Having just heard the voice in my head repeating the same familiar taunt – you don’t belong here – my ears are pricked by something new.
Your emotions betray you.
I remember my loneliness and shudder at the the thought of yet another community forsaken by my insecurity; another friendship destroyed by my need for reassurance; or another relationship killed by the fear of “off” days.
Your senses lie.
Could the feelings that I have called intuition be false? Could my eyes, ears, and heart have turned against me? Is it possible that the feelings I have always felt – that I am unworthy or unliked – are being nurtured by some unrecognized and unaddressed darkness inside. What if the things I see on the outside have been changed somehow by what I don’t see on the inside?
Your circumstances don’t define truth.
The conflict, the war in my mind, suddenly becomes clear to me. I am not only fighting the evil in the world; I am fighting the evil at my side. It is whispering in my ear and standing on my chest. And it always has been. It masquerades itself as sanity; but in truth, it is unwarranted jealousy and undeserved shame.
Come and change the atmosphere.
Convict and open hearts to hear.
When the energy of fear stops protecting me, I feel the heaviness of this weight crushing my heart. I feel like I can’t breathe, betrayed by the person I trusted the most – myself. I have navigated countless communities of love with self-doubt at the wheel. I have gnawed and clawed my way through togetherness; when I could have let it move me gently. I have fought with the people I love, not knowing or understanding that I was fighting my own demons.
So let Your mercy light the path before me.
I have not always been merciful to my community and it has not always been kind to me. I have doubted its loyalty and distanced myself from the possibility of pain. I have shown up unwilling to work or waver in my stubbornness. I have listened to the lies that my feelings told and let them rot and spoil in the dampness of my mind. I have not treated my community’s wounds because I believed that it had earned them. But I am committed to my community as a wife commits to her husband. Now comes the hard part: to patiently sift through the madness and find the truth, to filter out the betrayals of my sinfulness, to show up ready to compromise. I will no longer let the twisting of truth ruin the greatest love story ever written – the one about a girl, her God, and his Church.