Saturday, February 16, 2013

Paralyzing Fear

"That is typical in trauma patients."
I never thought I would hear those words come out of my therapist's mouth. After all these years--after all of the work that I have done--it is still a shock to think about the term "trauma" applied to myself.
And what is it that I have been experiencing that is so typical? Anxiety. Intense fear of being known by others. Because I do not trust anyone.
This is a sad truth for me to write. So sad. But so true.
I cannot deny it after what has happened. The anxiety will take over if I do not do something.
The "hurt" in my heart was just the beginning.
Next was the fear of the man who desires my heart. Why the fear? Why the persistent tears? Why the self-protecting anger? I finally admitted to him that I want to push him away just as much as I want to open myself up to him. The war in myself is raging and I have come to an impasse.
But the fear did not stop there--it is spreading. God gave me the opportunity to share my testimony with a group of girls. However, after sharing, I found myself on the floor of a small prayer closet clutching my chest and afraid to come out and face them again. Am I ashamed of my life? No. Jesus' words to me in my memory: "It's not yours." He removed my shame. But perhaps He has not miraculously removed my fear and distrust. I am still struggling to connect my testimony to me--the actual Jaime.
I thought I had pinpointed the problem (I can see God smirking at such a preposterous thought, now) on Wednesday. I realized that although Christ had removed the shame that I have been carrying, I was not careful to seek Him to fill me and define me in the place of that shame. Therefore--because of my lack of definition by Christ--I was taking on the old labels once again.
Matthew 12:43-45a "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first."
With this realization, I prayed with my sisters in Christ, and I renounced those old labels. And Christ was faithful to rename me. 
However, Thursday became a shocking wake-up call that still not all was well. It began with the appearance of an individual that tempted the old me (the me that lined up with the labels that I had renounced the night before). In fear, I fled from this person's presence. But later that day my fear completely overtook me. 
I was in a class that not only has a large number of students, but is also a discussion class, and the discussions can become quite heated in the clash of people's worldviews and indoctrinations. I mumbled a comment to myself in response to the discussion at hand and the three men sitting around me heard it and strongly encouraged me to speak up. They were so outspoken about their desire for me to speak up that I was terrified I would be forced to do so. In my mind, I screamed: "I'm terrified I will be noticed." Instead of screaming such a statement or calmly voicing my comment to the class at large, I shut down. I pulled my legs up and placed my head between them--classic fetal position. And so there I was--a 22 year old woman, reduced to a trembling babe.
As soon as class ended, I went outside to be alone. I let myself go: my chest was tight and aching, my breath became fast and shallow, the tears streamed down my face, my body began to shake, and hot and cold flashes spread over me. I sat on a bench and curled myself in as much as possible until the wave passed. 
My best friend came to find me. I admitted me fear of going to another class and my desire to be alone--safe. Although I eventually went on with my day, after classes I spent the night relaxing, in the sheltering presence of my friend. Pushing people and school work away from my mind as much as possible. 
I was better by Friday, but I could still feel the remnants. Two people tried to reach out to me in order to get to know me; I could feel them trying to pull me out of myself. I gave them a little, but on the whole I kept myself locked away. I wanted to be able to share myself freely with them, but deep down within me my fear screamed, "No!" And further discouragement to myself, was to realize that the impasse concerning that wonderful man who desires my heart was (and is) still there. He tries to come in, and I lash out in fearful anger. I want to let him in. I really do.
"That is typical in trauma patients." I don't know whether to be relieved or discouraged. I guess I feel both. I am relieved that my fear has an explanation and is somewhat to be expected. But I am discouraged because I still feel stuck. 
What if people give up on me and choose to leave me alone? What if this man decides that my anger is too much--that my fear is too much--that I am too much--and he decides I am not worth the battle for my heart? What if I end up shutting out the world? 
"That is typical in trauma patients. You have spent your life protecting yourself. Now that you are trying to open up and be known, your old self is screaming that it is too dangerous."
I must take the risk. I must take the risk to trust. I must take the risk to trust that I can be known. I must take the risk to trust that I can be known without being rejected or taken advantage of. I must take the risk to trust that I can be known without being rejected or taken advantage of so that I can love others--and so I can ultimately be loved.

Busted Heart by For King and Country

"Winter has come back again
Feels like the season won't end
My faith is tired tonight,
And I won't try to pretend,
I've got it all figured out,
That I don't have any doubts,
I've got a busted heart
I need You now
Yeah I need You now

Hold on to me
Hold on to me
Don't let me lose my way
Hold on to me"

My names from the Lord, as given to me by my sisters: 
Pumpkin, Perfect Mess, Pretty Princess, Peace, Pearl, Lioness of the Pride, Daughter of Whom I am Proud

Lord, may these names from You be written on my heart so that I may believe them. Lord, forgive me for not trusting You and for refusing to trust others as well. I want to love and to be loved. I want to be know for who I truly am. Please help me not to fear. Give me Your courage--be my courage. I need You now. Amen.

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