Lately I've been given a lot of signals pushing me toward a freedom which I haven't allowed myself in quite awhile. It's quite unusual, since I typically consider myself a rather independent person; I don't like being told what to do, the image of an eagle brings my heart joy not only as a symbol of America but also as a personal image of freedom, I generally consider myself a lighthearted and laid back person with a minimal propensity for anxiety.
I had a conversation with one of my dearest and closest friends a week ago where he challenged me to "love deeply" and stop holding back. Although I do love many people genuinely, deep love involves a measure of vulnerability which I typically prefer to shy away from. Deep love means risk, and although I generally enjoy risks and adventures, I understand the consequences too well and thus have shut myself off from letting even a lot of my closer friends know me at a deeper level.
A song on the radio (it really happened, so cliche) came on about forgiveness and letting go, and I couldn't help but turn it up and listen intently. It brought to light some past hurts which I may have gotten over, but hadn't really forgiven. I'd taken the "forgive and forget" concept, dropped the forgive element, and ignored it. Not a healthy way of dealing with things.
I just read a blog post called What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid? It's a running blog that I keep up with because I know the wonderful woman who writes it and I sometimes pretend that I like running. Here's the bit that struck me:
Maybe the thing you would do if you weren't afraid is go back to school or forgive someone or love someone unconditionally expecting nothing in return. I don't know your life but I know that you're human. And I'm sure there is something you want to do and that you are feeling God calling you to do that you are holding back from because you are afraid. So stop it. (refer to earlier Bob Newhart video for instructions).
It struck me that I keep encountering people encouraging me to be the best version of myself possible, and that the primary thing holding me back from that goal is a control problem. When I (subconsciously) hold on to hurts or fears, it totally cripples me. It puts me in this state of grieving (which I've done way more than I should have recently considering how awesome my life really is) and self loathing and lethargy that's just pitiful and annoying. And I'm sure I'll have many more words on this later, but my thoughts are all over the place right now.
The point is: I am resolving to love deeply, to let go, to forgive, and to be free.
Don't hold yourself back. Discover what is keeping you from being the best version of yourself and do something about it.
2 Timothy 1:7
"God has not given you a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and a sound mind."