As one who struggles with anxiety, the Psalms have become sort of a comforting best friend to me over the years. When I read them, the enemies spoken of are often not actual people (though I have had many instances where my enemy has come in human form). No, often the enemies in my Psalm prayers are the voices of worry, fear, distrust, pride and worthlessness. So it is with today’s reading.
I am so tired. Tired of my mind working against me. Tired of pacing the floor at night, wondering how I can be such a disappointment to everyone I know. Tired of weighing every word, reading every tiny glint of body language, searching for every possible meaning to every possible action or belief. I’m tired of always assuming the worst, tired of feeling the hopeless knowledge that I will inevitably push away every person who ever utters the words “I love you” to me. Even God himself.
Because I don’t believe in love, not really. Not this fairytale we all chase with our entire existence, this unconditional faithfulness that we so desire with every fiber of our being. I believe our hearts are born with this longing that only Love itself can fill, but only with my head, not my heart. In my heart, I am still waiting for God to give up on me, for him to say, “You’re just too much to handle, Alecia”.
I expect it, from him, from everyone. I talk about putting my hope in Christ, but if I’m really honest, I put my hope in being right, in that prideful idea that I am just too broken to be worth anyone’s time.
I push boundaries with everyone I know. I have good days, good weeks, months, even years with people I truly care about. Then somehow, they feel too close and that’s when I push. It’s so impossible for me to let go and accept love in any form. I panic at the thought of believing the lie and being heartbroken and humiliated. That is an experience I know well, and I know to be an absolute in this life. It’s why I put my hope, my expectation in that – because in knowing, I can prepare. It’s hard to let one’s guard down and at the same time protect the oh so fragile heart from rejection and/or violation.
One of the reasons I named this blog LoveNcourage is because I wanted to encompass all three aspects of the title. I feel my mission in life is to speak truth and hope in encouragement, from my unique voice and life perspective. But I also want to dig deeper into both love and courage, both virtues that have thus far eluded me. I believe they go hand in hand. It is truly an act of courage to love and let anyone love you. In return, it is love that inspires the courage needed to speak truth and hope. It is courage that emboldens us to look past the fear and love in spite of the high possibility of rejection or attack.
Even in knowing this, living it, keeping hold of it seems impossible for me. And shouldn’t it be when I refuse to let Love himself break the carefully constructed walls around my heart?
I don’t how to solve this riddle except the deeply ingrained longing in my heart to know my Creator. I know the answer lies with him, and so I seek him with fervent passion. Until the voices scream to me in deafening spirals of thought that I am just not worth the effort. I let the voices win too many times.
But today, as I read Psalm 3, I am reminded that these thoughts are not truth, they are the enemy. I will disappoint, I will be disappointed, but that is not the end of it, it is only a part of the human experience, a part of any relationship in this world. It can be overcome. Love can prevail, even in the darkest of seasons. The voices say, God will never rescue you! Why should he? You are sick. Broken. God could heal you, but you will never allow that, will you? You are too prideful, your affair with pain too strong. You depend on it, and because you do, your God will let you drown in it. He will not rescue you, because you are a disappointment. A failure. A hypocrite. You love us, the protection we offer, more than you love God, and because you do, you negate his power in your life. You will never escape.”
And to that I say, even if I only half believe it,
But you oh Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. So many times, I’ve cried out to you, and you’ve answered me from your unmovable holy mountain…
I have rested, dared to close my tired eyes, and awoke to safety, your all-seeing eyes watching over me.
I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side, who speak lies to my wounded heart.
Arise, Oh lord! Rescue me, my God! Slap all my enemies in the face! Shatter the teeth of the wicked, those evil spirits that mock my aching heart!
VICTORY COMES FROM YOU, OH LORD!!!!
My hope lies in you….(Psalm 3:3-8, my paraphrase)
When you read this chapter of Psalms, what enemies come to mind?
Who or what is attacking your ability to live in God’s peace?
Go to him! Speak this Psalm as a prayer of truth over your enemy! Write about it, so that you can remember God’s faithfulness the next time this enemy tries to attack.
Thanks for reading guys, I appreciate your patience with my periodic breakdowns 🙂 Happy Thursday, God bless!