Have you ever been so focused on something that a friends approach, though normal enough, causes you to jump like their life’s purpose is to freak you out? You gasp and try to calm your pounding heart while they look at you with an expression that question’s your sanity and threatens to commit you all in one?
They had absolutely no intention of frightening you…but you can’t seem to convince your still sputtering heart.
Ironically enough, all too often, this unintended startling sets me a little on edge. I’m now determined not to be caught off guard or afraid, and as a result, pass the next few minutes on high alert, overly aware of my surroundings and questioning every little sound. I tell myself it’s vigilance, but in truth, the fear has simply taken a new form.
Metaphors aside (because for anyone who has read this blog previously, you know there is always a set up) I have realized just how much of a root fear has in my life. In my mind, I often like to consider myself like Lucy from the Chronicles of Narnia, ready for adventure, sticking my nose into random wardrobes and boldly facing down whatever obstacle may come my way.
If I’m honest with myself, I’m probably more closely related to Much Afraid in Hind’s Feet on High Places. An adventure has been presented, but I’m sitting taking tea with my fearing relatives, just about resigned to the idea that Craven Fear will be my future mate. I feel helpless and surrounded and as I hear the whistle of my Shepherd, I only fall into despair because I can’t work out the guts to run to him.
I never expected to wake up one day with the revelation that I am bound by fear. But then again, I notice when the small seed that has overtaken the garden of my soul was planted. Maybe when I was 6 and I told a girl that Jesus was the reason I was always happy and she looked at me with derision a first grader should not be capable of and said “You believe in Jesus…that’s stupid.” It was most certainly watered by the realization that my first completed book had been lost, never to be recalled. The loss of 14 year old me’s life work helped it grow. One thing after another subtly compounded; and what was my response? Be extra vigilant!
Build the walls, strengthen in the line of defense…or as Ivy’s sister whispered urgently in the Village “Don’t.. .let… them… in.”
Unfortunately, all that really accomplished was shutting myself in, alone, in the dark. It takes many forms, but often ends with me pulling back or walking away, afraid of what will come if I invest more, love more, try more or am more vulnerable.
Within my walls of self preservation, the fear had found the perfect environment to grow. My vigilance and determination not to give into fear has trapped me within its sick and twisted world—cut off from the source of light that can dispel the darkness that fear inhabits.
Over the past week or so I’ve been wondering what to do, how to break free of the root that has grown up to become the labyrinth I wander in. Surprise, surprise, guess who was all too ready to provide the answer? That’s right, good ol’ Holy Spirit. In short, if I’ve trapped myself within the walls of my own making and those walls have to be torn down. The vessel I’ve created to house my fragile heart must be broken so the fear can be drained by perfect love and reformed by the loving hand of my Shepherd.
I may see myself as broken and lame, but once the seed has been planted in my heart and I allow myself to become Acceptance with Joy, the biggest question I will face is which mountain to go leaping upon.
So, I’ll consider this the first chink in the wall…I’m afraid and I don’t want to be any more. *crack*
What do you fear? Why?