The Real Me

I always second-guess if people really love me.

via pinterest
As soon as I start to become friends with someone, no matter who it is, I begin to doubt. What if they're just talking to me to be polite? They can't really want to be my friend. They'll just leave or fade out of my life eventually.

Even if we do become friends and I see that the person is willing to stick around for a while, I still wonder. I may never voice it, but deep down inside there's always that doubt slowly gnawing on the bud of our friendship.

I recently had to tell a close friend of many years that I still wasn't totally convinced that she loved me. (And this girl has shown me that she does in more ways that I can count!)

I don't know why it is so hard for me to accept that others love me. Why can't I recognize and receive the love that others often will give to me more freely than I realize?

I've thought about this for a long time. I've always wondered if it was just an insecurity of mine I would never get rid of, like the scars from chicken pox that show up when you get a tan. Maybe I just have to live with it, and hope it will fade with time.

But I don't think that's true. I think there is a real issue behind my insecurity: that I never let enough of myself be visible for others to love. So, because they never (or only rarely) glimpse the true me, I'm always left wondering if they'll really love the true me. I'm very good at adapting and meeting others' needs and seeking out what makes them happy - but I'm very bad at letting them do those things for me.

It's as if I put up a puppet of me, the Rachel As Friend to So and So, and that friend interacts with and loves and cares for that puppet. While I'm hiding below the puppet stage, only willing to let myself be seen in glimpses, like when the happy face won't work or the puppet stage breaks down. I've started to be willing to be open in the hard times, but rarely do I let the real Rachel out when all is fine and the puppet mask works just as well as my real face (or even better). Besides, who would want to see the real me anyway?

The real me may not be concerned about your problems.

The real me may have too many problems of her own.

The real me may be deeply hurt by something you just said.

The real me may want to talk about what God's doing in my life even though it's all still a big mess.

The real me may not have all the answers.

The real me may be more vulnerable than I even realize.

The real me may need to cry on your shoulder, instead of always being the one to take care of you.

I think I need to bring this real me out into the open a bit. In fact, I need to burn down the puppet stage and throw away the puppets. I need to let the scared little Rachel come out into the light. Stop pretending and hiding - from others, myself, and especially God. I need to be willing to let God hold me by the hand instead of handing Him the Perfect Rachel puppet.

Please note, I am not saying that my relationships need to be all about me, or dictated by my needs. No. I have been so out of balance in this area that it takes a more extreme wake up call to shift me over to the middle. You might be on the opposite side - always putting yourself at the center of your relationships instead of others. That's no good either. We have to find balance.

And the only way we're going to get there is if we let God take us by the hand, pull us out into the open, and let others see our true selves.

I'm scared, but willing.

Friends - this post was hard for me to write and share with you all. But I believe I needed to write it. Please pray for me to continue discovering how God wants me to grow in this area, and help me be more of my true self with you.


The Story Behind the Pin

I was going through my pins on pinterest, and I realized that I had so many photos that would be excellent story-starters. I even have a board dedicated to story-worthy pins (called "The Story Behind"). But I never have used any of those photos for a story or even a character snippet. So, I decided to remedy that. Hence, The Story Behind the Pin where I pick a photo from pinterest and write about it, whatever comes from the inspiration of the moment. I hope you enjoy!

via pinterest
She tried to keep her face vaguely cheery so the world could not peek in past her vacant eyes. Eyebrows up, mouth in a slight smile, staring at no one in particular and acknowledging none of the glances that fell her way. She knew she looked pretty, at least if the mirror hadn't lied this morning. But she didn't feel it. How could she feel pretty when she was alone?

She had been waiting in this little cafe for so long that her eyes were beginning to glaze over. Shapes moved and blurred and skidded over the rim of her consciousness, but none entered her thoughts. The world glowed and blossomed around her in the warmth of a summer's day, but she could not see it. Her gaze bore through the glaze to the grey wall on the opposite side of the street. Somehow even though everything else blurred, this did not. She had memorized every crack etched in its expressionless side.

 Maybe this was all she was left to be. She had built up so many walls that it was becoming her existence. Too many people had pierced through her rubble with swords that slashed her soul. Now no one could get in.

 She had coated on so many layers over the scars that she was convinced they weren't visible anymore. She wasn't vulnerable anymore.

 But now she was only a cold grey wall.
(c) Rachel Lowrance 2013

I hope you enjoyed my little snippet. It was certainly a pleasure to write again, after so long of a break. Let me know if you like this idea, and perhaps I could make it into a linkup!



This very question strikes fear into my heart.

I've been realizing that fear is a huge struggle for me. So often I don't do something or I'll act in a certain way or cover up who I really am because I am chained down by fear. I never saw it that way before - I thought of it as being a homebody, or a shy person, or just struggling with a bit of insecurity. But it's a lot more than that. All those situations, those reactions, are motivated by fear.

I have let myself be motivated by fear.

But I don't want fear to be my default, the "safe" way to react to life. I don't want it to control me, to chain me down to a little life that never gets beyond the trails I've carved for myself. I've chiseled neat, symmetrical, tidy little grooves for myself in my day-to-day routine, and once I am faced with something outside of those safe little trails, fear kicks in. And I let it take over.

Yet God is tugging at the chains, reminding me that He has already broken them if I but let them go. Oh man is it hard to let them go! I actually get a physical reaction when I bend my will toward doing something that I fear. Emotions of vulnerability and incapability and terror flood my mind and overwhelm my senses, making me feel helpless and consumed by worry.

But I don't have to live this way. I don't have to let fear control me. Granted, I don't think I can actually get rid of everything that I fear. I will always have new things to face that are scary or worrisome or out of my comfort zone. But By God's grace I can confront my fears head on, giving myself space to say "yes, this is something I fear," and then moving through and doing it anyway.

You don't have to let fear control how you act or react. When faced with something you fear, you can choose to give in to fear or you can choose to have faith and pray for the strength to do what God would have you do.

The Bible is full of instances where God enabled people to conquer their fears. Just look at Abraham who feared to sacrifice his son, Moses who feared to speak, Joshua who feared to lead, Mary who feared to bear the Son of God, and so many more. God strengthened each of them with His courage and endurance to throw off the chains of fear and live lives of faith.

How much more will he do the same for us?

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