I've known this for a long time, but I tend to live to behind a mask. Doesn't need to be Halloween for me to 'dress up' my life.
I didn't have a lot of self-confidence growing up and ended up doing what I could to blend in to make friends. So much so that I ended up making a lot of decisions that backfired and the consequences were pretty intense.
I've been seeing a counselor for several months now to help me figure out how to handle some of the lingering effects of some of those consequences. It's S L O W going. We're still in the first stage that involves creating some buffers to surround me when the hard stuff starts. She doesn't want to rip my feet out from underneath me without a safety net. Does that make sense? So we're making sure my net is super secure and easily accessible.
In the process of creating these buffers, we've figured out two things are glaringly obvious about me. One is that I am emotionally retarded. I don't really allow myself to feel some of the deeper hurts that I experience because I don't know how to handle them. I keep my heart very guarded and find it nearly impossible to acknowledge my true feelings. And although this gives me a counterfeit sense of security, it's not doing me any favors. In fact, it's making it really, really difficult to be authentic and vulnerable with my husband and friends. And that royally sucks.
The second obvious thing about me is that I never - repeat - NEVER feel safe. Go ahead and try to come up with a safe environment where I could be placed, and I will think of a way that I can get hurt in it. I expect to be hurt. I position myself in a room where I can see all the exits and not have a lot of empty space behind me. I have panic attacks about it. The only thing I know that is consistant and loving that I can put my trust in completely is God. And yet my 'safety' isn't on His Top 10 List of things that are important to Him. He's much more interested in my reliance on Him, my growth into the likeness of His Son, and my treatment of others. And if stripping me of my safety will help me do those things, He won't hesitate.
Now don't get me wrong. Safety isn't all it's cracked up to be. Parents instictually try to create a 'safe' environment for their kids to grow up in. No parent wants to see their kids get hurt. But raising strong kids instead of safe kids helps them more as an adult. As least, that's what I think. I have found myself protecting my kids when I could've used a situation to make them stronger. I have to really think about what's best for them in the long run because my instinct will always be to protect.
My lack of security has created a mask, a thick skin, a callousness to me. It can look like I'm strong and that things don't effect me. But that's not the case. I can grit my teeth and bear a lot, but it's taking its toll. I don't know when to stop gritting my teeth. I don't know how to relax. I don't know how to loosen my grip and let God take control. I don't know how to give my heart to my husband. And it's causing us both a lot of pain.
I heard a song today that really emphasized to me what I'm missing out on. Natalie Grant has a song called Safe. I want that. Badly. I don't want to wear this mask anymore. I want to tear down my walls. I had a moment a few months ago when the walls came down, and it was incredible. At the time, I thought it was going to be a life-changing moment. But unfortunately, I have built those stupid walls back up again. I'm so freaking scared.