Disillusion Speaks with Razors in her Voice

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Eph 6:13

Truth, peace, righteousness, faith, and the Spirit – that I may withstand the evil day, and open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel. These components of “God’s armor” do not originate with me, they are not of my making and I can’t pull them out of anywhere inside of myself. These are Spiritual gifts to us from a loving God. The only part I have any control over here is the choice to stand in these gifts, and having done all – just keep standing. Continue to occupy my space in the world and don’t hide away because I’m afraid of what others will do or say. 

Today, I do feel afraid. That’s ok. Because I can’t know what’s coming. I can’t know what others will choose. All that remains is the Knowing that all I can do is choose for myself. These past several years have been abundant with unlearning what I “Knew” before, and being at peace with not knowing, not controlling, not manipulating to keep that sense of control of others (which is nothing more than illusion anyway). Disillusionment has been my dark friend. I’ve walked with her for a while now, and she tells me the truth. Sometimes I really, really don’t like what she has to say, but in the quiet places, I sit in the stillness that comes with her words to me. 

  • The only thing we can control is ourselves.
  • Hold on to your peace.
  • No longer accept things as Love that are not Love. 
  • You get to choose. 
  • Tell the Truth and Say it Out Loud.

This last one has brought some significant push back and misuse from those who need the “Truth” to build their case against others, to prove their moral superiority — to win. “I’ll tell you the truth – I’ll say it out loud!” they say – and then comes the waterfall of every accusation they have in their arsenal against you, to prove your error and their justification. But this simply points to how “Truth” without Love is weaponized — and also how those out to win at all costs totally miss the point. Of most everything. 

When the Spirit spoke these words to me – Tell the Truth, Say it Out Loud — this is the path out of hiding, He was speaking to me of my inner world having been made so small that I was trapped in the self made cave deep inside myself. Terrified of saying what I thought and how I really felt, I kept silent, I hid away, I survived, but I was not living. 

Genuine connection requires vulnerability – and ask any little deer in the wood and they’ll tell you – you don’t come out into the meadow if it’s not safe. If the hunter is out there you most certainly will be shot dead. All of nature (including human nature) resounds — If it’s not safe: hide. Making yourself vulnerable in a space that is not safe is against our very natures, and for good reason. It will get you shot like Bambi’s mother. 

How could it not safe to say what you really think and feel? — I had to stop and just shake my head at that sentence. How indeed. For one vulnerability brings humiliation. It sucks every time, and the impulse is to immediately apologize when you have been made vulnerable to another human. I’m sorry, I know that was a lot. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to dump all that on you. I’m sorry you saw that messy part of me… (because now the humiliation comes). We need so deeply to connect with others in our shame stories, our pain, to be understood and known, while at the same time we intuitively understand that not everyone can hold that space for our hearts. We have not been equipped to do so. Even the ones teaching about Love and Grace and the Gospel have not (in large part) understood how to hold another’s vulnerable heart. The impulse is to shut it down, toss a scripture at the pain, side step the embarrassment of the moment that someone put a spotlight on grief that can’t be placated, to fix it (and quick! To ease the discomfort it causes in the fixer).

Tell the truth:

About how you feel.

(First to yourself) – Notice where that feeling resides in your body and how it shows itself, sitting with the discomfort of that feeling, or allowing desirable feelings like happiness be without cynicism creeping in under the door, is where the process begins. Those feelings, whether desirable or undesirable, point to what is true. 

For example – I feel afraid. (what are you afraid of?) Being hurt. (where is that feeling in your body?) I feel pain shooting through my chest, and like I want to throw up. (How would you be hurt?) I will be hurt if I open myself up to others.  (What is the underlying belief here?) That ultimately I will be abandoned and betrayed by everyone, so the only smart thing to do is hide — And here’s the thing, you will be abandoned in your life. You will be betrayed by some. It’s not a thing to be brushed under the rug and dismissed, because there are certainly those that will hurt you and never think twice about it. But the fear uncovered here is that the hurt will come if the choice is made to be open at all to others. The belief revealed that lies under the fear, is that no one can be trusted, no one is safe, and the only safe place is hiding deep down inside the self. 

Emotions are a road map that lead us to what is true. It is true that I have been afraid of vulnerability because I have been so deeply crushed and heart torn in my life. I have lots of reasons to be afraid. But it is also true that I get to choose to trust myself that I can spot a safe person, that I can create boundaries for myself that will protect me and clarify who I can be open with, and who does not deserve to hold my vulnerable heart. 

The end of the process looks like checking in with yourself and noticing how you feel in your body now that you’ve uncovered the root of the fear – the hope is that you can take a deep breath… no more stabbing pain in my chest. That is a very good day.

About what you think

This generally isn’t hard when you agree with someone, but it’s hard to be in disagreement with others — for most (not all) of us. The tension of not being able to say – Oh yeah, me too – and not getting the deep breath of relief that comes from being unified, understood, and validated for thinking a particular thing, is uncomfortable. I have seen us all avoid it at all costs. But our perspective, the way we think about things, is something that (when expressed) brings clarity. When we say what we really think, it becomes clear what sort of connection you really have with a person, how self reflective they are, how willing are they to think about things in a way other than what is already in their own mind – and it gives you the same information about yourself. We can quickly ascertain helpful information about the potential for genuine connection, or lack thereof. 

Becoming passive and not expressing our thoughts becomes it’s own sort of prison, a catalyst for isolation, and undermines every attempt we make at intimacy. If we want genuine connection with another person, we must engage in the vulnerability of sharing our perspective. (Again with the head shaking) It’s so hard to step into the discomfort of misaligned perspectives. And then for so many of us, it’s torture to not try and convince the one that does not share your perspective, to take yours on. And we begin building the case for why we see things the way we do. If you only understood why I think the way I do, you would think like me and we could sidestep this tension! And heaven forbid you’re the only one in a crowded room that does not share the group’s perspective. 

Say it Out Loud…

This is a tricky one, and is why I disclaimer:  Say it out loud to those you want intimate connection with. Not: shout everything you think and feel from the rooftops!!! It can’t be said enough that intimacy does not exist without vulnerability. Part of maturity, however, is understanding that we are not meant to be intimate with everyone. (gasp, yes, I know – hello social media overshares) Intimate connection, whether it is friendship, romantic, or paternal, is not a gift to be given to just anyone who wants it. Dear God in heaven it took me so long to understand this one. Somehow I had come to believe that whatever anyone wanted from me, I was obligated to give. Good Lord, how did I actually believe this? But I did. Thoroughly. And the stress, pain and grief it brought me was 1000 fold. And it just kept coming. Because time after time I handed my intimate heart to others, and they obliterated it. They were not equipped to walk with me, hear my heart, to know my soft places. Yet, because I believed I had no choice but to hand myself over… you get it. 

Disillusionment speaks with razors in her voice. She cuts away what does not serve us if we will let her. But then we have to know how to recalibrate and forward our lives into what we truly desire, and not live in the mirage of what it never will be. 

So until next time my friends, be brave, feel the feels and Tell the Truth, Say it Out Loud.

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