Forewarning: this is a sensitive one…
Maybe you’ve noticed my absence in writing lately. I’ve honestly been trying to avoid this post and I haven’t been able to write anything else in the meantime…but I can feel the Holy Spirit whispering “write this out!!!”
So I’m going to be obedient — here we go…
“Why do you care what anyone else thinks about you?” she asked, almost begging it out of me with deep concern.
My eyes zeroed in on hers and my words went something like this as I revealed to yet another friend my very real and ongoing personal struggle , “I don’t know, I guess it goes back to my people-pleasing motives. As much as I want to think it doesn’t, I suppose the sexual abuse from my childhood probably messes with me still, subconsciously…and that’s why I’m bothered if I think someone has a problem with me.”
That conversation between my friend and I isn’t too terribly seasoned, the words of encouragement she spoke over me as we visited are still fresh on my mind.
Fear is something I struggle with almost daily. And fear of acceptance plays a huge part in that.
I want people to accept me for who I am. I don’t want to let them down. I want them to be pleased with who I’ve become.
There are times when I feel like I’m okay and other times when I think I could largely benefit from temporarily living in a mental institute to sort out and nullify my crazy. My friend had caught me on a not-so-good day.
I’ve dealt with fear for as long as I can remember and have developed a poor habit to brace myself for the next bad thing to happen…
Fear when my mom would have a seizure and my hard working dad wasn’t home to look after her.
Fear when a homicide occurred in front of our California home when I was just six. For years I thought my life would end at the brutal hands of someone else because of that tragedy. More recently I’ve been able to talk myself out of that nonsense — for the most part.
Fear when my twelve-year-old-self finally told my parents I’d been being sexually abused by a close family member and some family friends. Their handling it left them in a rage — and me without much direction in coping.
Fear that my friends’ parents would find out that my dad was addicted to drugs and had a drinking problem and they wouldn’t allow their daughters to hang out with me.
Fear as a teenager that if I didn’t give into peer pressure then I wouldn’t be part of the “cool” crowd.
Fear when my dad, who’d finally cleaned up his act, had a dirt bike racing accident and was left a quadriplegic and ventilator dependent.
Fear when I fell asleep behind the wheel and our family’s car accident took my father’s life and left my brother with brain trauma.
My most reoccurring fear: that people will judge me by my past, my mistakes, my brokenness.
It’s an emotion that I’ve allowed to become ingrained into my innermost thoughts for years. Surely I’ve allowed it to radically define me. And it’s exhausting.
I’m over it. I’m at my end with it.
I’ve finally had more than enough. I’m ready to pour out overbearing fear and fill up with Jesus’ overflowing peace and joy.
My biggest struggle, in getting healthy, (mentally) is that I know the truth of God’s perfect words in my mind, BUT I don’t always allow those truths to spread, connect, and melt down throughout my heart.
In the past few weeks though, as I’ve exhausted myself and pinpointed the deep rooted problem, I’ve felt hope in a whole new way. Hope that wants to redefine the way I look at myself. Hope that longs to proclaim true worth over me. Hope that brings peace within my soul.
Leaving me with positive counsel my friend advised me with truths she’d been given during her own battle in overcoming. She understood that I have trouble holding peace within my heart and I have a desire for control and this was her encouragement:
Be humble and kind.
Be slow to react. Take time to think.
Remember God is still in control, no matter what happens.
Jesus loves you.
Give yourself mercy and grace.
Perfection is unattainable this side of Heaven.
Along with that, I’ve began reading scripture that directly grabs fear at its core and puts it in its place.
‘For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.’ -2 Timothy 1:7
‘So we say with confidence, the Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’ -Hebrews 13:6
‘When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.’ -Psalm 56:3
I realize there will still be moments, maybe even days of torment, but I want to confidently hold onto this new hope and let go of my longtime character flaw of fear. Perhaps just writing this out and sharing my heart will help hold myself accountable — releasing fear and replacing it with God’s good peace.
Maybe this post was meant for no one other than myself — but if not — join me in believing and trusting that God can, will, and does offer hope if we just quiet our worry and allow Him to speak bold truth to our unsettled hearts.
-1 John 4:18 There’s no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.