Please understand I am scared.

woman on bike reaching for man's hand behind her also on bike

I really want to be understood. I want someone else to know what I’m feeling. I don’t want to be alone.

And yet, lately I’ve been pushing people away with my anger.

There are a lot of scary things in life. So I use a lot of brain power worrying about these things. In an attempt to be calming, a common platitude offered is “You don’t have to worry about it” (or they add the foreboding “yet” at the end). They mean it in a loving manner, but their best intentions nonetheless trigger me to anxiety. This statement makes me feel that the speaker has no clue. The fact that she claims there is no need to worry is clearly a demonstration that she doesn’t understand the situation. And now, not only do a have a stressful situation, I’m left with teammate who is working against me!

Almost immediately I become terrified and either start flighting or fighting. If I feel I can’t avoid the situation, I become somewhat of a bull in a ring–terrified and lashing out in desperation. Anxiety rushes in and I feel panic and alone, unsafe and in danger.

Hopefully you can’t relate at that level (anxiety is irrational). And yet, I wanna bet that every human can relate to the pain of being misunderstood and the calming essence of feeling understood. I want to be a voice for every bristly human who is putting up her guard because she does not not feel safe and understood. I’m advocating for seeking to understand instead of seeking to pacify. Seeking to hear before seeking to teach. Seeking to connect before seeking to fix.

girl holding umbrella on grass field

“I can hear your fear and I understand why you’re scared. I’m sorry, because I know you don’t want to be afraid and it’s so exhausting when things feel unsafe.”

If you responded this way to me when I was starting to get bristly, I probably would cry. I know that is likely enough to scare you away, but I want you to know that it would only be because I needed it and this statement would make me feel understood and safe enough to release my tears.

I’m asking to be understood and helping those who care about me to understand me.

I want to hear and understand you, too. I welcome comments.

3 thoughts on “Please understand I am scared.

  1. Love You BethAnn, so bold and so articulate and so emotionally literate to mate feelings/moods to precise words that I can identify with, words from your soul that understand me. I think I understand you too. But I see pictures/videos. In my mid 20’s, I had reoccurring dreams that I was in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight. I was treading water. Only my physical exertion was keeping me afloat. “What if I get tired?” “What if a shark…?” “Where is the land?” “Where is a rescue boat?” I never knew what those dreams meant until just now! I had moved out of my parents’ home. I was on my own. I was Children’s pastor, driving a school bus, taking classes, doing odd jobs… My parents’ home (LAND) was hundreds of miles away. I was surviving as an adult only by my own efforts (TREADING WATER) with the feeling of no backup, no other support. If there was any confidence, it was only in the position I had right now, the income I was making right now that barely kept me afloat. True, I could call time-out in life and go back home anytime. But, to me, that option was 1-step above drowning.
    Here’s what I also know now that I didn’t know then: I am saved. A Christian. A Bible teacher for God’s sake! A man of faith, but there are “PARTS” of me who do not understand nor utilize faith in God. One main “part” is Mr./Ms. Protector, guarding against my discomfort, pain, and death. He/She makes sure that I am defended and kept safe. He/She deeply cares about me and is a close long-term friend. He/She has been known as that voice of reason and caution, and fear, anger, offense. Mr./Ms. Protector is a very strong and influential voice in my thought life. Persuasive and outspoken, my Protector-self weighs in on much more of my thoughts, decisions, and actions than I want to admit. Mr./Ms. Protector is also the keeper of inner vows and promises like: “I won’t let ___?X?___ hurt me again.” or “I’m not opening my heart to them again.” …and so on. When I make one of these statements, Protector-self gets energy, motivation, empowerment: “Alright, let’s got to work protecting you! I’ve got this bulletproof vest to guard your poor little heart. Let’s lock this door to keep that offender out. Oh, you know what? I’m building you a thick “wall of rejection” to keep everybody out just for a while until you heal from this pain. Trust me. You need me right now. I’m the only one looking out for you. I know just what to do. I’ve got your back”, says my Protector-self.
    “So, what about GOD and Faith?” I say weakly.
    “Look, that offense, this pain that’s what’s happening now. You are being violated, and we’ve got to make it right. I don’t see your faith or your God doing anything to help you right now. And you know you can’t tell Church people, they’ll judge you, look down on you, and reject you. I’m not saying I’m all you’ve got, but I am what’s working for you right now.” “Let’s look at my track record,” Protector-self says, “Haven’t I always been here for you? with you? Life’s hard, but we always work out a plan to keep you safe. After all, safety is number 1, right?”
    “But, I believe in God. I believe in miracles. God will come through for me.” I state firmly, but shakily.
    “Look, name one-time faith has kept you from getting hurt?” Protector argues. “Is it really a miracle, or just the natural course of things working itself out? or maybe the luck of the draw. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not against faith, I’m for faith. I am as pro-faith as you are, I am you after all. It’s just that you’re at a low place right now, lower than your faith can go. You need to help your God by helping yourself get back up again. Let’s take some precautions, take some steps. Let’s get you back on your feet again. I will continue to protect you. We’ll keep you wearing that bulletproof vest to protect your heart, keep certain doors locked. We’ll keep that wall of rejection up for your protection, but we’ll disguise it with a nice mural or a facade so as to blend in, you know. Once you’re back in a good place again, you’ll be going to all your favorite places, doing all your favorite things. Then you’ll be in a good place to engage faith like you want. You can walk right up in that Church, head held high, and nobody will be able to judge you. If anyone does, well, we’ve got a few sharp words and things to put them back in their place, or just cut’em down right there and then. I won’t ever leave you defenseless.” says Mr./Ms. Protector.
    I could go on, but the point is that our protector/survivor instinct is a powerful influencer, but a basic primal brain thinker. Higher thought patterns of faith in GOD are in constant conflict with the likes of the primal/protector mind.

