I remember the hairs on the back of my neck raising when he stood behind me, asking such insanely personal questions such as "how are you doing?"
I remember crawling to the back of my closet in the dark, breaking down in the silence.
I remember hating someone, and doing everything in my power to get this person to go away. I remember realizing I love this person, and doing everything in my power to get this person to go away.
I remember apologizing for not being strong enough. I remember apologizing for not being vulnerable enough.
I remember not being good enough, not being smart enough, not being pretty enough, not being nice enough, not being giving enough, not being strong enough in faith, not being perfect enough, not being...
The Secret Room
During my teenage years, my family lived in a 120-year old house. My bedroom for the first year or two living there was on the main floor. It was a pretty cool room, with it's own secrets. One of these secrets was an adjoining room. When I first moved into the bedroom, there was an odd piece of wall paneling nailed to the existing wall. Deciding to remodel, I pulled down this panel, and found a locked, nailed-shut door. Managing to get through that door, I found the room.
That secret room was me. The roof was caving in in one corner. The radiator was broken and laying in a pile of dirt and leaves. There was writing on the wall and moth balls in the closet. And other than these few things, the room was empty. Lonely. And yet strangely safe, hidden behind multiple walls and a locked, nailed-shut door.
Fear Builds Walls
It's amazing how little time it takes to build a wall - how little energy it takes. It's almost as if I have a stack of prefabricated walls stacked up in the corner just waiting for me to need to erect them.
So what is it that brings about this need to erect walls? What makes a secret, abandoned, lonely, empty room so safe and appealing?
Fear of failure, success, the future, the past, the unknown, the known, disappointment, love, pain, loneliness, togetherness, not being enough, crying, intimacy...
I could write a book on all the things I'm afraid of. I could write a full set of encyclopedias on all these fears, and the walls they built, and the walls they keep erected. I could write a book about that secret room. Although, I really don't think I'd be able to do that - just the thought of writing about that one secret room has me trembling in fear, near tears, and feeling insanely vulnerable and wanting to throw up walls.
Fear - Satan's Favorite Tool
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18)
Have you ever noticed how fear just seems to grip us, and grow, and occupy all our time and thoughts? We worry about money issues, and if our children are safe and well-adjusted. We get scared of illness, and death, and our futures. All these thoughts and worries and concerns overtake our thoughts to the point where we start to ignore God and His desires for us. We start to unintentionally push the Holy Spirit out.
We get scared of love, of closeness, of being hurt by other people. We fear intimacy, knowing it makes us vulnerable. We worry about being hurt by others; about having our hearts broken again. All these fears cause us to erect walls, keeping away people, not letting them hurt us... but also not allowing love to enter.
God wants us to love, and wants us to learn to love the way He loves. We can't do this if we're consistently filled with fear. We can't do this if we're constantly hiding in our own secret rooms that are hidden by layers of walls and locked doors. Satan knows this, and uses this.
We must stop fear from erecting walls that keep us from loving and being loved. We must learn to pull down existing walls that are keeping us from loving and being loved.