The distance between my breaths shorten making it harder and harder to breathe and my heart sputters causing spurts of pain beneath my chest as I sit in the crowded room. My palms are sweaty, my mind wanders with all of the possible worse-case scenario “what ifs”, and instead of pressing the stop button to my endless, destructive thoughts, I just keep pressing repeat. On the outside I have a smile painted on my face as if everything is OK and occasionally, I chime in with a laugh to fit in with the crowd. However, inside I am lonely, desperate for someone, anyone, to come to talk to me and do life with me. I am desperate to let others in, let my walls down, and let it all out but instead of letting others in, I watch…I watch others laugh, cry, crack jokes, and do life with each other; which causes me to miss out on life all together.
Deep down, I desire to talk to people so that I can let everything out and be free but honestly, I am afraid of freedom—I am afraid of what the other person or persons might say. Freedom means vulnerability…my heart wide open, available for the world to chew up and spit out if it so desires…and honestly, I just can’t have that--not if I have anything to do with it. I just cannot and will not let that happen...
My soul reminds me to love God and love people but what happens if I love “Oh so deeply” and I don’t get that same love in return? What if all I get from others is push-back? The pain of push-back is crippling to every part of my body, mind, and spirit. Push-back swipes my legs from beneath me, makes me wonder how the “next time” will be, and puts a dent in my faith just a little further than the last time...long story short…it causes me to close up just a little bit more each time.
So, what do I do with this dilemma? What do I do with this war inside of me? This decision to open up and be all that God created me to be or to stay shut down and useless in every way to His Kingdom? Well, every now and then I do open up—but not fully—just a little…to remind myself what it feels like to feel again—it’s a joy, it feels nice, it gives me hope. But in opening up I am also reminded of the hurt that comes along with “letting loose” and letting others in—the pain, the disappointment, the broken trust…and once I remember the bad, I remind myself that, "I just can't open up like that again."
In a lonely dark cave I remain. The war inside me like a raging sea refusing to offer mercy to the seaman within who are overtaken by its rage. I am overtaken as the waters of fear rise inch by inch as they eventually cover my mouth and then unforgivably over my head. I want to open up to who I really am. I want to love God and love others in spite of how I feel. I want to walk into my destiny, whatever that is, and in spite of my fears. I want to have freedom from it all but what do I do? On the outside I keep on my painted smile like everything is fine, I am swimming to the surface, and breaking free...but underneath it all…I choose to stop striving, I shut down, and remain trapped instead.