(Note, this first published on September 20, 2018.)
Out of all the fears we women face, our fear of rejection can be the most debilitating. It hinders our relationships, steals our joy and peace, and can keep us from pursuing the dreams and plans God has for us. I’ve yet to meet a woman who in some way doesn’t struggle with this and who, beneath her fear, hasn’t battled some degree of self-loathing. I’m not sure we’ll ever overcome our insecurities completely this side of heaven, but as my guest and dear friend, Susan Aken, reveals, there’s hope! W can live bold and brave!
Living in a Glass Box
As an extremely shy, introverted, and fearful youth I often retreated into my easily controlled fantasy world. I was reluctant to open up or talk to people or didn’t know how. I’d sit in a high school classroom and fantasize about putting a glass box around myself. A place where I could read, observe, or do what I wanted unseen by others.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t a fantasy. I succeeded but my hiding resulted in the reverse of what I thought. I put myself in a box that blinded me to others. I shut myself away so I became almost unreachable.
I escaped into a self-protective mindset that caused me to avoid eye contact, especially with strangers and to engage in non-committal conversations. It caused me, as someone once told me, to be “like a knight in impenetrable armor.” I felt safe in that armor. I could look out and determine when and where to let someone in. The problem is I isolated myself and prevented others from knowing me. I developed the habit of keeping people at an emotional distance.
Thankfully, God began to open my eyes in my early twenties and He’s been helping me since to learn. I’m in my sixties and continue to see what I’ve reaped from that box. I still avoid eye contact with strangers and honestly have to be intentional about looking friends in the eye.
I’ve come a long way since high school and I’ve had some great moments over the years of opening up to others. But, I’m still learning and always will be. The awesome news is my heavenly Father loves me exactly as I am and always has. But He also loves me enough to help me change.
The grace of Jesus Christ covers every moment I shut someone out, though I still reap consequences. His love for me is eternal and secure. In spite of my weaknesses I have a husband and a son who love and respect me, and many faithful friends and loved ones.
My prayer is that my Father will help me take a sledgehammer and smash the rest of that glass box and crush the armor to pieces.
Is it possible I can live being who I am and stop trying to manage perceptions or keep people at a distance? No one can live perfectly open and free. Hey, we’re human! But with the help of Jesus, I’m learning to walk freely knowing He loves me as I am, knows all my sin and weakness, has already covered them on the cross, and has called me to walk in freedom.
And when I’m tempted to retreat, I can remember Psalm 32:7, which says, “You” God “are my hiding place…” (NIV)*
I don’t need a box, a suit of armor or any other self-protective stance.
God is my hiding place.
Let’s talk about this! Do you struggle with insecurities or fear of rejection? If so, what’s helped you move past that? What truth (regarding who you are in Christ or how He feels about you) most encourages or comforts you? Share your thoughts and suggestions with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another.
And if you live in the Omaha area and are involved in ministry in some way, make sure to check out Wholly Loved’s upcoming Radiant for Leaders event! Find out more HERE.
Get to know Susan!
Susan is a homemaker, substitute teacher, and writer. She lives in Nebraska but was born and raised in Oklahoma. Her greatest love is for the Lord Jesus Christ who has redeemed her and set her free. Her other loves are her husband, son, and daughter-in-law to be. Susan enjoys reading, photography, spending time with family and friends, writing, and sitting down with a cup of tea. She has a heart for prayer ministry and loves her church!
Visit her online HERE.