The Fear of Relationship (+ A Special Invite)

I’m thrilled to welcome you to a guest post written by Kelly Balarie. We have something really cool to offer you, but regardless of whether you’re able to participate, I think most of us can relate to the words she’s sharing with us below.   This is my confession to you: I am a stinky ...

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I’m thrilled to welcome you to a guest post written by Kelly Balarie. We have something really cool to offer you, but regardless of whether you’re able to participate, I think most of us can relate to the words she’s sharing with us below.

 

This is my confession to you: I am a stinky friend.

I don’t call people back until at least a week later. I don’t remember birthdays. I get myself spread so thin I rarely reach out like I intend to. I get nervous and run away. I wonder if they are sizing me up in their mind. I consider what they are considering and figure there is no way they could like me. I can only deal with short bursts of time, where I call the shots…

But I am learning.

I am learning, because I am pressing into what scares me: women. Usually, I’d turn myself around and walk the other way from their perfectly aligned necklaces, sweet smelling perfumes and highly organized houses—like they are mosquitoes looking to bite me with their perfection. I think, they’ll: 1. Hurt me 2. Judge me, or 3. Hurt me.

You see where this is going, right?

But, lately, as I’ve pressed into what scares me—women—I’ve noticed something. They don’t bite. In fact, when I draw near to them, God seems to have this way of drawing love out of me. I come home and my husband is all, “You had fun, didn’t you?”

Everything in me wants to get all Negative Nelly and pretend I still don’t like them, but, in reality, I’ve actually grown to love them. This is what happens when you spend time with them. When you really listen. When you ask and when you seek their heart.

You find out they are more than appearance: so many of them care about the heart.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. You see, I just got finished with spending time with 35 amazing authors and love-forgers in the world. I chatted with them about home life, work life, worries, fears, marriage, sex, love, friendship, the unexpected and the unfair. We talked about every fear under the sun. I laughed and I cried. I related to their words. I shared their feelings. I understood their stories. I learned a whole ton of stuff without it feeling hard to digest or unsettling to my stomach.

These 35 fear fighters all make up The Journey Together Summit. Spending time with these women changed me.

Rather than judge them, I started to grow fond of them.

Rather than thinking they were better than me, I saw they were just like me.

Rather than believing I was alone, I learned, we are all in this together.

Life is not easy. Friendships are hard. But, when you get a helping hand from a woman who has lived the pain you are walking, something clicks. It clicks like a bracelet reminding you of the ongoing nature of God’s love and it’s tight hold on you.

As I conducted interviews with these women, it was like each one extended me a bracelet. Their stories made me believe I could press on, they reminded me of faithfulness, they lifted me up in God’s Word, they drove home truths and they helped remove debilitating thought patterns of fear. I am so grateful for them. I love them for this.

I believe you will love them too—and find new courage, and drive into what fear is stopping you and come alive in your own way. Why not see what happens? This event is free. Sign up today for The Journey Together Summit as we talk about fighting your fears from June 5-8th.

There are topics for everyone, including: unmet expectations, an unfair life, shame from the past, uncertainty of the future, worry, anxiety, feeling like a bad mom, marriage, intimacy, work issues and so much more.

Can’t attend then? No problem. You can get the All Access Pass giving you availability to all the sessions, at any time.

If you feel alone, down or debilitated in life, I am confident, these women, like they did when I talked to them, will give you a breath of fresh life.


 

Now it’s me again, the other Kelly. I just want to thank Kelly Balarie for including me in this line-up. I’m not kidding or being falsely humble. I cannot believe I’m seeing my name alongside some of the other authors who are included. This is when you know God is working in spite of you. I’ve talked about this before, but I learned that one way to follow God is to stop dreaming up plans and asking Him to bless them. Instead, look around and see where God is already at work, and then get on board.

That’s how I feel about this. God is already working. He is changing lives and drawing people to Him through the words of this amazing group of people. I’m delighted to get to walk alongside them and watch and see what God is busy doing. I hope you’ll come along with us. This isn’t just a sales pitch—I really mean it. And I hope you’ll be part of this.

 


About Kelly Balarie Author and speaker Kelly Balarie didn’t always fight fear – for a large part of her life, she was controlled by it. Yet, in her book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, with God, Kelly charts a new course. Join Kelly, on the journey to go and grow with Christ’s bravery, the Spirit’s counsel and God’s unending love that squelches fear. Get all Kelly’s blog posts by email or visit her on her blog, Purposeful Faith. You can also find a variety of resources for your fight against fear at http://www.fearfightingbook.com/. Don’t forget to take part in The Journey Together Summit.

What a tangled mess

Carey Scott is a lovely, vivacious woman who responded graciously when I posted a cry for help in my agent’s Facebook group. I don’t know her well, but I was grateful for all of the encouragement and ideas she’d offered regarding marketing and growing my blog, so I jumped at the chance to get an ...

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GRAPHIC God's voice louder

Carey Scott is a lovely, vivacious woman who responded graciously when I posted a cry for help in my agent’s Facebook group. I don’t know her well, but I was grateful for all of the encouragement and ideas she’d offered regarding marketing and growing my blog, so I jumped at the chance to get an early copy of her new book. Untangled is about “letting God loosen the knots of insecurity in your life.”

And, really, is there any one of us who isn’t insecure?

OK, I’ll confess. When I struggle, it’s more often with pride than with insecurity. And deep down, I didn’t think this book would really apply to me, but I was happy to read it anyway.

