I remember the days I wore my heart on my sleeve. I had a limited filter when it came to how I felt about my passions and the people I Love. I recall how freeing it was to say what was on my heart. One of my greatest Joys was to let those I love know where they stand in my life. If I didn’t tell them verbally, it was through my actions. Pouring out my heart into my relationships was all I knew how to do, and I loved doing it.
But, something has changed…drastically.
I learned if the heart shatters too many times, there is a wall that begins to construct. When I start to feel the closeness of a relationship, I pull back some. The closer you get in a relationship, the more you need to pour into them. And that requires trust. Ugh, trust. Not a word that rings music to my ears these days.
In some aspects, it is healthy to stand back from leaping forward into a pool of unfiltered Love. After all, God tells us to guard our hearts, however to what degree do we take it before it becomes a solid wall? Making it impossible for anyone to get through or climb over. Is this the point we realize that our bullet proof walls have grown to be the divider between who we really are and our internal struggles?
We all have our struggles, the internal ones. The ones that rear its ugly head from time to time and you just want to hide in bed until time sweeps it away. Then when you get another dose of “I’m ok with it” we straighten ourselves up and wear our hearts loudly. Until of course, it comes back again.
This conversation is difficult for me to have for a couple reasons.
One, how do I communicate this without coming across like I’m having a pity party or seeking attention? That is not what I am after. I literally do not know how to have this conversation. I know people will reach out more to try and fill my heart with reassurance, but is it really from the heart or because I said something?
Or second, it could go the other way too. What If I communicate this and I am rejected? The thought of that is heart crushing. I’m not sure I am strong enough right now to wage that. That’s where this gets real sticky.
Loyalty and sincerity are natural elements of the human heart. By no means do I want to be the one to encourage artificial growth if it’s not there. I want it to be natural, never forced.
Let me begin with the triggers.
These were actual events that have taken place that seem to open the gashing wound within me. As the pain oozes, I am reminded once again of the pitted void that sits beneath the surface of something unhealed.
I have watched countless times other people being nurtured, comforted and Loved in profound and intense ways. Numerous times I recall fighting back the deep longing to want what other people were receiving. If a tear rolls down their cheek, someone runs over with open arms and a box of Kleenex. I have witnessed people sense something is “off” about someone and running to their aid with ideas to brighten their day. It’s awesome. Indeed awesome. I try to be one of those people. It brings me deep joy to console and comfort where I can because it brings definition to my Love for them. Anything less than me showing that and it’s as if someone had cut off one of my limbs.
But, all while I am silently thinking, “How come nobody comes knocking at my door?” Admitting this is especially hard for me. After all, it shows vulnerability, and nobody likes to feel vulnerable. It also may come across a bit needy and petty. But, it’s true. Now, I don’t think this all the time. It wasn’t until recently, I noticed I was thinking it more often. Sure there are days when we all feel needy and desire the ear or shoulder of a friend too. But, this had become something different. It was a slow progression that had originated from an unhealed part of me.
I began to feel a deep sadness like I felt alone. For a while, I tucked it under the rug. I shrugged it off as a passing feeling. After all, I am human, and I am female. I do have the tendency to be a confusing ball of emotions at times. Typically, when my womanly feelings would become entangled, I would hide behind closed doors to untangle the mess until it was all straightened out. But, I noticed that this feeling wasn’t going away. It wasn’t sporadic. There started to be less and less time in between this internal struggle. The more I resisted, the more it fought me. Until it accomplished it’s construction of the wall inside my heart.
For so long I have resisted, bit my tongue and harbored what I felt out of concern for what someone might think or do. I didn’t want to make waves or puncture a relationship. If I pretend all is well, then the friendship won’t be severed. I’ll let my feelings be the compromise because the other option is too painful to think about. But, the more I isolated myself, the more It became too excruciating for me to harbor what I was feeling.
So, I took a step back and had an honest look in the mirror.
What is going on with me?
Why does this hurt so much?
What is the root of all this?
Some of the answers I received were baffling to me. Several of these true events surfaced my brain as if it were being boiled out of me. Examples like:
Letting my guard down after being hesitant to, just to be betrayed.
Being told I am loved just to be left behind.
Investing years of loyalty into a friendship, just to be deceived.
Encouraging and Loving a friend, just to be used when something better came along.
Watching others and myself support and encourage the dreams and aspirations of others just so mine can be unacknowledged.
