...I'm not perfect.
I know. I was just as shocked as you are when I found out. I hope this doesn't ruin your St. Patty's day.
Or at least I think I was shocked. I found out I wasn't perfect so long ago that I don't have a real concrete recollection of the intense shock and awe I experienced at that moment of realization.
Thank you, Bianca for giving me the push (check out her vlog) I needed to publish this post. It's been sitting in my post box for a while now. I would MUCH rather offer you another interview with my dog, but God is asking me to take a risk today.
Knowing I'm not perfect and am far from having it all together isn't so much a tough thing for me to know about myself.
I'm not perfect. I don't have it all together. I accept it. However, it is extraordinarily tough for me to show and tell that fact to other people. More than extraordinarily hard, actually.
I'm not silly enough to believe that there are any people out there wondering the Earth with the false idea that I am completely and totally perfect. But that doesn't stop me from trying to protect you all from what I feel is the seething, disgusting horribleness that awaits you if you were to get too close. This horribleness camps out deep in the recesses of my soul; waiting to catch you unawares.
These beasts I keep locked away are always clawing for freedom. Always trying to tell the secret of their existence. In there quest for freedom, they steal mine. The longer I keep them locked away, the more they scratch and claw at my insides. They started off so small, but the longer I hide them, bigger they grow. They say things that make me feel like I am the only one that struggles. They say that if I really knew Jesus and really really believed Him, then I wouldn't feel this way. They tell me I'm broken. I don't belong on display in God's beautiful china closet full of His perfect and beautiful creations.
If only there was just one beast to lock away, I might be able to do it. But there are several. They all threaten to expose my humanity. My imperfections. My deepest fears. My mistakes. And worst of all, my vulnerability.
Being vulnerable means that you can hurt me, judge me, reject me, make fun of me, pity me, take advantage of me, abandon me.
The only thing they don't want to expose is that I am a new person because of Jesus and that there is nothing to fear. That. That they want to keep hidden. And they've done a really good job at it.
The ones that cry out and claw the hardest are my secret (or not-so-secret if you know me well) struggles with anxiety and it's BFF depression. I've written about this before over on Alises' Blog. The more I try and cover it up and pretend that every day my life is easy-goin' and that fighting my biggest fears is a cake walk instead of something that makes me drained, sweaty, and running for the nearest bathroom (ugh...the worst!), the louder and more violently it rages. My desperate need to be "normal" and "like everyone else" and not someone that embarrassingly battles this beast makes me want to pretend it's not there, run away, pull the covers over my head, and never come out again.
I don't want you to see me this way. I do all I can so that you don't.
I don't realize I am hiding all this until someone gets close enough to me to hear the cries of my captive secrets. The closer someone gets, the louder the beasts rattle the cages. The worst part of all of it is that I can't control it. I can't "talk" myself out of it. I can't breathe myself through it. I can't do anything accept either run back to the "safe" confines of my comfort zone, or push through it even though I would rather stab myself with a rusty nail.
Not many people have been able to make me feel comfortable enough to let them get that close. Until I feel like someone won't reject me or judge me for my imperfections I like to keep them at a safe distance.
This. Is. Exhausting.
And honestly, it's a sin. My not trusting in God is a sin. My pushing people away is a sin. My need to control everything is a sin. My pride that keeps me from sharing all of this is a sin. My fear is the sin. The root of my anxiety is the sin, not the feelings themselves.
Sin cuts us off from God. But we get some good news in James 5:16. We are told that confessing our sins leads to healing.
I am all about some healing.
The devil would like nothing more than for me to hold all of this in forever. He would like for me to think that I have some kind of control of my anxiety simply by pretending its not there and that I am totally peachy. He would prefer that I be content to continue to play it safe and stay within the small confines of my comfort zone and never take the light of God to the world. He would like for me to tell myself that I should just stop talking since I can't seem to "practice what I preach".
The secret of it all is what gives it the power to cripple me if I let it. Telling you about it is like unlocking the gates and letting these beasts free.
I am embarrassed of my struggle. This is my deepest secret. The thing I don't want you to know about me. The thing that I fear will drive everyone away. The thing that I have allowed to keep me from countless opportunities.
My anxiety has been like a prison for me. Except I have chosen to lock myself away so that I don't have to experience the feeling of being out of control and exposed. Even moreso, so that you won't experience me when I don't feel in control, together, and perfect. If I weren't such a fighter and as stubborn as they come, then I suppose I would be content to remain in my comfort zone and never push myself into the unknown.
But I am a fighter. Even in the midst of my struggles I am strong. Even when I struggle with anxiety, I know who I am and I know Who loves me. My struggle doesn't make me weak.
Jesus died and rose again so that we can have freedom. Life to the fullest! We were not born so that we could stay locked away in fear. We were born to show His love and glory to the world. It's hard to do that when we are busy worrying about what people are going to think of us or that they will reject us if they see that we really don't have it all together and get nervous when we have to do new things. Jesus' perfect love is the only thing that can drive out all fear. The only thing that we can trust enough to lean on when everything else is falling apart. Some of my most recent experiences with anxiety have been because I am pushing myself harder than I have ever pushed myself. I am taking a flying leap outside of my comfort zone and my anxiety is trying to take me out at the knees.
I don't want a comfort zone any more. I want to be my own comfort zone. Wherever I am I bring comfort with me. Wherever I am, Jesus is there because He lives in me. Wherever I am...fear is not. This is my battle right now. It's been my battle for as long as I can remember. I will win. I already have. How can I be so confident? Because I believe that the Bible is true. The Bible tells me that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of POWER, love, and self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7, emphasis mine). I also believe that Jesus is on my side. Not because I've done something good or right or perfect. But because I died to myself the day I accepted Him as my Savior and laid myself at His feet. If God is for us, then who can be against us (Rom 8:31)?
Those beasts are really just all bark and no bite. The devil is a liar. We have nothing to fear. But sometimes these beasts have me convinced they will kill me or that your rejection will kill me. Sometimes the panic is so strong I really do feel like I am dying.
Today, I release the Kracken (sorry, horrible Clash of the Titans movie reference. I had to.)!!! If you are someone that struggles with anxiety, please know that you are not alone. Anxiety plagues so many of my friends and family that it is astounding. I can't tell you how many people have told me lately that they or someone they love struggles almost daily with debilitating thoughts and feelings. And quite frankly, it's pissing me off. I am taking the dare to push past the fear even if that means that people will see me in my most vulnerable state. This scares the living crap out of me, but if Jesus wants to poke my open wound in order to heal it, why not let Him?
If this is your struggle as well, then I ask you....will you join me? Are you willing to be vulnerable? Are you willing to let Jesus poke your wound?
Today's blog was brought to you by the letter R for RELEASE.
Do you find it hard to not be in control? Have you ever felt that people with anxiety or depression are just weak? Have you ever struggled with anxiety or depression? Do you prefer the new or old version of Clash of the Titans?
Talk to me....