The other day I was eavesdropping in one of my co-worker's conversations. She was talking about her kid's swimming lessons. She said that floating seemed to be a struggle. She said, "You know, it's really weird. You would think that if you let yourself go, then you would sink. But, that's the thing. You really kind of have to let yourself go so you can float."
That conversation has stuck with me for several days now and I can't quite seem to let it go. The truth is: I know the Lord has been calling me to let go of everything I know as comfortable and dependable. I know that He is telling me to let go of myself (or rather the constant desire to want to be in control), but for some reason I can't. It is one of my biggest fears. Will I sink or will I float? This issue is one that's stuck with me for a while, but it only seems to reveal itself majorly when it comes to matters of the heart. In the past few weeks, I've learned several things about myself that I have not yet come to grips with:
1) I am afraid of being loved
2) I am afraid to love
3) I don't know how to love God, love myself AND love someone else all at the same time
4) I am afraid of being hurt (or letting someone get close to break me)
5) I am afraid of hurting someone else
All of them are related. All of them lead to superficial, temporary and shallow relationships. All of them lead me to take off running when any man or even a friend seeks to go deeper than surface level. All of them ultimately lead to a waste of time, emotions and energy. I end up running to my comfort zone where I am in control, my guard is up and no one else is invited. It's also caused me to hold onto some people for the wrong reasons.
I know, I know... I've written poems about relationships and identity for years, but the truth is even someone who can be sure of herself in artistic expression and on a stage is still very unsure of herself behind closed doors. It's why I never know how to respond when someone compliments my work. They hear the work and give credit to the artist, but I am no more wiser, loving, obedient or courageous than many others. We all have our faults and weaknesses. In fact, what little wisdom, courage and love I do have is not on my own. It exists solely because of God. It exists because He is mindful of me. It exists because He chooses to love me even though I do not know how to love or even what it looks like. It exists because He chooses to stand next to me in the water, whispering for me to let go and He stays even when I don't have the faith and trust to do it.
It reminds me of the Israelites. Confession: I'm a bit of a hypocrite. I scoff and look down on them when I read about God bringing them from captivity. I think of how ignorant and dumb they must've been to hear from God, know God, have previously trusted God, and have been delivered by Him time & time again only to end up turning away as though He did nothing for them ... and then... I look in the mirror. Am I really any different in certain areas of my life? Are you?
I don't say it to throw myself a pity party or make myself feel guilty, but to acknowledge that this is my own personal issue. Faith is a process with too many steps to keep count. It's not something that we achieve one time. It's an ongoing, never-ending process. It is the weight that is constantly working our muscles and the weight doesn't stay the same.
For me, the uncertainty of the outcome keeps me holding onto what I should let go of. I'm like a child who's afraid to cut the light off at night. Nothing ever happens, but the fear remains. It's the "what if?" that keeps me from experiencing the freedom I know is on the other side.
So what now? I suppose it's time to discover the root cause of my issues and begin letting go of them. I know it won't happen overnight and it won't be easy. I will still be a damaged masterpiece that's under construction in the morning and likely afraid of all of those same things by the time I finish this blog post, but perhaps it's time I stop avoiding the discovery and turning away from God's love & direction. After all, this journey I have chosen is not about being perfect or wearing a façade. It is about acknowledging my imperfections and handing them over to a perfect God. It is about understanding that my fears and shortcomings are no match for the love and faith that He has. Yes, this journey requires obedience and faith to please Him (Hebrews 11), but through that fact I have come to know that He is with me, He is for me and we will get through this together. Sometimes it may seem painful and uncomfortable, but He never expects for us to do it alone (John 14:16-17, 26).
Here's to finding the root of my fears, letting them go and floating with God.