To always be told I am a diamond in the rough.
To try and hold a meaningful conversation, just to be undermined.
To be told more of what I didn’t do rather than what I did do
To desperately need a friend to reach out to me, just to be disappointed.
To want to be present for something, just to be discluded.
These are just a few of the examples that seem to trigger this struggle.
I took a closer look at these in hopes that somewhere in them I could rip the root out so I can begin healing. What I discovered is probably what most of anyone else would. I have developed major trust issues that has led into a web of relational insecurities. But, It’s life. Things happen. People are going to let you down. People are going to say what they feel at that moment. It doesn’t necessarily make it lifelong. It doesn’t mean people don’t care, it just means seasons change. People are not deliberately trying to hurt me. Some of this is because of me and nobody else. Lastly, it’s not about me. It’s easy to connect ourselves personally with the actions of others when it many cases it has nothing to do with me. While all this does bring some comfort, it doesn’t relieve much of the pain. I am so terrified of being hurt that it numbs everything else. I literally have to gasp to open up, whereas before it would flow out of me like streams of moonlit currents.
The truth is, I want the old me back. I liked the part of me that is currently trapped on the other side of the wall. I may have quirks and plenty of imperfections to count, but there was this authentic part of me that I miss greatly. That’s what I had to offer people and what I enjoyed so much giving away freely regardless of the outcome. I used to feel that way. No matter who stayed or went, I would go on loving just as hard and just as deep. That’s who I was. That is who I am.
After netting out these true events from the surface of my heart, it’s as If I clenched them tightly in my hand.
Now, what do I do? They have surfaced, but do I just throw them away and hope they never come back?
That’s when the truth hit me like a thousand bricks.
I never asked God to heal me. My wall had become so high, that I even kept God out from the same side as me.
I most definitely prayed about a lot of these things. I recall even asking Him to help me bring down this wall, but I never asked him to heal me. Now, I wonder if it’s because I was afraid of what He would show me and tell me to bring that healing. In many cases, there are parts of us that need cleansing, and when He reveals those parts to us, it hurts. Even though it needs to hurt before it can heal, the human part of you wants to do everything to avoid that pain.
Here I am victimizing myself in so many of these situations, and even though there is no denying I have been terribly wronged and hurt in my life, it doesn’t make me without fault and error of my own.
What am I not seeing about myself?
This revelation brought me to God’s word. My one and true source of complete and flawless truth. My ideal source of comfort and encouragement. The one who I can fully confide and trust in. I don’t have to look over my shoulder, pull blades out of my back or dwell on whether or not I am good enough to fit in.
God told me to Guard my heart, but He never intended for me to tuck my feelings away or steer clear from communicating them out of fear someone might cut me off from their life or that God may require me to make some changes of my own that may be uncomfortable. I am doing three things here that vastly contradict what God instructs me to do.
First, I am not being honest with how I feel. I am pretending nothing is wrong, while a battle in waging on the inside. God wants me to have a clear conscience and be at peace in my heart.
Second, I am living with fear. God wants me to be anxious and fearful of nothing. Instead, He instructs me to bring everything to him in prayer.
Third, I am putting my trust in man. I am trusting that they won’t hurt me. I am trusting they will be careful with my heart, and although God wants us to have healthy relationships in our lives to which we can lean on, it is only Him we can fully depend on. It is only He we should put our Faith and trust in. I learned this countless times.
I realize that it is unfair to hold people to certain expectations according to my personal voids that have been dug from my hurtful experiences. If they don’t reach these specific criteria, it is unfair to define them as anything less than a friend. Just because a slight cut may feel like a baseball bat to my heart, doesn’t justify the grace being withheld. We all make mistakes. Not every cut is intentional. My painful roots are my roots. Yes, they may be there because of some painful affliction from others, but it is unfair to hold other people accountable for them.
It is unfair to limit God to what He can do with some of these painful experiences. This massive wall that stands sturdy inside my heart needs to come down. It is barricading my ability to forgive and Love to the measure I want to. Most importantly, it is restricting me from being healed. It is casting a darkness where I stand, shadowing over any light that tries to shine through. Not a safe place to be at all.
I spent the last several days cradled in this darkness, waiting for some kind of rescue, when all I needed to do was cry out to God for help. Instead, I was hoping He would send someone in His place.
However God decides to take down the wall is up to Him. As long as I am open and willing to receive what he has to show me, I know I can be restored. One step at a time.