Thursday, May 24, 2012

What's In Your Refrigerator?

It's hard for me to believe that it has been nearly four months since I've posted a blog.  I've certainly thought about it several times but really didn't have anything I wanted to share.  Maybe it was because I was far too busy or too tired.  Probably it was because I didn't need to say what was on my mind.  Some things are better left unsaid.

For the most part, I'm an internalizer.  I perceived early in life that it was better safer to keep my thoughts to myself.  If you don't say anything, you are less likely to look foolish, dumb or (fill in the blank).  For someone with low self-confidence, it only takes a few times of getting mocked, questioned or berated for your thoughts before you learn to just keep them to yourself.  Others question you so you begin to question yourself.  I was the best of the best at keeping everything inside.  I would crawl into my little prison cell and slam the door shut behind me.  And good luck to the person that tried to drag me out.  I had no self-confidence, but I didn't want anyone to know it.  I had a lot of sin in my life and I certainly didn't want anyone to know it. (And I'm sure it was a "secret"...cough, cough)

Many years ago at the peak of battling so much sin in my life, something happened that planted a seed that would help me break free of this internalizing prison.  I went out to dinner with a church group.  There were probably 10 people at the table.  The leaders of our group ran into a couple they knew from out-of-town and invited them to eat with us.  As we sat around the table, the leaders and this couple caught up on each others' lives.  Some of the others in our group joined in on some of the conversation as well.  I barely said a word outside of introducing myself.  As we were leaving the restaurant, the man from out-of-town looked me square in the eyes and said, "You know a lot more than you share, don't you?"  I simply nodded my head, smiled and said, "Yes I do."  To most that was a generic was life changing for me.

I know in my "knower" that message was two-fold and it continues to ring in my head every time I try to crawl back into my "safe place".  The Lord had him plant that seed in me.  I'm certain that gentlemen does not remember me and I probably could not pick him out of a line up today.  However, his His words rested in my spirit.  I did know more than I was willing to share (in more ways than one).  Those words also told me that I was not as invisible as I felt.  At that time in my life, I was looking for love and a fulfillment in my spirit that only the Lord could give me. I had no self-confidence.  I was broken.  I was a cesspool of sin, yet my spirit was crying out for my Abba Father.

I thought internalization was my friend, but it was certainly poisoning me.  Internalizing everything is like keeping your refrigerator full of food.  All food has an expiration date.  If you don't open up the refrigerator and take the food out and use it to feed yourself or someone else, it simply begins to rot.  No matter how good or healthy that food was in the beginning, if it just sits in there for a long time it becomes stale, useless even poisonous.  It begins to pollute the refrigerator.  Maybe you put something in the 'frig that was bad in the first place.  It will never be healthy for you or someone else.  It immediately taints the other items in the refrigerator.  And just because you try to hide it and pretend it's not still still's still's still damaging the 'frig and everything in it.

Now I am certainly not saying I should share everything that is on my mind.  Heaven help us if I start sharing everything I think.  Some things are certainly better left unsaid.  At times, I struggle knowing what to say and what to internalize.  Times like these are better handled by the Holy Spirit.  I often ask Him to be the helmsman of my tongue.  If I will listen to Him, He shows me when to speak and when to be silent.  What freedom there is when you have the confidence of the Holy Spirit backing up your words or silence!