Awakening. Maybe reawakening is more like it?
With each new day I am searching, learning, discovering, re-remembering. Some days the journey is easy. The learning comes quick. Each new discovery and aha moments are gifts to be savored. Other days I want to shut myself up away and out of this world. The discoveries are hard - I don't like what I find. The aha moments do not come. I do not want to be on this path. I want the easy exit.
But there is none. When I decided that I needed to do this- when I decided to strip myself bare I knew that I could not go back. I could not turn around. I could not unlearn what I was learning. Could not give back the gifts. Could not succumb when the hard moments challenged me. I had to persevere. But isn't that what I have always done?
A sensitive child who turned into a sensitive adult who learned how to harden her heart and build walls to shield herself from the all immense feelings from both ends of the spectrum is who I am. Yes, my walls have shut out much hurt. But they have also shut out much joy. When my children tell me they love me I don't feel it with every bit of my being. Their hugs don't reach to my heart as they should. Their love doesn't seep into me fully. They can see this and I can see this recognition in their eyes. The dagger finds a way through one of the cracks in my walls and pieces my heart, but still I cannot bring down my walls and unharden my heart. I am teaching them how to build walls. And I hate the part of me that teaches them that walls are necessary to begin with.
Afraid that it is too late to help them tear down what they have started to build I cry out to God to help me. Please. Please help me to learn how to let down my walls. Please help me to learn how to lean into my life right here and right now. Please help me not to watch my own life passing me by too afraid to take part. Too afraid to make mistakes. Because in living with walls and living on the sidelines I am making more mistakes - catastrophic ones - than I would have if I would just lean into my life. To be a part of it. All of it. The good and the bad. The easy and the hard.
Oh, but fear takes hold of my heart. It is the making of the Devil himself, I know. And the voices scream in my head of all that I have done wrong. Of all that I cannot make right. Of all of the ways I am failing. The fear creates anxiety so deep I can physically feel its presence. It is like an invisible hand that squeezes my lungs causing me to grasp for breath. Anxiety cripples me.
The quiet within - the sweet voice of God - asks me to trust Him. And when the anxiety subsides I do trust Him. But... Do I really and truly trust Him in all ways? Do I trust Him enough to try and relinquish the control I think I have on all aspects of my life and give it all up to Him? Because if I say I follow Him - I cannot also have control. I cannot say I am a woman of faith with my words, but have my actions speak otherwise. Because that is what I do when I try and control every aspect of my life. That is what I do when I build walls around my heart. I am telling God that I don't trust Him. I am telling God that I know better than He which is why I must control my own life and the lives of those around me. I am telling God that He does not know better than I do. That I know best.
This is a lie. And listening to that lie is why I am where I am at right now. It is why I have felt the heat inside. It is why I burn within. It is why I am brought to my knees time again and with crippling anxiety about a future I cannot control and a past I have no business visiting again. Listening to that lie is why I have walls and hard places. It is why I feel the need to protect myself. Always. No matter who knocks at the door of my heart. All are enemies - even those closest to me.
But God will not stop pursuing me. And I may build walls and I may run, but I cannot hide from Him. But He knows how stubborn I am. And He knows that I will not submit to Him unless He has made the burden so hard that I cannot do anything, but cry out to Him and beg for mercy. To surrender. And He always grants me His mercy. And the lesson is not learned because I go about my life again full of plans and visions of exactly how everything will and should play out. But not this time. The older I get the more I feel the weight He places on my shoulders to break me. The older I get the memory of the agony that weight imparts into my being becomes like a tattoo. I cannot forget it. I am reminded of it every day. One day, if I don't learn to submit, that weight will kill me - not physically, but mentally. And so this time, this time, I hear Him loud and clear. This time I surrender...for real. This time I mean it. And in the real surrender I am trying to find the real me. All the while shedding layer after layer of this not real self. And sometimes I get a small glimpse of the bare skin underneath all of these layers. And I love what I see. This woman hiding beneath this heavy weight of expectations and compromises. I am so excited to meet her. Again. Or maybe for the first time. I am so excited to get to know her and to love her fully and completely and unconditionally. I am so excited to show her off to the world. Free and unguarded. But my glimpses of her right now are infrequent and lightning quick. I still have work to do before I uncover her for good. Hard work. Long work.
I do not believe that God never gives us more than we can carry. I believe that God always gives us more than we can carry, so that we learn to turn to Him for help in carrying our load.
So here I sit. Every day learning and relearning. Learning how to relinquish control as potential doors of opportunity close, not quietly and easy, but slam shut. Learning how to sit with this day just as it is. Not to worry about the future and what may or may not happen. Not fretting over the past and all of the mistakes I have made and all of things I would do different if I had another chance. Learning how to trust God's plan, not mine. Learning how to submit my stubborn will. Learning how tear down walls little by little, so that all that is left is just unguarded real me. Raw and exposed. So that I can feel the hugs and the words that come from my children. From my husband. Really feel their love and not reject it.
Learning to lean into my life. To feel it. To be there with it in that moment just as it is without walls and barriers is the journey I am on. There is not turning back. And I am glad for that because this journey is worth fighting for.
It is hard this shedding of protection. It is hard to unlearn years of lies. But I can see slow progress. And this progress is what keeps me going when another moment has passed and I have reverted back to old ways.
The Darkness doesn't like my faith renewed. He has kept my attention thwarted for so long that he thought he had me for good. He brings anxiety down on me tenfold in the most unexpected times and places. But always the quiet voice whispers, "I am here". And I know that even though there are dark nights I know that if I turn my face towards the heavens the sun will always rise in the morn. And I will never have to carry my burden alone.
Wild and free. True and real. Unguarded and open.