I often find that I am a lonely person. Not in the sense of I have no one to talk to or that I don’t have any friends. I have a husband that takes the times to listen to me, to respond, and is committed to me. I have a core group of friends that I trust and a good relationship with my siblings. I have mentors who are friends, and am slowly making friends with people in my church.

Yet, there still is a place in me that has welled up out of fear. A place that creates these walls and makes it hard to break them down. I have been teased on many occasions that I need to open up more, to talk more about myself. This blog doesn’t count.

And I can’t help but wonder if this fear in me has created a place of sin. While reading through my oldest son’s Bible study curriculum it mentions how idols are anything that takes our desires and hearts away from God through pride or fear. I knew the pride part, had experienced it on my own many times and worked through it. But when I thought about the idol of fear and what that might look like, I realized it looked a lot like my reflection.

Fear that I am not going to sound “right” has been a cop out when I am with others and we are praying aloud. This has kept me from prayer.

Fear that I am not good enough as a mother to have kids that behave well enough. This has kept my children and me from activities.

Fear that I might be a little too odd, a little to awkward, to try to make friends, that I won’t be accepted. This has kept me from relationships.

Fear that if I am vulnerable and share a real need and not just something on the surface, that I might be too broken. This has hindered current relationships.

But what I learned this past week is that when you are vulnerable, when you dare to take a chance on your friends and show them a little bit of what is going on with you and your life and your crazy mind, they are not going to walk away from you. When you speak out in prayer those things that you seek, that you need and desire, they will stand with you. I have run from these things with the idol of fear in my hand, thinking I could never be that open. Past experiences remind me of the hurt that can occur when you are open and vulnerable with friends. But new experiences have taught me that when these friends are good and safe and true, it is okay. The judgment you feared was coming doesn’t. And maybe, just maybe, you can finally loosen the grip you have on fear, finally realizing that it is your grip on it and not its grip on you that has kept it around for so long. And you begin to do the things that were once so natural but have been hindered or stopped completely because of fear. You begin to take a chance again, to believe, to open up.

My theme this year is simplicity. Fear complicates things. It is time to let go of it, to lay that idol down and simplify my life with the pure and unconditional love of Christ, with the simple truth of the gospel, and with the simplicity of being with my friends as I am, without complicating it with walls and barricades. Because when I opened up, I no longer felt as lonely. I felt a simple hope rising up, encouraging me to press in when I feel like running. To let go of fear instead of waiting for it to let go of me.

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