Prayer and Personhood.

The other day I accidentally ended up at a time of prayer.  Not only did I not intend to be there, once I knew that I was stuck (not the kind of stuck like the door was blocked, but the kind when the Holy Spirit is just clearly telling you to lay down your plans for the day), I did not intend share or speak. I thought I had successfully deferred the attempts to get me to share. I avoided all eye contact, I offered some information on other people in my life they could be praying for- I was really running a good game. It was all well and good until 1. I remembered I’m super easy to read 2. I started being openly defiant, not even trying to run a good game. For example, someone suggested I should go blog, since CLEARLY I was processing things and I responded, “Mmmm, no, I don’t want to.” I didn’t even try to fake being receptive.  And, 3. the crying. See, when ya cry, people just know something isn’t right. That’s why I don’t like crying, because people can see. They see me as a person who has so little grip on life that the only thing that’s happening is uncontrolled spilling of emotion in the form of salty water coming out of their eyes. I don’t really like that.

THEN (Bum bum bum) something else happened.

After the silent crying with the group, I knew I had opened up a can of worms that would only end up in that sobbing ugly cry that’s loud (esp. with asthma) and stops you from being able to even stand up. I tried to casually sprint to my car and drive at least to the dead end of the road where the people that knew me would not see me. I did not make it. I barely got my seat belt on before I just straight lost it.  Then, one of my biggest fears was realized, someone I know and who knows me will saw me. Even worse, they cared about me and came over to my car. Mind you, at this point, there was no way I could stand up or try to run or pretend to be okay, or really any of my normal responses due to the heaving sobs . (it is important to know at this point that every other time someone has happened to stumble upon me in a similar state I immediately stop crying. All emotion is gone. That’s it. I hate people seeing me lose control so badly that when I have asthma attacks I run away from people <— don’t do this) They opened my door, and rubbed my back as I continued to lose it. I DIDN’T STOP CRYING, for what in my mind felt like hours and hours but was probably less.

So like…yay progress, right?? Sure, baby steps are all well and good. But it highlighted an underlying uncomfortableness in my heart that is ugly. I am only willing to be “vulnerable” when I have prepped myself, planned, and know what to expect. Which, very may well be the opposite of vulnerability in the most manipulative way- I take an unhealthy need for control and dress it up like beautiful vulnerability so that no one will question it. I’m the worst, right!?

Oh wait, it gets better. I realized that I not only do this with people I love and care for- I avoid prayer (you know, communion with God) because I don’t want the Lord to see my ugly and twisted heart. I don’t let myself just word vomit to the one who made me, loves me, knows me, is faithful, and is actually in control. Who wants nothing more than for me to run to Him with every little detail about my day and what I’m feeling. I am so uncomfortable and scared that this self-centered desirer for control seeps into my ability to experience the One who I was made to be in relationship with. There is this convoluted lie in my head that Jesus is annoyed by my speaking and that I can fix that by faking it to live up to the false expectations I think Jesus has for me. Does that make sense???  I mean probs not, because its straight crazy, feel free to comment your questions below. 

It all boils down to being so wildly uncomfortable with who I am as a person I try and hide it. I try and hide my scars because I don’t want people to see that they aren’t healed yet-sometimes they even crack open and bleed which makes a mess of everything. Not only did see this as I reflected on the other morning. I noticed it in more subtle ways too. I was insecure in all of my relationships. Instead of enjoying time with friends, I was trying to get a read on them and figure out how I can change to meet their expectations of me (its’s draining, don’t do that either). I, Taryn Zander, queen of not showering and being decently gross and not caring, wouldn’t leave the house without putting make-up on.

Hiding. Shame. Control. All feeding off each other and draining me of life.

So, in all of that, I feel the Lord leading me into some practical things- ways to proactively prevent hiding. I’m fasting from make-up (gosh, I’m such a girl) not because it’s bad to wear it- but because my heart is not in the right place with it. I am building a few hours of sabbath into my week. Time specifically set apart for my relationship with God. It’s not about praying for other things, its not about doing things, or even really seeking answers for anything. It’s about being a Mary- totally content to sit at the feet of Jesus. To find rest in Him alone. An extended time which allows me consciously strip away all the ways I hide my true self and be  be shaped and molded and transformed. Maybe other things- who knows?? That’s what I got right now.

Ephesians 5: 12-13 says:

             It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.  But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

See, it is unproductive for me to reveal my disobedient heart in darkness- it is even shameful. When I acknowledge it in darkness, I’m saying, “yeah, I know its wrong, but I’m just going to stay here. I’m the lord or my own life and will give to Jesus only the parts of my life that I want- I know better than Jesus. I have more power.”

Literally robbing myself of full life. The alternative is to bring it boldly in the light. To declare the ugliness of my own heart. The beautiful thing about doing this is not only do I find freedom and life, but Jesus uses it. IT BECOMES LIGHT. How cool is that!? I get a little giddy thinking about that.

In the spirit of boldly displaying ugliness in the light: I did not have a trusted friend read this blog before I posted it-YOLO- so, sorry (not sorry) for all the grammar mistakes- my English language skills are just a small picture of the ugliness of my own heart.


p.s. The picture for this post is from a day where I can objectively say I did not look ~pretty~ but it was later this same day that the boy in the bottom right corner asked me out on a date. Clearly he did not choose to do that because I covered-up my messiness. I think its a great example of the way Jesus chooses us even when we look like… well… that.

p.p.s. consider that my formal announcement that I am currently dating that boy. Some would call him my boyfriend.  I do occasionally.

3 Replies to “Prayer and Personhood.”

  1. You made me cry, laugh out loud, see myself in you, and say once again that I love you!!! Thanks for sharing and being so “real!”

    PS You are perfectly imperfect and that’s amazing! (Have you seen This is Us? I stole that line from the show last night!)

    PPS Jamin would be so proud of the last few sentences 😉

  2. Beautifully said, beautifully written!

  3. Natalie Beiler says: Reply

    Oh Taryn Bell this may be on of my favorite blogs so far! Maybe some day I’ll share my own journey out of hiding the dark corners and closed closets of my life. So freaking awesome to ask Jesus to have His way and bring it all into the light…freedom, amazing liberating, undeserved freedom!

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