June 19, 2019
So this last Sunday, Penacost Sunday, I was battling within myself. A week prior I had been asked to share my story with a small group and so I had been thinking it through and trying to decide how much to include. This had caused me a great deal of stress and so that week many things had reminded me of my story and set off a chain reaction of me thinking through my personal trauma. This had reached a fever pitch by Penacost Sunday. I was so torn between the freedom of giving my story to Christ and the fear and shame of telling my story to people I barely knew. During the pastors sermon I had come to the conclusion that fear and shame were still controlling me. I had been trying to pray through this for weeks and still been cycling through my fight with both. The pastor asked anyone who needed prayer to go forward and I struggled in the pew. I could go forward and let the Holy Spirit take my burdens or I could stay in my row. I told myself that technically the Holy Spirit’s power isn't affected by where I’m standing. But then I thought, “what is keeping me from going forward? Fear.” So I prayed for strength and went forward. I prayed over and over that God would help me and remove my fear and shame. I received the clarity that my constant need to be strong is competey motivated by my fear and shame. Fear keeps me from being vulnerable, and shame makes me feel terrible whenever I have been. I knew in that moment up front that the only strength I needed was from God. If I had given God all my fear and shame I no longer needed to be strong. I told God that I had no idea how to go onward without being strong and protecting myself. That was all I had ever known. I told Him that He would have to do every part of it for me and that He better have a plan, because I couldn’t even imagine life without relying on my own strength. I went back to my seat, the streaks of tears still wet on my face. After the final dismissal the people around me went about life as normal. One of the Roma girls from the youth group said something and wiped away some of my tears. But I needed someone strong because I had a wall of emotions about to come down. I looked frantically for someone not engaged in conversation. I looked for the missionaries I had met in the weeks prior and my first two options were taken. I made my way across the sanctuary and locked eyes with the missionary's traveling companion. She was a soft spoken Bulgarian woman who I had talked with for a short time two days previously. As I got closer to where she was sitting alone and she looked up and smiled and I wasn’t even sitting next to her before I started to sob. A woman who hadn’t known my name two days before held me as I cried. Every time I started to tell myself to get it together I reminded myself I didn’t have to be strong anymore and a fresh wave of tears would come. I released decades of held back pain. The fear told me I was making a scene and that I should be ashamed of myself, the shame told me that people were watching and should be afraid of what they thought. I then remembered that I didn’t need to be strong, and that fear and shame are from the devil. I had been set free from my own need to be strong and I was truly safe to cry on the shoulder of another believer without any need for shame. I am a child of God who has been set free from all my chains, and it’s time I lived like it. If I am weak and struggling, where better to release my emotions than surrounded with other believers. I finally let someone else be strong for me.