Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Changing My Clothes

I don't know if you can see it,
pacing all caged behind the corner of my eye,
waiting for the right interchange between another person and me,
or maybe the lack of any interchange at all,
that animal named Fear who rattles the cage door and threatens to escape to swallow me whole in one bite.

A deceiver walked with me on this path I've trod and told me a great lie,
that there are good emotions and there are bad ones.  The good ones are to be worn on the outside, like beautiful garments purchased with the affluence of joy.  Our world really only likes to look on pretty.
The bad ones ~ anger, fear, jealousy, despair, contempt, and shame ~ these emotions are to be contained, stuffed down, hidden away, as though we really have the power to control our feelings.  I have spent my life molding these emotions into one shape, one form that breathes fear quietly just behind my eyes.

You are angry?  We say it's not that you are angry, it's what you do with that anger.
You are fearful?  We say do more to increase your faith, for trusting more will take away the fear, or at least reduce it.
You are shamed?  We say you don't need to be, for Christ removed your sin and made you clean.  But never forget you are a sinner.  Somewhere, someday, you'll find the balance between being present/future clean and present/future dirty.

I don't have a neat and tidy principle with a corresponding scripture to finish this with.  The reality is I am learning to recognize the clothes of fear that I wear, worn close as undergarments against my skin.  Hidden beneath the pretty feelings I wear for you to see.  I think fear is the only bad emotion I've allowed myself to feel without the unmanageable shame that follows anything else bad.

I'm not trying to be introspective.  Truthfully I'm tired of studying myself.  I'm so tired I am willing to stop avoiding certain feelings in an attempt to not feel pain.  Isn't that why we all avoid feelings?  It is easier for men to feel anger than hurt.  Easier for women to feel hurt than anger.  I want to face off with anger instead of distorting it to fear.  I want to resist running away when I feel I'm not enough.  I want to sit in the ash heap with despair or contempt and know my God will sit with me in the dust.

Simply, I want to run to God instead of away from Him when He doesn't relieve my pain.  To do this I'm going to have to be just as okay with anger, fear, jealousy, despair, contempt, and shame as I am with joy, compassion, security, and hope.  Emotions are the language of the soul.  I'm willing to say I'm afraid because ultimately I know God offers more freedom than I have yet to grasp.  I want to let Him retrain my ear, that I may hear pure harmonies.  I want to sing through the dark, complex melodies of my life and lift high on the swell of emotion resolution brings to the score.  All emotions hold the gift of leading us closer to the scandalous wonder of the Cross and the beautiful heart of God.  In this, I will worship.

My flesh and my heart may
but God is the strength of my
and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:26

...can recognizing fears be something to count as grace?  Even when they aren't rational?...
1717.  my children will be absent from my life as they enter adulthood.  Fear I will miss them so much.  Fear miles will take away intimacy and how will I do life without the joy of their friendship?
1718.  I won't do all the "right" things for Ben and Sam in homeschooling.
1719.  I committed to "more" with God regarding writing and what if I fail?
1720.  I can't even set up my new wordpress site and just what networking am I supposed to be doing?
1721.  So grateful that in all the ways I am recognizing fear, my relationship with my husband stands strong and secure.
1722.  So grateful that You will always lead me through things because You want me free more than I want me free.
1723.  He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Phil 1:6  Yes, Lord, YOU will complete the work, not me.



  1. A beautiful thing I've found about emotions, especially the "negative" ones: they help me to understand and reach out to others who are experiencing them. They teach me compassion...something you're so very good at, Favored One:)

    1. Doesn't it make your heart wring dry, when you witness a mama lose patience with her child? I find I physically gravitate to the place and speak into the moment. My husband just lets me do it now. He used to slightly shake his head, but I can't help but rest a gentle hand on her shoulder or offer help for the little who's worn out. Too many times I have lost sight of the miracle right before me and just acted out my impatience. Ah, yes, compassion is one of the most exquisite/painful gifts He bestows. Love you, Favored One!

  2. You've given me much to ponder today, Tobi. Thank you!

    Emotions are the language of the soul. I'm willing to say I'm afraid because ultimately I know God offers more freedom than I have yet to grasp. ... Amen.

    So blessed by your heart. <3

    1. Thanks, Nikki. It's funny how driven I am to be free at times. Other times it is just so tiring and I give in to the status quo. I know Jesus was talking about giving life abundant here and now, and I'm willing to look the fool in chasing after His promises. (Actually, in getting out of my own way! : )

  3. Wow! There's lots to think about and pray through in what you've shared. It is a gentle, quiet spirit that recognizes God's working in every circumstance and situation and emotion and joy and sorrow and fear...

    thank you for sharing these thoughts, Tobi ~

  4. God working in my life despite my fears & even because of them, somehow brings glory to Himself! Job said what he feared the most had happened (I can say that also!) but in the end Job came through it knowing God! It is truly an amazing place to be in my life, knowing that God turns fears into Faith! To Him be all the glory. Love this post! Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.