Not as Alone as I Think

I want to say something,  something illogical and foolish, but please bear with me. It’s been a while since I have written anything. There’s good reason for this, well no, actually it makes sense but it’s not a good reason, in fact it’s rather counter intuitive.

In the past month(s) I’ve come to realize something about me. I enjoy being around people, not ground breaking, but I need to be around people. I need to be with people I trust and I can be completely vulnerable with. The difficulty I’ve found is that though I have people around me I close myself off, in part because I worry about people’s thoughts about me, what I’m sharing, but in large part due to this feeling that I will overwhelm the people I care about with the extensive overthinking I do.

I feel as though, because I want to care for people around me who carry so much as it is, I cannot load more on their shoulders.

So the problem persists, grows, and compounds, creating an unhealthy Greg, withdrawn from the people that care for me and stewing in negative thoughts or just too many thoughts.

Foolish right?

Now, in the past to sort of “sidetrack” this issue, or for an eloquent “put together” way of expressing my internal turmoil, I blog, I write about it. (This is beyond the daily journaling I do). This way I can share a struggle, a frustration, a confusion, without true intimacy because I give it themes and metaphorical meaning, externally processing with the enigmatic wide web which includes whomever “chooses to read/hear” my stresses. Typically written blogs give an air of finality to personal struggles, like “writing about it means it’s solved, or mostly solved” which is much more manageable than unresolved conflict, which is messy.

Since I have been trying to work on friendships (or rather this is what I told myself) I didn’t want to share my struggles via blog without cluing in at least some people because then I’d get the typical former response of, “Hey I had no idea, please come to me if you ever need to talk”. I want people to know me, I need people. This is why I haven’t been blogging.

While this has been “good” I haven’t been doing my part. I haven’t been sharing.

I recently reread “Scary Close” by Donald Miller, this is now the third time reading it (I think this will become a habit). The book outlines how Don struggles with intimacy, how he’s been “performing” his whole life. He walks through his journey of discovery through his relationship patterns up until his wife. The book explores how life is meant to be shared and though it’s scary, to be known by people.

Rereading this book and a moment of clarity on a Sunday at church woke me up. My ideas culminated to a realization, I’ve been emotionally unhealthy. I realized it fully when my friend asked me why I was sitting on my own reading my Bible rather than be at lunch with my team/friends.

Reading the Bible is not the issue, in fact it’s a great thing, an essential aspect to life. It was the timing and the scenario. I timed my day in such a way that I missed lunch with my friends, in fact I didn’t miss eating, I had grabbed food on my own and then sat down to read. I told my friend as I was realizing it for myself. Because I need people to process my own thoughts with, I isolate myself when I am feeling anxious because I don’t want to overwhelm my friends with my anxieties.

I’ve been making things worse.

Last night as I was sharing with my friend an encounter I had with God this week, a moment where God was again asking me to trust Him which I was struggling to do. It was interesting though because after I shared, after I included him in my struggling and the process God was walking me through he thanked me. Not just for sharing “myself”, my process, with him, but also he was reminded of something God had spoken to him. My friend basically told me that not only should I share with people for my health but for others to learn.

Life is meant to be lived with others, to share the burdens we are not strong enough to carry on our own. To get perspective from those not within a situation, not themselves crushed by a specific anxiety. We can learn from hearing what people are processing and realize that we are not as alone as we may perceive.

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Intimacy Scares Me

and let me tell you why.

The concept is fine. The practical is terrifying.

That you would willingly yield up a part of yourself for others to know, and for some individuals you’d gradually share more of you.

Is there a point to intimacy, a point where you’re known so much and so deeply that there is nothing else? Is there a bottom to this well?

I’ve been mulling on this idea for a while now. I believe that if there is a bottom, it’s so deep it’s not quantifiable. I think on these things because I am coming up into to familiar territory in the patterns of my life. I am coming to the point where an edge is coming and I don’t know what comes next.

Perhaps another ponder: Is there a depth to myself that I am not aware of consciously? Could there be parts of me that I don’t know but perhaps others know?

Back to the edge.

I am feeling a certain kind of way, a way that I feel every so often. I am living life, doing well, facing difficulties, sometimes feeling victorious and sometimes not. I am living life walking with God, doing my thing (well trying to do His thing as best as I can) and I come to this place where it feels like I am standing in front of a door. Now, I know I am meant to walk through the door, but I am uncertain of what I will find on the other side, and I feel slightly anxious, or rather slightly apprehensive. What could be next?

I recognize these feelings when I have been praying a lot for something, but then it’s like something in me refuses to hear a response, or I find myself distracting myself with either trivial or negative habits. It’s like a weird comfort habit. I read my Bible, but I try not to pause and reflect too long on any passage. I worship, or rather I sing songs. It’s as if I take a moment to tell God that He’s already gotten rather intimate in my life and I’m not sure if we should go further, perhaps just be good acquaintances.

I feel as though I am beginning to sound like a terrible Christian. Please bear with my candid ramblings (if you are even reading this, perhaps this is just a method of processing).

Today, as I was lifting my hands in worship, I felt this overwhelming feeling as if the Holy Spirit came up and embraced me. I realized it felt slightly uncomfortable, but it was so nice.

God created me, and you for that matter, to be in relationship with you, to get to know me (you) in a proverbial sense. I mean, He knows everything about us, as He made us, but He wants to go through the process of getting to know us, of living the ups and downs of life with us. In that process, He wishes for us to get to know Him. His character. His love.

This scares me. This makes me uncomfortable.

I believe I have some unsavory quirks, some annoyances, limitations, asinine hangups. I am uncomfortable with Him wanting to know me because of this. I am uncomfortable with this because I’ve gotten used to my hang ups, the things that comfort me, but are harmful to me and others.

Because that’s the thing of it. When we grow closer and more intimate with God, when we allow Him in the spaces He’s already aware of (and doesn’t love any less because of) we allow His character to be present in front of us. And when we are exposed to Him, to His character, His love, we cannot remain unchanged. We begin to look like Him.

There’s this part in “The Chronicles of Narnia” book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, where after a character, Eustace, has become a dragon due to his greed and he sits in front of Aslan ashamed at what he’s become, remorseful for how he has acted. In one of my favorite passages in a book, Aslan tells Eustace to pull off his scales, to which Eustace attempts, dismally. After no success, Aslan says it must be Him to do it, that only Aslan had the power. When Aslan does begin to pull off the scales he tears them out with His claws, Eustace reels from the pain while exulting in his transformation. In this moment, C.S. Lewis paints a picture of what God does with us, tearing away our brokenness, which while hurting leads to healing.

I tell people all the time that sometimes we need to be in places of discomfort to grow and become better. Perhaps I should take my own advice, plus I’m pretty sure it’s going to be better than anything I could think of or imagine.

It’s time for the next thing,