I am discovering that insecurity can be the ultimate time machine.
It is amazing how I can be going along, living my somewhat normal, somewhat mature adult life, and suddenly one little event, or one conversation, can hit a sensitive spot, and instantly I am transported back to junior high.
This happened to me just yesterday. Ben and I were talking about some issue that I was having, just something small, but suddenly what Ben was saying cut really close to one of those sensitive spots, and before either of us quite knew how we got there, I had flared up like a mad hornet.
Ben very delicately tried to suggest that I go spend some time praying and figuring out what the real issue was, because it was obvious that our conversation had struck an old, deep root.
I knew he was right, which was very annoying in that moment, and I went off to sulk/pray. (It’s very hard to stay sulky for long when you’re praying, by the way.) And I was completely thrown off guard by what I unearthed as I tried to pull up all the roots of that old, nasty issue.
Those kinds of things can hide really well, and disguise themselves in such a clever way that we don’t always know what we’re dealing with.
So guess what I discovered? As I was praying, and asking God to heal me of old hurts and insecurities, He brought me back to grade seven. I carry loads of baggage from grade seven. It was a bad year for me. It was the year that I learned just how cruel girls can be to each other, and I have a ton of emotional scars to prove it.
Ben’s words had hit on those scars. That sensitive spot brought me right back to lunchtime in grade seven, when I sat alone day after day, because the group of girls I was trying to be friends with would quickly shove their uneaten food into their bags and rush away as soon as I sat down at their table. Sitting there by myself felt like a public announcement to everyone around that I was unwanted, rejected, alone.
I love being alone at home, by the lake, going for walks. But to this day, I do not like being alone in a crowd of people, because it makes me feel unwanted. It’s that old public announcement that no one wants to be with me, even though in my head, I know it’s not true.
The worst part of it is that it’s very hard to reach out to other people when my hands are too busy carrying old baggage.
photo © 2010 Anthony Masi | more info (via: Wylio)
So I worked through some baggage yesterday. I did some unpacking. And the most interesting thing happened as I prayed through all that junk. For the first time since grade seven, God gave me the perspective of what it was like for those girls. I had never thought about them or about what they were going through. Little things kept coming to mind that now as an adult, I can see and understand that I did not, back in junior high.
I can see that they were hurting, too. They were also insecure. They hurt me out of their own hurt.
And don’t we do that all the time? Trying to understand things from the other person’s perspective helps us to see that most of the time, people are not trying to be mean. They don’t try to hurt us. They are just experiencing hurt themselves, and it makes all of us a little dysfunctional.
Everybody has junk that needs to be healed and loved away. We all have these roots that lead to something deep, and with all those roots around, someone’s bound to trip on them, and yank a little at the sensitive spots.
I don’t really know how God heals it, but I’m just going to ask Him to, every time a sensitive spot gets hit. I want to give it to Him over and over again, and I’m guessing that with time, those spots will start to heal.
And my time-machine trips back to junior high will stop. I’ll be able to travel lighter, without all that baggage, and my hands will be free more often for reaching out to others.
How about you – where does your time machine take you?