After a tear-filled counseling appointment, Krista looked at me and said “I think we’ve struck gold”.
I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of my health anxiety for, oh I don’t know, 26 years or so.
Lot’s of therapy.
Tons of prayer.
Never wanting to shy away from it all.
Always being willing to dig a little deeper.
Shovel some more dirt out of the way.
Willing to put in the hard work to get to the bottom of this struggle.
Krista reminded me of how I say “I’m afraid but I don’t know why.”
I say that?
Apparently, I say it quite often.
I don’t know.
I’m not sure.
We went a little deeper.
Shoveled on past the fear.
Wanna know the gold?
The thing behind the thing?
The thing under the thing?
I had told her several different stories of older people who had said some not very nice things to me.
You see, when you are vulnerable and put yourself out there, and reach out to people about your fears?
Well, sometimes even the best meaning people, shame you.
I told one older woman I was afraid to get cancer.
She looked me in the eye and said it was because my identity wasn’t in Christ, it was in my looks. I was vain.
I told another older woman about my fears and she looked me in the eye and flat I told me I was flipping God off.
I’m vain AND I’m flipping the god of the universe off???
The one I am coming to, on my knees, begging for healing?
Giving him the old bird.
There is more.
I have had three different adult people in my life ask me to forgive them for not liking me.
I could tell each story but I won’t.
I was telling a group of people about my hypochondria once, and the older gentleman sitting across from me said “You know, God can heal you of your eye problem.”
I freaked out.
Could he tell just by looking at me that I had some sort of eye cancer?
Turns out, it wasn’t that kind of “eye”.
It was actually an “I” problem.
As in, I thought about myself too much.
Once again, after I told Krista this story, I asked her if I am a narcissist.
She said I am not.
Then, we went and dug some more.
How about the two times I threw up in elementary school?
Once in Art Class and once all over my third grade teacher’s desk, dress and grade book.
As I told both of these stories, I began to cry.
Little 1st and 3rd grade Karen.
Which led to being afraid.
I spend a whole lot of time being ashamed.
I’m even ashamed at how many times I’ve said “I” in this post.
If I can tell you all about my stuff?
Maybe it can help you see some of your stuff.
Which reminds me, Krista said my vulnerability can make people not like me.
She told me that if I want everyone to like me I need to stop being so vulnerable.
I asked her why.
She said when I am vulnerable I become like a mirror to others.
Other people can actually see themselves in me and they don’t like it.
It isn’t really about me?
It’s more about them?
I’ve typed a whole lot.
If you are still reading, thank you.
I know now there is something to this shame stuff.
And that is one thing I haven’t ever thought of.
I’m going to spend some time actually writing about what it would look like if adult Karen could have walked into that dark bathroom and spoke with little Karen.
That will be a whole post in itself.
And there is so much to think about when it comes to shame inducing churches.
Oh Lord, have mercy and help us see.
Shame puffs up the fear.
Shame is like the air that is blowing up the balloon of fear.
I’m so scared because I am ashamed.
I’m terrified because I don’t want to be ashamed.
Now I’ve typed more.
No shame in any of it.
Let’s help each other see how beloved we are.
Perfect love cast out fear.
Nothing at all to be ashamed of.