I’m writing this down in pencil because lead to paper feels nostalgic, natural, necessary. Necessary for what I’m about to tell you and I’m anticipating that the flow of words is about to burst straight out like a river held in by a dam that has been cracking for years.
So, here it goes.
I have been living in fear for quite some time now. Fear of newness. Fear of change. Of relationships. Of loneliness. Of failure. Of success. I have been living in fear of my own shadow and all that she reflects. There’s a fear of rejection, abandonment, a life not fully lived. Everywhere I turn I find a new one and sometimes I just feel it without a true sense of what it is, but it floods my insides and leaves my soul weary, in need of some deep, deep rest.
I fear nonsensical things at nonsensical times for nonsensical reasons. For example, I am well aware of the sin inside of me and there are times when it starts batting at my brain, asking to be let out and I fight like hell to hold it in. I fear that one day it may take over–for I can think back on a time in which it gripped me so tight I couldn’t even see reality. I became Alice caught up in Wonderland, not sure of herself or her size. Her friends or her foes. Wrong or right. We tell it like a fairy tale, but I think it should be considered cautionary. Fantasy, no matter how sweet it tastes, is hard candy with an inside that is bitter. It’s a pill you really don’t want to swallow. Believe me, I’ve tried. Because none of these candies can bring you peace, a quiet soul that sleeps by night, a steady hand that’s calm in fright.
Fear is ever present in the midst. It comes in stages with meteorological signs and warnings. My neck grows tense on the right. I know it’s coming. I continue with my routine. Stretch, nap, take some Tylenol. It’s still there.
I’m packing up now and I know the forecast for the drive: scattered showers. More like scatter-brained, something big is stressing me. What? I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure you can see it in the skies. Dark and cloudy, streaking down from heaven in the distance.
I decide to check my pulse. 84. Yup, it’s on the way. If I wasn’t in a hurry I’d run it out, but even that doesn’t always do its work.
As I reach under the table to unplug I find myself crawling, face down in child’s pose. A resting pose, one I know well and not just because of yoga, but because my fear has become so regular I have learned to morph myself into a shell. Try to wait it out and let the tears fall, just a little.
I kneel there for about 10 minutes before someone finds me. I had called out, I said, but I’m sure they couldn’t hear. I was in my shell. Shrinking away. Ready to rise up and out of my body, untethered, unanchored, in freefall.
With time the storm does ease, but I can sense it’s not over. I get behind the wheel to drive and I can see all around me what my nervous system has been shouting in my ears.
I’m about to break loose, to flood. Fear is here. It’s overwhelming. I’m alone. Exposed. I can’t drive and be in my shell. I am spread so thin and my cork is so loose it’s a shock this car isn’t a mess with saltwater and fragments of a girl unhinged.
All those memories play on repeat along with ones not had or incomplete.
Imagine laughter and celebration. Happiness just floating, but my face only feels tears, my body only fear.
What a shocker.
And then I know. Right now, in this moment I recognize that I’m afraid of showing you all what I’ve been clenching in my fists. A dream? Reality? A purpose? A plan?
Show me your proof.
No. I have nothing to prove to you. In fact, you can leave right now. You’re not welcome here. In Jesus’ name, I command you to leave now.
He tries to smile.
No, you think you have power? My Jesus is stronger. He has overcome death and He has overcome you. While you may be biding your time until your reign on earth is done, you will never be able to claim me. Like Job says, my feet will not stray from the path. I will stand firm until the end. You cannot sway me, you cannot snatch me from His hand.
The rain hits the windows no faster than it washes down my skin.
I am here.
I look to my left and I see Him. Out of nowhere shines a rainbow, a promise, a message, a light of hope.
I am here.
Thank you, Lord. You are always with me even through this storm.
I look to my right and there is a comforting light reaching down to wake up the fields of green. Green pastures.
I check back to see the rainbow once again. It’s gone now, only clouds remain. But I can feel Him in the car now. My fear is fading, for He goes with me wherever I need to be.
I’m going to be okay. Right, Lord? The rain is done for now. Quiet waters.
Again, an urge to check my left. He winks this time. Just a short glimpse and I know that the rainbow was sent for me. I wonder if others could see it too. Thank you, Lord. You restore my soul.
All the proof I thought I needed melts from my thoughts. My hands release. I got nothing.
But now your hands are free to hold mine. Come with me.
Where are we going?
You’ll see, but not with your eyes.
How will I know when we’re there?
Just hold onto me, your heart is reaching to know, but I need you to be.