I do not trust people easily, and it has nearly always been a hindrance to me. For example, my writing, my art, and so forth, it isn’t written for me, not really, it’s written, as a gift, for humanity, for those around me, and though I pour out my heart and my soul, I do not do the one thing that actually is required of me, which is the sharing of it. What are fine words if I do not share them? Why? It is because I do not trust, and the sharing of these works of my hands and heart, is to be baring my soul. It is to stand before all, unmasked, and revealed to be as I truly am. No more, no less. What stands in my way is my lack of trust. This really is quite inexcusable, and part of the purpose of my doing this experiment with this blog is to open my heart, not only to those in my immediate vicinity, but to all. Only in so doing, will I find the freedom to express my work to those around me, though I confess, it is a bit unnerving to even attempt to reveal the thoughts of my mind and heart, especially, in a public setting, such as a blog that anyone may read.
Another thing I’ve noticed, and in many ways it goes hand in hand with my ‘trust issues’ is that I have a very difficult time getting around the fact that I do care what it is that people think of me, I want to be liked. And the fear of rejection is the ‘root fear’ if you will, of so many of my other fears that branch off of that particular shrub. I am always afraid to express what it is that I really think, because, if I do, in my mind, I will be rejected. This isn’t right, but it is present. There is a difference between something being present within me and it being something I want to be in me. I am tired of the fear of rejection, and the things I do to avoid it. In many ways I wear mask, one could even say, a different mask, for every person that I encounter. Nobody sees the real me, only the mask. This is not right either.
I’m not condemning myself, but I am acknowledging the fact that I am wearing a mask. I wonder what a world without masks would be like? I am sure I am not the only one who wears a mask to hide who it is that I truly am. I do it, everywhere I go, perhaps for fear of judgement, out of insecurity, or maybe because I simply want to be liked, and I know people are used to seeing the mask. If I was to take off the mask would they still like the man behind the mask? And this is the question that brings me back to the issue of trust.
I do not trust that they will. Even though I’d like to think that if those around me were to lay down their mask, I would love them all the more for their courage, their bravery, their confidence in accepting their own identity, their strength, their trust of me enough to let me see them as they are, I would love them all the more for it. Yet, I do not extend that toward others, I do not trust that deeply. I am convinced, wrongly, that I am a monster that lurks behind a mask of beauty, and when the mask is removed, people will flee in horror, and I will stand, desolate, alone, and afraid. It is a lack of trust, and it extends even unto God himself. I do not doubt his greatness. My greatest struggle in my faith is the goodness of God. I do not doubt his love, his justice, his greatness, or even his beauty. It is his goodness that I struggle with.
I know, I know, not everyone is trustworthy. But at what point does caution become a poison? Is it even my business to be concerned about what it is that people think of me? I don’t know
Fear, in my country, America, we live in a culture of it, at the present time, almost everything that takes place, takes place from a heart of fear. I’ve been watching my thoughts, and those around me, and I am astonished by how much we let fear dictate our lives, our decisions, everything. It is a cruel master, and we want it, we believe that our fear is our safety, when actually it is our fear that is destroying us. Safety, something of an illusion in itself, we seek it, to the point of madness. We won’t do anything we deem to be unsafe, even if we would be better off for it. We refuse to acknowledge the possibility that God is not safe, and in so doing, must have him in our box of what we deem to be a safe god. If he works outside the box, we do everything we can to try and put our idea of him back inside the box again. We’ve created a whole culture in our attempt to put God in our safety box.
This culture of fear works itself out in surprising ways, some of it almost amusing except that it is really quite tragic in how it works itself out. The number of men, for example, who are surprisingly threatened, by the cat. I mean, seriously. Thousands of men are so insecure and so terrified, that a creature full of confidence and grace, the cat, is considered to be a serious threat to them. Unfortunately, the fears that are the root of these insecurities are the same found in those who would abuse those around them. It may seem amusing that men fear cats, but it is this fear that also is at the root of men fearing anyone whom they perceive to be beneath them, or above them. At its root it isn’t about the cat, but about the ego, the perceived threat to the self, the worth of oneself. This fear of not being the center, always leads to the abuse of somebody. It is fear that fuels violence. Fear breeds more fear, and fear breeds violence, violence in turn breeds more fear, and the vicious cycle continues. It is safety that is being sought. The safety of the ego in this case. Our safety obsessed culture has made us anything but safe, and safety in itself really is more of an illusion than an actual reality. The solution of course, is not safety, but courage.
Courage, is in many ways, something that is manifested in the outworking of the virtuous, and it isn’t so different than acting from a heart of love. Perhaps this is why fear is cast out by perfect love, because love is the well from which courage is drawn, and from courage we act in virtuous ways. Fear, however binds us, and safety is but a fantasy, not something real. Courage however, transforms us, and those around us.
My fear, is the fear of others, what it is that they think of me. I must not fear what others think, but operate from a heart of love. In the learning of the loving of others, I should then find my heart is one filled with courage, and not one governed by fear, but a heart governed by love. It is so much better to be governed by love than by fear. Fear tells me to wear the mask, love says to not wear the mask.
My problem isn’t so much that I do not trust, it is that I am afraid. And why is it that I’m afraid, because I do not love. How do I love? By being loved. This is why it is so important to know that God loves us, and loves us with a perfect love. Because, in knowing that I am God’s beloved, I know what it is to be loved, and in knowing what it is to be loved, I cannot help but to love, and love will cast out the fears that bind me.
I need not fear, after all, it is true that I am loved by God, is it not? I need not fear anything.
Knowing that fear robs not only me, but those around me, it is part of why I consider fear to be one of my chief enemies. How can it be anything except an enemy? It is because of holding a heart full of fear that I distrust both God and humanity. It is because of a heart of fear that I refuse to be as I am, my lack of trust is born out of fear, and fear will destroy every good thing. It is not good that I am afraid.
It is a process, I think. But I am glad that I am becoming aware of the fact that I even have fears, and that it is these fears that are at the root of so many of the evils and corruptions I might see, in a strange way, knowing what the reason is, is a bit of a comfort to me. Not that I desire to be rid of these things any less for the understanding of them, in some ways, learning of them, increases my desire to see them removed.
I pray that I can see not fear, but love, courage, and a soundness of mind be the ruler of my decisions in the future.