This year has been a battle for me. If you’ve followed along at all, you know my One Word for 2013 is trust. It’s not a word I wanted by any stretch of the imagination. I wrestled with God and tried to choose other words that would have made for much more noble endeavors over the course of the year. My struggle with trust has wrecked me in all manner of ways.
I’ve learned a lot about myself this last year. Not a lot of it good.
I don’t trust easily. And because I don’t trust easily, I don’t forgive easily. And because I don’t forgive easily, I don’t love easily or well.
Not the type of things I want to admit about myself. I would love to be able to say that choosing to trust has been easy. That God has allowed the circumstances in my life to strengthen my ability to trust. That all the things that have happened have only let trust become second nature for me. But easy is not my way. I feel as if from the moment I chose trust, I’ve been in a battle for my life.
Walls that I carefully constructed to protect myself and have taken decades to build are being taken down. And not in a peaceful, orderly, brick by brick kind of way. The way they were built. But with wrecking balls and dynamite. I have been running around with fear as my construction partner. Battling the falling, crumbling pieces. Desperately trying to put those pieces back together. All the while, fear whispering in my ear.
One thing you need to understand is that fear, while in some instances can be a powerful motivator, is also a deadly destroyer. Fear isolates us. From friends. From family. From the Father. With every brick that’s mortared into place, not only are we shutting people out, we are imprisoning ourselves.
Over the course of our lives, there are plenty of things to be afraid of. Fear of failure. Fear of not measuring up. Fear of being betrayed. Ultimately, the fear of being hurt. All things we want to be protected from. And in the beginning that’s exactly what our fear convinces us it is giving us. Protection. But the longer we give in to the fear, the less we are actually living and experiencing our own lives. We essentially become paralyzed.
I let my fear convince me that I was doing the right thing by not trusting. And because I wouldn’t allow myself to trust, I couldn’t truly forgive. And because I couldn’t forgive, I didn’t love well. It came to the point that I began to lash out at the people I care about the most. Fear convinced me that it would be in my best interest to hurt others first. And sadly, I have become quite good at it. Fear backed me into the proverbial corner and the only option I felt I had was to claw my way out.
There has been a situation in my life where God has been trying to break through the last stronghold fear has had in my heart. He has asked me to let go and trust the people he has placed in my life. To trust that in this situation, he has my heart in his hands. He sent me gently reminders of that daily. Every where, they were there.
“Let go, I will catch you. I always have and always will, have your heart in my hands.”
And basically, I have refused. The Father is always gentle, always graceful. Never trying to force me to do anything. It has always been my choice to make. I was paralyzed by my fear. Certainly, I would let go of a little, always keeping a part of my heart just our of reach. Retaining control. And in doing so, I have dangled hope in the situation only to grab it back when I felt my control slipping away. Fear has had me so convinced that I would be hurt I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. In the process of playing my little game with God and with those I love, I did get hurt. And in the heat of battle, I wanted those people to hurt as much as I have hurt. And I succeeded. I won! But in the winning, I quite possibly have lost everything God has been trying to give me.
I came across this quote in my twitter feed just after I had unleashed all manner of hell…
“If you want to keep [your heart] intact, lock it up in the casket of your selfishness. But in that casket it will become irredeemable.”
C. S. Lewis
So, I find myself mired in the ugliness of my own fear and selfishness. The shattered pieces of what God intended at my feet. Clinging to the tiniest glimmer of hope that nothing is truly irredeemable. I have nothing left of my own to hold on to. My only option is to trust that there is Grace for every moment. Grace for even me.