Today was a learning experience for me; a day of growth, both emotionally and spiritually. Everyone has them from time to time, often when they don’t really understand what just happened. Before a couple of weeks ago, I’m not sure I would have understood what happened. I have, after all, spent the biggest part of my life up to now battling, and more often than not, losing to, my insecurities. As a child I hid behind the shelter that my younger, more athletic, attention-seeking sister provided. She was bigger than life and the focus and attention was always on her, leaving me to bask in obscurity … feverishly hoping that in obscurity I would remain. But … God has a way of putting me in situations that far, far, far exceed my comfort zone and at a precise moment of His choosing, he gives me a choice; live or die.
My childhood faded to teenager, with even more reasons to be insecure. The more I tried to fit in, the further out of the loop I became until I felt like a party of one … even in the midst of a crowd. As my teens rolled into early twenties, it seemed that the insecurity consumed me. I became a slave to the words of other people, whether they were actually meant for me or not. Every criticism threatened to cause me to simply collapse into myself, not unlike an exploding star. I became easy prey for someone to take advantage of. And they did. And I did nothing. I felt so powerless. I was dying. I had chosen to die.
I suppose it is apt that this blog contain some remnants of Jim as this, had he lived, would have been our thirteenth anniversary. I met Jim unexpectedly and the moment I looked into his eyes, I knew something was about to change. I was so broken when we met, and in my mind, beyond redemption. I had lost my way, my vision, myself and most importantly, I had lost my faith. Through the next ten years, he chipped away at the insecurity, pushing me to look inside myself and face demons that haunted me … he damaged the high wall I had built and allowed light to shine into paralyzed places in my heart. He helped me to find enough of myself to build on. I realize with certainty that I was stronger when he died than I was on the day I married him; his encouragement, faith and devotion instrumental in coming to that realization.
Now, back to today … without a bit of insight into why it was such a turning point, the accomplishment would really have meant nothing to anyone but me. And so it happened … an older man that I came into contact with today was harsh, with a harsh tone and harsh words. I immediately felt myself closing off at the possibility of a confrontation and began wondering what kind of terrible home life he must have to be this way… but this time, a little voice inside me said “I thought you were going to work on not doing that anymore”. And, after a momentary feeling of shock at the confidence (a state of being I struggle with) that I had the power to change, I felt a lock slide open. As though a mist had been lifted, I saw him not as someone with a difficult home life, but only someone who was different than me. Someone who had a personality diametric to my own and not simply out to hurt my feelings. I looked at him differently, as a human being with thoughts and imaginings of his own and I no longer felt the need to ball up and cry. I smiled at him and conversed regularly in the face of his demonstrative behavior and he smiled back. He was not out to get me, didn’t hate me and had no idea that he had the power to hurt me; he was just an old man being all he knew to be. And I didn’t internalize it this time. The insecurity that sometimes threatens to suffocate me took a serious hit.
There will be many who read this that will have no understanding of such emotions as insecurity and the lack of confidence that is evident here; those of you who are self-assured and confident and have been since the beginning. There are some, though, and those are the ones I write to, that will. I found out today that I do have the power to control my emotions to some extent by searching for what I didn’t see before. The humanness of us all. What an intoxicating feeling to know that there is still more to learn about myself and, gloriously exciting, how anxious I am to learn it. I am thankful, as always, to a loving God who shows me what I need to know to be useful in the places He intends to send me. I wait with bated breath to see what comes next …
Isaiah 42:3 ~ A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment to truth