I have finally quit going to church in hopes of hearing a message for someone else. Some way to let me know a way that I can reach out and touch others with my stories and my anecdotes and my desperate desire to serve. The message from the pulpit always seemed to turn my finger, point it at myself and say “This is for You.”
And I have been pretty grateful to have the messages directed at me – after a little self righteous fuming over who I thought really needed to be there to hear it – I realized that I am more of a woman of Faith than I had realized.
You see – in my darkest day – I still had Faith. I never lost that. I don’t know why. Maybe because when God made me, he gave me a little extra, or maybe he tied it around my neck because he knew I would never be able to get it over my swollen head. I didn’t fully understand what the Faith was actually for and sometimes I was left with it just flapping around in the wind, smacking me in the ear every once in while to remind me it was there. I suppose I could have hung myself on my collar of Faith but instead, it just hung out and followed me from one bad choice to the next…always assuring me that I would get another chance to screw up again.
There’s a lot of power behind Faith. It is the opposite of Fear. Easy? No! No Faith equals Fear. Faith – having it – equals No Fear.
Faith – or the lack of fear – is what makes Firefighters run into a burning house to save a child. They believe that their brothers will be doing everything they can to get him out and they don’t question it. They just do it.
Faith is what makes us step out of our comfort zone and fight for what we believe in. It’s not just that easier to not step out – there is an element of exposure and chance that we might be laughed at. And the Fear of Exposure and Fear of Humiliation can be powerful weapons against stepping into the light of day and letting it all hang out.
When we moved into this condo, all the closet doors were simply falling off the hinges, one slat at a time. It’s hard enough to move into a new place and get all your stuff put away when the closet doors don’t work. But it was easy to see that these doors were going to have to be replaced. As I sat down to check the price of new bi-fold closet doors online, the door that kept the pantry under cover fell onto my long-suffering husband because the pin in the top was missing.
Now had I known that it was the pin that was missing, I would have tried to rig it with a paper clip and make it work until I could get the new ones purchased and installed, but a paper clip just won’t hold up a door that he wasn’t instructed to manipulate gently. Never mind that “gently manipulate” is not really in his vocabulary.
I heard the crash and the holler that followed and then I watched in wary silence at he heaved all of the closet doors – the pantry door, the laundry doors, and all the bedroom closet doors – out into the front yard. I heard them break apart like matchsticks and when he came back in, he felt much better.
Me – not so much.
Now maybe I’m all alone here – but I like my closet doors closed and I’m not a big fan of having the contents of my closets on display. “In the Closet” has deep meaning for me and not in the way you might think.
If it’s in the closet – thrown, hung, folded, wrapped, waded – whatever – it’s as good as put away as far as I’m concerned. I am fully comfortable with hiding things in the closet and presenting the appearance of a clean house to the rest of the world.
I don’t have to see it and I have a general idea of where it will be. “It” being the thing you are looking for. I don’t look for stuff. I put it in the closet so I don’t have to look for or at it. Until Michael threw the closet doors in the yard I didn’t realize what a mess my closets were.
Now I had to clean out my closets. And not just one at a time. I had to clean them all out at once. Bummer.
But that is Life. And Life doesn’t always look pretty. It isn’t always clean. And it’s never predictable.
Sometimes the very thing we try to hide from is the thing that we are supposed to be in front of. Just because you don’t want to do something doesn’t mean that you don’t still bear some responsibility on getting it done. Sometimes it scary.
These past few weeks have been a little like my closets. I have had them pleasantly held at a distance…and by being forced to organize their contents I have gained a lot of insight into my life.
I was afraid of what I might find in the closets of my soul but what I actually found surprised me. I found little bits of pain from my past that I hadn’t dealt with. Like shards of glass, they really weren’t keeping me in constant pain but it was time to pull them out for good and – this time – it was only a little pressure that was required to staunch the bleeding.
I found some unresolved anger and I found a little bit of a lack of trust in my own instincts. I pulled out some shame out from the back and under that mess was a treasure trove of great ideas and opportunities that I hadn’t taken but were still available.
And I found Wisdom. Wisdom to counsel and wisdom to allow myself to be counseled.
And although I have always claimed that I had no fear – I realized that I did. And I realized that a little fear is ok. A little fear keeps me grounded. And it makes me rely on my faith a little more. I am less likely to be deceived and less likely to deceive.
This thing we are working on to help women escape the bonds of slavery requires that we open our closets and expose some of our secrets. To be reminded of our assets and to be called upon to really ask ourselves “What am I supposed to do?”
We can all play a part. Some are required to lead and others are required to serve. Many are required to support the leaders and the servants.
I eventually got my closet doors back and my pantry and laundry room are no longer exposed to the world but when the doors do get opened, I’m not ashamed of what you might find inside.
I am on the inside what you see on the outside. My life is no longer hidden. I have scars but I wear them proudly because they are what makes me who I am. It’s a relief really.
Just don’t ask me about my dresser drawers!