and deal with it, so we can move on with life! The enemy is defeated and we are victorious!
It is in that spirit that I will share mine. One word really describes it all, and is probably at the root of what many of us will mention in our answers...FEAR.
Yes, that's right...I am scared to tell people that I am afraid. How d'ya like that??
So what am I afraid of? Talk about a laundry list!! Yes, it's a plethora...and no, I never really mention any of them, except sometimes to my husband. I may express frustration over one of them every so often or mouth off about how I feel occasionally but over all, my fear about these things is never mentioned.
I'm afraid of: Getting into a traffic accident. Death. Losing someone close to me. That all my carefully planned out parenting practices are either wrong, don't really matter or both. That my husband will stop loving me. The future of our government and world. Terrorist attacks (I can't watch the show '24' anymore). Being tortured (weird one, huh?). Getting cancer. Persecution for my beliefs. Being abandoned. Losing my mental capacities. That my friends and family won't like me if they knew the real me...or knew what I'm afraid of! The list goes on.
Oh, yeah. And I'm afraid that this whole God thing is a farce. Whoooa, did I just admit that?? That's nothing I'd ever bring up to our home group!
And the thing is, I'm not incapacitated by any of these fears. I drive, I continue having babies, I live my life and do pretty much anything I want! And of course I know God is real! We have a daily, nay, moment to moment relationship, for goodness sake! I've seen His mighty hand at work in my life more times than I can count, I've felt that "peace that passes all understanding," I felt felt moved by the power of the Holy Spirit, I've grown just by reading His printed word...and on and on and on!
But. But there's this underlying, deep, dark fear sometimes. Just...every so often. Usually at night and usually when I'm sick. It creeps in when I'm feeling vulnerable or weak. It's how I felt the night my miscarriage last year and a feeling I have to fight off when even a strand of its ugly head come rearing!!
And no one except my husband knew about it. I went almost 31 years carrying it with me and bearing it alone. The fear changed as the years went on, but it was always there, lurking. Sometimes it would creep in after a scary dream or when something bad happened in my life or after watching a news story.
UNTIL my miscarriage in June of '09. I almost hesitate to keep mentioning it but it was my most recent spiritual turning point. The night the miscarriage started was a night marked by FEAR, and at the time, I had no idea of what was happening--I just knew how I felt. Soon afterward, while I was still processing it all, I talked about that fear I felt to my mom. I said the fear was the enemy attacking, like an evil hand gripping me. God won that night, by the way, and He has used the experience to change my life in countless positive ways. Anyway, she didn't like hearing it. I could tell she was scared, and I really needed her to be strong and I needed her help. She didn't like me "giving credit" to the enemy and wanted me to sort of "not think about it" and fill my head with positive thoughts, etc. She didn't really "get it," and she's a sharp lady and very experienced in spiritual matters! I think my fear scared her. I haven't brought it up much since, but we do talk a lot about guarding our thought lives, filling our minds with scripture, etc. I hesitate to talk to her about the other fears I have, for fear of scaring her! Funny how that works.
The only other two people I've shared with are two "spiritual giants" at my church, both of whom were in a small group with me during a recent Bible study. I told them about the miscarriage experience and how I am sometimes so fearful, sometimes even inexplicably and about things I know I don't need to be afraid of. And two things happened: #1, I felt so unburdened to have shared it with someone! One lady even commented that the enemy was surely feeling defeated that night and saying, 'Why did she have to tell?? It's so much easier for me if she keeps it to herself!' and #2, they prayed for me and still ask how I'm doing in this department. Amazing!! No condemnation, just sympathy, support and love!!
Besides one other spiritual mentor, the two ladies, my mom and my hubby are the only ones I have spoken to of my fear. And the main reason I don't share it with other people? I'm afraid of how they'll think of me once they know. That they'll doubt the validity of my walk with the Lord, that they will think me weak, that they will see me as immature and silly, that they'll worry about me, that it will cause them to become fearful in that area...there's a million reasons why I don't tell anyone.
But I am working on it and I am getting better. As I mentioned earlier, it is something I want to work on, to FACE, to confront head-on. Where does this fear come from? The general fear but also the fear of people's opinion?? It's a process, to get to the root of it and kill it.
I wonder how many other people out there are afraid to admit that they are afraid. I hope this loooong post will encourage even one person to admit it so that we can create a culture where it's OK to admit our weaknesses and it's OK to express our doubts and fears, without fearing condemnation or rejection. I don't want the enemy to win this one any more.
Here's to brutal honesty and having the freedom to do one of my favorite expressions: "Build a bridge and get over it!"
Thank you for reading! I look forward to reading the other entries!