Right. So, it’s been a while. I have always proclaimed myself a lover of words. I love to read them. I love to write them. I love to speak to others about them. I was the kid that for fun read the dictionary and odd books and loved the vocab list.
So, why have I stepped away from my primary outlet for expressing my own words? Well, it’s somewhat complicated. I think the main reason is because I have been struggling so much in several areas of my life and that has produced a bit of a “word block.” Also, there have been many questions floating around in my head about why I want to share my words and what words I really want to share.
Life has been hard lately, y’all. I mean, I know that life, in general, is just tough, but I have gone through a serious bout of being knocked flat on my behind. And I’ve let myself stay there. Most of that has been out of fear. I haven’t wanted to get back up. I haven’t wanted to give life the opportunity to knock me back down. It’s safe down here.
I’ve largely tried to withdraw from life. I’ve gotten near panic attacks when I need to leave home and actually engage with others. I’ve even withdrawn from social media. It seems as though even virtual friendships were too much for me to manage. I also realized that I have gone numb to my family. Sure, I’m still here and still talking and cooking and cleaning and driving them around. But I haven’t really taken the time to really be with them.
And why did all of this happen? What was the singularity event that catapulted all of this? The short answer is fear. The longer answer has to do with a road trip, my ankles swelling, and a debilitating bout of hypochondria.
There are three great motivators in the world: Fear, Anger, and Love. Sure, we may do things for other reasons, but you can almost always boil it down to one of these. If you think back to teachers, coaches, or other influential people in your life, you’ll probably realize that the way they inspired you will come back to one of these three motivators.
What I’ve known for a long time and finally has come to a head is that the main motivator in my life is fear. It is amazing how much of my day revolves around it. It has become second nature to me to the point that I don’t even think about it much anymore. There are things I don’t say because I fear that my husband may get angry. There are things that I don’t do because I fear how it may be perceived by others. I fear that God may get angry with me. I fear that I may have a stroke or heart attack. I fear that I am failing as a parent.
Now, I want to be clear that I am not talking about worries or concerns or passing thoughts. I am talking about the fear that is so real that I will completely shut down. It has affected my health (I’ve pulled ribs out of place because of tension due to worry). It has affected my family. It has affected my relationship with God. No one wants to be around the paranoid, worrying person who’s fear has gotten to the point that she has a meltdown while trying to order lunch at Panera (yes, this did happen).
And most importantly, God doesn’t want this for my life. He doesn’t want me to serve Him out of fear. There is something to be said about fearing the Lord, but that isn’t what I’m talking about. I don’t mean the healthy, awe-inspiring respect. I’m talking about the idea of the “Big Stick God” – where you view God as having a big stick and just waiting to pound you on the head with it when you step out of line.
God is all about love. He loves us and desires for us to love Him back. That is what He desires my great motivator to be in following Him. That is what I should be focusing on instead of all the fear that has quite literally consumed me. I should be basking in the love of my Heavenly Father and Sovereign Savior instead of huddled in a corner and fearing my own pulse. I should be reflecting that love to back those around me, first to those in my own home and then to those I come into contact with – in real life and virtually.
I have neglected this practice. I have not just sat and let my Jesus love me and truly spent time with Him with no other agenda than to experience His all-consuming love. Because if I had, I wouldn’t be in the mess that I’m in right now. I would be full of His love and light and I wouldn’t be able to help what spills over from my life into the lives of those around me. I want that. Or, I’m learning to want that.
So, I may still be huddled in a corner and distant. I’m still struggling with both some very real issues and some that just feel real. But the words are starting to come back. And I can only hope that with the return of my words will also be the Word.