Prison Break

Sometimes I look at my children in amazement, and it probably isn’t for the reasons you might think. At times it’s inappropriate, or even rude, but they feel total freedom to ask for what they want or need. Our oldest has learned to be tactful and respectful, but she still seems to have no problem expressing needs and wants.

It blows my mind and it’s kind of sad. Somewhere along the way I lost the ability to be honest about what I want. It doesn’t matter how small or big the request or need is, the idea of asking for things creates major anxiety in me.

I began to realize a few years ago that I was rarely thinking my own thoughts or making my own decisions. It was, “what would so-and-so do? How would he like this done? How can I do this right? How can I not screw up?” I felt like I had disappeared as my own person. As you might imagine it’s quite paralyzing to live that way.

I feel responsible for other people’s feelings, emotional states and happiness. When I’m in a place where something goes wrong, or things are awkward, I will feel a sense of responsibility, even if I have nothing to do with the problem. Somehow, some way, it must be my fault.

I was at a school program once and some of the kids sang a song that might be considered inappropriate by stricter Christian families. I didn’t know the kids, didn’t have anything to do with planning the program and was fine with song myself, but yet I felt a sense of anxiety or embarassment, on behalf of others. It’s so sick.

You can’t imagine the noise I have lived with in my mind at times in my life. Or maybe you can. I think this is far more common than we know, because nobody wants to talk about feeling this way…because you’re not supposed to have feelings. I think a lot of us think it’s normal.

Well it is absolutely not normal or healthy and I am fully aware of it. My eyes have been opened. Jesus said it is for freedom that he sets us free. In other words, He doesn’t set us free so we can be free one day, when we die and enter His presence (I’ve actually had that thought – maybe I just have to endure til it’s over). He sets us free so we can actually be free, right now.

I am not free to live and love like He would if I’m anxious, fearful or insecure. I can’t be who I was made to be and love the ones He sends me to love.

One of my fears is that if I really become free it’s going to rock the boat. What will it look like when I’m asking for what I want and need, speaking my mind (respectfully, of course), being fully myself, saying no? I have a feeling that I’m not such a quiet or mousy person, down deep. {cue Katy Perry singing Roar, for added drama}.

But seriously, it really might rock the boat. Changing the status quo usually does. But I know Somebody who only has to speak the word and the rough waters will be still. I trust Him to lead the way and help keep me humble.

I don’t know how I got into this place, but I’m busting out of this prison. Maybe I should paint my face blue and white and yell,

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