Can You Hear What is in My Heart?

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

2 Timothy 1:7

I have a love-hate relationship with this verse. I love that we were not created with a spirit of fear and timidity, we are created with power, love and self-discipline. Those are some strong words, words I can take to heart and remember in those times. It’s understandable why so many keep this verse close to heart.

But than there is the other side. The side that I don’t like. The side that I don’t always want to speak about. Having a spirit of fear and timidity. Something that God has not given us, which means that our fears and timidity. My fears and timidity come from something not of God, something of evil. Every time I read this verse I am reminded and question myself, if God did not give me a spirit of fear and timidity, why am I so afraid? why am I so timid? Why does the idea of speaking up make me want to go hide under the bed until I can figure a way out of it. Why does my fear control me? Fear of failing, of not living up to everyone’s standards, of not living up to my own standards.

I’ve always been shy, it is not as bad as when I was a child, I was church-mouse quiet, easily lost amongst the crowds. My participation grades were non-existent, and when I knew I had to participate to pass it took everything for me to speak up and say something. Ever since I was little I’ve wanted to say what was really on my mind, to speak up, to share the good news that I know! To declare that Jesus is Lord! To be able to lead a Bible Study or discussion! But the idea makes me anxious, it makes me sick to my stomach to think about standing in front of a crowd and saying anything.

I love this verse. I hold on to this verse, and yet I have not found a way to speak up, to share what’s on my mind. My silence controls me, it makes me feel as if I cannot connect with anyone, cannot make friends, it makes me feel as if people look past me, never getting the chance to know the real me, because in a crowd I don’t know how to be the real me. Many times, even in church, I feel as if I am standing in the middle of a room and everyone is passing me by, walking around me, never really seeing who I am. I feel that when I attempt to speak up, if someone else comes along I am quickly forgotten and I just want to scream. I want to yell at the top of my voice and cry out for people to notice me, that I am not who they think I am, that there is so much more to the quiet girl standing alone.

I don’t have the answers of how to change this, sure I’ve heard plenty of times that I’ve got to speak up, that I need to push myself  out of my comfort zone, but that is so much easier said than done. I tell myself daily sometimes hourly that today will be the day that I reach out, and slowly the days add up to weeks and months and I still haven’t spoken up. I don’t know if there is an answer to change this. Sometimes I wonder if this makes me a bad Christian because I don’t know how to speak about my faith, to share the words that echo in my heart that I want others to hear but cannot speak. I wonder in those moments that I do speak up if I am making any sense at all. If people realize there is so much inside of me that I want to share, to get out I just don’t know how too. In some ways I’ve found alternatives to be able to share who I am. But, I do not want to be silent. I want to speak up, I want to take hold of that power and share what is on my heart, and I’ve prepared amazing conversations only they all sit inside, waiting for the day that I can find the courage to speak out.

-Elle

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