a different kind of post

September 18, 2011 at 17:44 2 comments

the story of me began almost 33 years ago.  what has been written of my story has only been shared with me up until this point, and how much of it has been public has been as minimal as i can make it.  if you’ve ever looked at the category cloud for this blog, you might notice that i write about my derek, my kids, my sisters, our goings on as a family; but there’s nothing about me.

some may call it modesty, but they would be wrong.   the secrecy is a reflex, a self-defense mechanism built up over the years in an attempt to protect myself from ever being hurt.   i won’t share the details of what led me to build enormous walls around myself, because it’s not only my story to share.  i will however tell you the story of how the walls that i thought to be constructed of brick, were revealed to be no more than paper walls painted to look strong.

let’s begin:

so there i was, living my awesome life with my awesome family and thinking “man, this is pretty perfect.”   then i started to feel like there was something wrong with perfect, like perfect had rendered me numb.  Jesus said “take up your cross and follow me”,  and I did.  wholeheartedly.  but the image of carrying a cross in my mind didn’t match up with reality.  a cross would be bulky and heavy, and my life was more like carrying an inflatable cross.   have you ever just felt like you’re going through life without moving?  that’s kind of where i was.

i prayed.

i asked God to stretch me, make me grow, make me closer to Him.  i wanted to feel alive.  i had prayed this before, but i’d never meant it so sincerely.  i remember saying “no matter what, i’m ready for it.  i want to take another step closer.”  and then i remember being afraid, but determined.

nothing happened.

then something did.

when i was on the toronto trip this summer, we encountered so many scenarios with the homeless that hit very close to home for me.  i knew that there wasn’t much separating my life from theirs.  this knowledge made my protective walls shoot up around me, and i was tense and ready to defend myself .   i was on constant guard, fierce, and determined not to get hurt.  it was an old habit that i hadn’t realized i still carried around with me, and  i wasn’t happy to see it return.

most people know that they can’t touch me.  most people don’t know WHY they can’t touch me.  there have been many people who think it’s just a quirk and find it fun to get inside my space to bug me.  it bugs me so much,  so much more than anyone knows.  my reactions are what’s left over after my brain and my body have battled it out and i’ve decided not to punch the person touching me.  sometimes my brain loses.  sorry.   self-control vs self-preservation is an exhausting struggle.  my “personal bubble” is one of the bricks in my defense.  as are “never cry” “don’t let anyone know what’s important to you”, and “never show weakness”.  there are so many more that i deemed to be part of a quirky personality, but God has revealed them to me as flaws, and worse.  worse because instead of defending me like i intended them to, they hurt me.

this summer God choreographed events that were held up to me like a mirror pointing out what i’d refused to see on my own.  there were confrontations and conversations and events that seemed to all scream the same message at me:  LET.  GO.

let go of the walls, let go of trying to take care of myself.  let go of every reflex that i’ve developed over the years.  i asked God to be lord of my life, but wasn’t letting Him control ALL of it.  it was a painful lesson to learn, and even admitting it to my keyboard is making my heart physically hurt.  i’m not generous with my trust, but now i must give it all away.  it’s very scary for a girl like me,  but i meant it when i said that i wanted to grow, no matter what.

one of anne’s school books tells the story of a boy in africa who loves to hear stories.  his tribe meets each night in the centre of the village to be addressed by the chief, and then they sit quietly in a circle waiting for someone to begin a story.   nobody knew where the story would come from or who would tell it as they sat around their fire.  all was quiet, and then from somewhere in the darkness a voice would call “i see it coming!” to which the rest of the tribe would respond “let it come!”, and the first speaker would begin his story.

when i first felt like God wanted me to share this story, i resisted.  it’s what i do.  then as He had done all summer, God placed key phrases, snippets of conversations, and stories told in our homeschool to propel me towards action.    many times i would sit in front of my computer and my mind would be filled with “let it come, let it come” as my fingers resisted typing out the words.

this time however, i let go.  i let it come because i have a story to share about a God who doesn’t desire stagnancy, but who wants me to feel alive.  it’s not the story of how i took the first step towards salvation, but a testimony of what God’s been doing this summer when He asked me to keep moving my feet.  christianity doesn’t stop at salvation; it’s where it starts.



Entry filed under: goings-on.

calendar tutorial the cat came back, the very next day

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jen Heemskerk  |  September 18, 2011 at 18:38

    Truly my favourite post of yours! I too have built walls to be protective of being hurt…we both have a lot to learn still on our walk beside Jesus!=) Thank you my friend.

  • 2. Lyn Baker  |  September 18, 2011 at 20:54

    It takes risk to be a disciple. The risk of living, the risk of following Christ (really following him, so much that it hurts, so much that it helps, enough to make you grow, opening your eyes one day realizing you’re more like him) – that’s the kind of risk it takes. But it’s worth it and it is necessary. It proves TO US that we’re alive.

    You’re right what you say about the walls. Safe is numbing. And not so fun after a while… God is good to be patient with us as he brings us to that realization, each in his time. Never once for all. But bit by bit, backwards and then forwards again, over and over. Learning to trust where he has placed us – really, it’s learning to trust God.

    I love your courage, Joan. I’ve always loved your uncompromising pact with real. The honesty is good. And I am behind you, I am with you, and I have your back. I love that about being part of a larger family. God is good, his love is amazing. Thanks for bringing glory to him. <3


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