looking through me

Tag: vulnerability

praying with clenched fists

“[Hold] onto whatever you think your rights are—in your home, in this church, in life. Hold onto expectations, entitlements, offense and bitterness. Hold onto all the things you think you’re ‘owed’ by God, by your family, by this church . . .”

A list materialized in my mind: being heard, being valued, getting married, having my own home, being secure.

It wasn’t a list of obvious evils yet it surfaced as a series of unfilled expectations that had settled into unfounded entitlements and deep resentments. I’d elevated and worshiped my desires and created a whole shelf of idols.

But I am not owed any of those things: a voice does not guarantee an audience; value is not contingent on the appraisal; relationship and sanctuary come in many forms. My longings that had settled into assumptions were not meritless; they were simply built on a faulty foundation. I crafted them on the unsteady surface of self.

“Bring all that is clenched in your two fists to the foot of the cross—where the finished work of Christ is ‘enough’ … and release those things there.”

Clinging to privilege is exhausting. My nails bit into my palms; I swiped at a tear with a knuckle. As I forced my fists open the tension in my fingers exposed the rigidity of my heart.

I’d slipped into the straightjacket of “never enough” with shocking ease, but it took Jesus to unbind me and cloak me in His “enough.”

Flexing my fingers I felt the freedom of empty hands, the freedom to receive and build on a sure foundation.

 

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freeing fears

I live in my head; ideas, dreams and perceptions swirl inside me stirring up angst and insecurity.

I bury the chaos in silence, but saying it aloud shifts the camera angle. The giant, menacing wolf hounding me is only a shadow puppet—a toothless imposter. Turns out my fears have enough merit to catch the eye but not enough substance to stand up under the glare of truth.

That’s the scam of fear. It thrives in darkness. It lives on lies: I am the only one who thinks this way, who feels this way, who struggles this way.

Voicing my vulnerabilities I break into a cold sweat. But when I form them into words and expose them to light, I find I am not unique. There’s nothing special about my anxieties. Sharing is hard; but the second, third, twenty-fourth time I say them out loud I wonder how they ever held such power over me. When I release my inner soundtrack, I hear how I’d stacked my rough cuts against others’ final cuts. I compared my interior to their exteriors. And they didn’t match.

Isolation feels safe, but verbalization strips away the mystery. That’s why I need community. That’s why I need to know and be known. That’s why I need a place where we peel back our polished fronts and see our commonalities . . . even when they’re fears.

In the security of love I state what’s in me. As fear slips out, hope echoes back.

 

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