A few months ago, I wrote a post called ‘Losing Weight’. I had realized that I had finally broken through the wall that had imprisoned me for so long. Toward the end of the post, I wrote, “When I left Tahoe, I left the final remnants of my wall behind. I still have some baggage to sort through, but a lot of that was attached to the wall. It’s sitting in a hotel room in Tahoe, and I’m a lot lighter.”
I stuck something in the middle of that thought – something I thought, or more hoped, would go unnoticed. “I still have some baggage to sort through.” Eight words that I am now standing face to face with. I am an extremely visual person. The picture I found for this post is a perfect representation of where I am at right now. There is no more wall. I love that, and yet it is unbelievably frightening. More on that in a little bit. But that wall was built brick by brick, stone by stone, into the monstrous wall that confined me on so many levels. Though the wall no longer stands, there are stones that remain. As much as I wish they weren’t there, I understand why I’m being asked to face them now. Each of those stones represents a moment from my past – a moment that stuck with me, that hurt me, that reinforced the lie that I wasn’t good enough and that I wasn’t worth anything. Right now, I am being asked to name each of those moments, and confront the lie with the truth. Only then will the stone crumble, with no possibility of becoming the foundation of another wall.
In all honesty, I’m scared to name those stones. I’ve realized recently that I have a lot of fear that is still dictating my life. Over the last week, I’ve discovered two areas of fear in my life, and I realized that they are tied to events from my past. Stones that have not been been named – lies that have not been confronted with the full truth.
The first area is that the wall is gone. As much of a victory that has been in my life, it is very frightening. The wall was originally created to protect me. Even after realizing that it was imprisoning me – keeping me in more than keeping others out – it was still a source of comfort to me. Outside the wall was unknown to me. Even if I was imprisoned, inside the wall was all I knew. Now that the wall is gone, I find myself being very hesitant about moving forward. There’s a part of me that is afraid that I will eventually run into another layer of my wall. That is what I’ve known so far in my journey. There is also a part of me that is just afraid of the unknown. What if I still can’t find what I’m looking for? What if after all of that work and progress, there will still not be anyone there – I will still be alone?
That leads me to my other realization this past week. I have images in my memory of people walking away. They haunt me, and they greatly influence my decisions when it comes to relationships. I am not always aware of their presence or their influence until it’s too late. But God has an interesting way of bringing people into our lives who challenge our comfort zones and the lies we believe. And though I haven’t made any choices yet on how I want to handle the situation, I am clearly seeing the fear God wants me to face.
I’ve been struggling with a relationship at work for a few months now. It is with someone I had started to build a relationship with before I left my job (for my two month sabbatical…). She struck me as someone who could use a friend, and that stirred something in me. Before I left, I had to work with her in short bursts. I didn’t really like working with her, but she is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met outside of work. When I went back to work, I was working more closely with her, and I was sitting very close to her. It wasn’t long before I was really struggling with how she conducted herself at work. I attempted to express my struggles to her, but it didn’t help. She is someone who seems to be able to compartmentalize, and I am not able (or more, not willing) to do that.
Since I’ve been back to work, I’ve had a huge amount of confidence in my abilities. That is something that was never true before. I still question myself – wonder if I’m doing a good job (am I good enough?). But I am able to fight those voices now, where I couldn’t before. There is a part of me that refuses to let those voices win again, and that part is getting stronger and stronger. This person I work with is someone who could very easily trigger the voices in my head. She actually does trigger them, but I have been able to stand up for myself and continue to believe that I am more than capable of doing my job. The struggles I’ve had with her have been exhausting, but they have strengthened my confidence. Each time I am able to stand up to the voices that she triggers, the stronger I become. I’m grateful for that, but it is also hard for me because I feel like the relationship that was being built has been hit very hard. I’ve struggled with what my part is in that, and what I can do next to see if there is a way to repair it. But with her being basically right next to me, and being a completely different person at work than away from work, I’ve not been able to process through anything. As soon as I start to feel like I’m at a point that I can talk to her, she does something that triggers the voices in my head, and I feel like I have to protect myself before I can deal with her. Fortunately, on Thursday, I got a bit of a reprieve. She was moved downstairs. That will mean that I will most likely only have to deal with her in short bursts again. It has already allowed me to get a little space, and I’ve been able to realize something.
I’ve thought a lot about going to lunch with this person and trying to hash things out. I know that she is frustrated and doesn’t know what to do. I don’t think she realizes how much she compartmentalizes things, and she is trying so hard to be nice to me when it comes to non work related stuff. But she still conducts herself the same way at work, and I have an issue with that. I know she doesn’t connect the dots, and I’ve wondered if it would be worth the energy to try and explain it to her. So far, trying to talk about it hasn’t worked. All of the reasons I have for not wanting to talk to her about it are very valid. There is a part of me that is sure it would not end well. But there is something else going on. Fear. I realized that there is a part of me that is afraid to talk to her. I’m afraid to find out that she really doesn’t care that how she acts at work affects our relationship – that she doesn’t care about how I feel – that she doesn’t care about me. I am afraid of giving her the chance to walk away. How would I handle that right now? Would I be strong enough to ignore the voices and the images that play in my head? I’m not really sure. But I do know that God is telling me that the fear is something that I need to face. If it’s not with this person, it will come up again and again until I face it…