I’m a very private person (by “very” I mean “extremely”) and I really dislike talking about myself (by “really” I mean “really-really”). It’s a hard thing for me to get past when trying to cultivate my writing. Even so, I must. I must keep fighting fear. I must persevere. The war that’s raging inside me, between fear and obedience (and really living), must be fought. There must be a victor, and for far too long, it has been my fears. If I am to truly walk in the victory of all that Christ suffered, bleed and died and rose again for, I must keep fighting until all that remains is the person God originally created me to be. For my good, and for His glory.
And I know I’m not alone in this fight.
I can remember being barely a toddler, living in a fluctuating state of fear, abandonment, uncertainty, poverty, and loneliness. Even now, at the age of 42, I’m still able to recall vivid memories of situations that caused and perpetuated these feelings that over the years would grow and grow, to the point that they would become a part of me and my internal identity, as much as the skin on my body defines and shapes my external identity.
Being a natural introvert, and an internal processor, I keep things to myself, internally evaluating, sifting, thinking, sorting, understanding, and the like. I rarely share deep or personal things, but when I do, it’s a big deal to me because I consider the inner workings of people to be sacred, and when the are brought to the external, their value is priceless and should be cherished for the intimate expression of the person sharing the gift of themselves. These gifts must be handled with the utmost care. Whether their value is perceived and understood, or not.
So, in my case, an introvert/internal processor + lifelong abuse = a really messed up person. I’m currently in the process of healing and finding balance between how I’m naturally wired and not living out of pain and fear. Now, keeping that in mind, allow me to illustrate this for you.
Picture a sensitive, little girl who has all of her hopes, dreams, discoveries, and other personal treasures that reflect who she is, in a small, wooden, hand-crafted box. She carries it with her wherever she goes, right next to her heart. Often, she opens it up to make sure all of her special things are safe tucked inside. She takes thoughtful care of each and every possession, lovingly exploring all of their possibilities. She loves to share her treasures with others because she believes it’s a wonderful thing to be able to share the wonderful things life has to offer with those around her. One day, she innocently decides she has found someone who she should be able to safely show her collection to, but they don’t understand the value her trinkets hold. They only see a box containing a child’s trifles. So, they take her gifts and throw them away labeling them as trash. They see her offerings but can’t see their value or where the benefit to them is in these baubles of hers, so they toss them aside and shoo the child away. Then, over time, they get exhausted with it all and tell her to keep her treasures to herself and it’s not worth sharing her junk with anyone because no one wants to see them anyway. They’re worthless.
What the little girl hears is this, “The sharing of yourself and the things you prize is a waste of time. Because they have no value, no purpose, no meaning, neither do you.” And being an internal processor, she swallows each and every word like a hard pill, with no water to wash it down with. Over time, the little girl learns in order to avoid the pills she needs to suppress her natural tendencies and adapts to the cruel environment around her. In order to survive, she becomes another person, the person that those around her think she should be, the person that, as long as she plays the part they’ve given her to play, she will be accepted. Yet, all the while, who she really is and was made to be dies a slow and agonizing death.
As an adult, my life’s journey has been to find myself, who I am, and who God actually made me to be, outside of all the fear and pain. I became a Christian at the age of 19, which means for all those years (and until recently) it was as if I was living as someone else and didn’t know who on earth I truly was or how to come out of the cage I was trapped in. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m 42 now, and I am only now starting to feel like I’m actually beginning to understand, to realize things, and find myself. It has been a long, grueling journey, and a lot of time was spent struggling to not want to give up and just let it all go.
Even now, the proverbial record player still finds a way to play the scratchy refrain of, “You are nothing. You are worthless. You will never make it through this life and be someone that anyone else could care about. Especially if you keep trying to be anything other than what everyone else has told you you are. No one will like you if you change. No one will want to be around you or even acknowledge you if you’re different than what’s acceptable. No one will like you if you are the true you, which is a broken, stupid, ugly mess, so just STOP THIS NONSENSE, and get back in line.”
I know, trust me, I KNOW, how hard it is to read some of these things. Imagine how difficult it is to WRITE them! However, I’m hoping and praying we can all agree to come to the table of understanding and share our stories without criticism or judgement. That we can come together and listen, and try to understand one another, no matter what has shaped our lives.
Why? BECAUSE WE NEED TO HAVE THIS DIALOGUE. We need to make talking about hard things like this part of “normal” conversation. There are masses of wounded people walking around this planet who feel like they can’t say anything for fear of the stigma and misunderstanding associated with these kinds of things, and unfortunately, they’re right. What a sad, sad, travesty and disservice to humankind!
Something has to change! If it takes me baring the darkness of my soul, then, well, Lord Jesus help me, so be it. There. I did it. I went first.The only way any of us will find healing, acceptance, and understanding is if we lay down what we think we know and are willing to be taught by others things we have never thought of. I am so willing to pull my chair up to the table and listen. And when it’s my turn to speak, I will speak with the sincere love and honest compassion that God has used in my life to bring deep, life-changing healing and restoration.
So, how about it? Can we bring the dark things into the light? Can we talk about the hard things while being kind and compassionate? My hope and prayer is that these questions will be answered with a resounding, “YES!”. (Even if it’s on the inside.)
Soli Deo Gloria,