One of the great things about God is that He doesn’t shout to the corners of the earth “You are WRONG!” every time that we are wrong. Thank goodness. Because, like usual, well, I was wrong. And like usual, God gave me the opportunity to see what I needed to understand about myself—and the grace to face it.

In the intro, she says this: “But in my midthirties God’s voice became louder than my brokenness.” And I thought, wow, what a perfect way to say what I’ve learned to be true. Then she shares with complete openness the most vulnerable parts of her story and her inner self, and she walks through the different “I’m not good enough” messages that I think we’ve all experienced—even though our circumstances and situations may be very different, at their core, our doubts and fears are very similar.

As I mentioned, I don’t feel like I struggle much with insecurity. Somehow I’ve always believed the fact that in spite of all of my failings and inadequacies, God wants me. Yes, I’m overweight; no, I don’t care enough to say no to that donut or get up early to go work out. Yes, I know I’ve messed up plenty. But I don’t have the emotional energy to beat myself up for it, so I usually let it go. In many ways, I’ve grasped the message Carey offers to all of us: that the only way to see ourselves is with the generosity and grace that God gives us.

But along the way, I have certainly had my moments. She writes,

“[these lies about not measuring up] become bricks in the wall we build around our hearts to keep people from seeing the real us—the us we’re certain isn’t good enough… If you’re breathing air today, you have walls. We all do. We’re all guilty of partitioning off our hearts so we don’t get hurt anymore. Walls shouldn’t be confused with boundaries, because establishing healthy limits with toxic people and beliefs is smart. Boundaries are proactive, but walls are protective. Boundaries help us live within community, but walls keep us from it. Boundaries are put in place for healing, while walls are built to hide our hurting. Walls are boundaries gone bad, and their bricks are made from feelings of rejection and inadequacy. But that’s not how God wants us to live.”

In Praying Upside Down, I wrote about the walls I built to protect myself when Mom died. I still find myself building walls to keep from risking being hurt. I struggle with jealousy and comparison, particularly since entering the publishing world—how many people read my post? Clicked Like? Retweeted? Why does she have so many more subscribers than I do? How can I get a post to go viral like that one of hers? Why is she so popular? It’s not fair…

The voiceover track in my mind sounds like that of a whiny teenager.

And I thought I wasn’t insecure.

Recently, I’ve been going back and forth between reading Untangled and part of a Bible study called Seamless by Angie Smith, and I’ve been thinking a lot about shame. About the Garden of Eden, and the way that Satan planted doubt in Eve’s mind. I’ve always hated that story—it doesn’t seem fair to me that there should be eternal consequences for mankind forevermore, banished from Eden and a close walk with God, simply because one couple messed up. It doesn’t seem right that women should always suffer with pain and childbirth because of their actions. Before long, I started wandering down a thorny theological path—if God is perfect, why did He make an imperfect creation? Why does He require a method for mankind to be reconciled to Him? If He’s God, why can’t He change the rules?

As I read and studied, I was troubled by the power these thoughts had, by the tumultuous feeling of these questions battering my faith. And then I understood. When the serpent planted that doubt eons ago, he was introducing shame. Eve felt shame because she didn’t know something she thought she should. Because she’d obeyed when maybe she didn’t have to. I think she felt stupid. Ignorant. Weak. She bought into his lies that maybe she wasn’t enough—that maybe she could be more, more even than God Himself. And so she grabbed an apple. The big revelation for me was this: Those words of shame that Satan hissed that day in the garden have never stopped rippling across the ages, inhabiting generation after generation. How do I know? My own thoughts were proof that I bought into the same lies that Eve did. Just like Eve, I started questioning God—who He was, and whether He had the right to be God and make the rules.

Deep down I know the answers; of course I do. God is God. We can’t be reconciled to Him without a sacrifice because it’s like we’re opposing ends of a magnet. He is holy and perfect, and we are not, and without a supernatural intervention, we cannot come together. Holiness repels imperfection.

And yet. Yet He wants us. Yet He loves us. Yet He welcomes us in, allows us to nestle safely under His wing, warmed by His love, transformed by His power. As Carey wrote:

Even when you mess up, he sees who you are instead of what you’ve done. Those seasons where you made bad choice after bad choice mixed with bad choice (yeah, that one) didn’t scare him off. His perfect love for you never wavered. And even better, there is nothing you can do, more or less, to alter that truth in any way.

She’s right. Absolutely right. And I bet that you have struggled with some of the same feelings of self-worth described in her book. You don’t feel like you measure up against that supermom. In your marriage. In your career. In your friendships. In your gifts and in how they’re received. You wonder if you’ve done enough for your kids and how they will measure up against others. If your husband truly still finds you attractive. If you’d be prettier, or more desirable, or more successful if you could just lose that weight. If you will make enough money for the things you want. If someone else could do it—whatever it is—better.

You wonder if you’re enough.

The short answer: yes, you are. For the slightly longer answer, pick up a copy of Untangled. And while you’re at it, grab one for every other woman in your life, too.

I realize this review is all over the place, rambling right along with my thoughts, tumbling around as God unknots the insecurities that tangle me up. Right now, things may be a convoluted mess. But there is One who can sort out the string. Release the hold of the knots. Straighten out the fabric of which I am made. I’m trusting Him to do His thing with me. Again and again, always. And I know He will do the same for you. I think God has great plans for this book—because He has great plans for you. And reading this book will set you well along the way to discovering all that you are. Not who you will someday be, but who you already are: An amazing, unique woman, already adored, and infinitely lovable.

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For more quotes, a free download of the first chapter, and many other goodies, visit the Untangled Women website.

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