    “24 What an agonizing situation I am in! So who has the power to rescue this miserable man from the unwelcome intruder of sin and death?[a] 25 I give all my thanks to God, for his mighty power has finally provided a way out through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! So if left to myself, the flesh is aligned with the law of sin, but now my renewed mind is fixed on and submitted to God’s righteous principles.”

    “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.”

    So, back to me treading water in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight. Fast forward to today: GOD IS SOOOO GOOD! At times I find that I’m just-a-walking on water without a care of drowning, other times I’m worried, rigid, but floating. Lately, life feels like I’m breaking the sound barrier, JESUS and I have never been closer and more connected; like I’m living the life once thought only reserved for the afterlife in Heaven. It seems now-a-days, life and security and fulfillment is less and less dependent upon me treading water, figuring things out, making it all happen in my own strength with a measure of favor and a dash of good luck. Rather, more and more I connect with GOD, leaning on His chest like John the Beloved, knowing the grit and realness of LOVE, this our interwoven life of Love.
    Meanwhile, ever so gently and patently, GOD and I are demolishing certain walls of anger and rejection I have built over the years to keep me safe from pain and trauma. But really are a weak and false sense of security and an offense to True Love. Sometimes a wrecking ball, sometimes a scalpel, doused in His Love-anesthetic, I usually (when I choose) feel no pain in in the deconstructing, but sit back and enjoy the healing and transformation GOD and all of Heaven are happy to get done in me.(you too).

    So my Dearest BethAnn, even now going through this process/stage, you can start asking GOD to see the charts, maps, blueprints, scrolls of your journey and destiny. You are invited and NEEDED at the drawing table in those meetings in GOD’s realms. Just ask, then resist the urge to tell GOD what He can’t do or how He must answer you. Liberating!!!

    Love Much,
    Levi

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  2. So real and true, shared from your heart, it really touched me because yes the answers that ate given make a person feel our of sorts even more. The caring understanding responses I felt even as you shared them Thank you.

    Like

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