When I am confused by life I go silent. I may bark every once in a while, but the barks are actually cries for help out of feelings of frustration and fear. Much time has passed since my last blog post. I have been in an extended season of confusion...and silence.
Words have always been a tool for me, and the use of them has been a means of promotion or protection. But what I am finding out is that even my best words, spoken in my brightest moments of clarity, lack the deep conviction that my soul longs to own. I am fickle. I speak of love and truth. I speak of God. But when the difficulties arise I still get confused.
Here's my M.O. when I am confronted by doubt, despair, or confusion: I kill all unnecessary outward communication, focus inward, and hope that clarity will come. But it doesn't. Ever. It’s in this isolated and defensive position that I am assaulted with accusations that feel so overwhelmingly true and inescapable that I retreat even further. I try harder. Strive more. I exert myself to figure it out, solve the problem and pull myself out of this pit of self-deprecation and despair. I am skilled at punishing myself to avoid the punishment of others. I deny myself love…the love of my kids…the love of my friends…the love of my wife…and my God. I retreat more and seek shelter, waiting for the enemy to pack up and go home, but he never does. No matter how long I wait, the artillery coming against me never ceases.
Boom. I am an accomplice in my own personal apocalypse.
This pattern is most clearly exposed with my wife. Over the years Heather has learned to endure my silence, but I sometimes fear she will not last the winter. When I sense she is near the breaking point, I reluctantly re-engage, but not heroically. Instead of coming out of my foxhole to address the issues that drove me into hiding, I unearth myself only out of a greater fear that the coming collateral damage to my marriage and kids will be more than I can bear. I come out of hiding, not in strength, but in anger, shame and weakness.
This is the place I end up when I have myself on the throne. I need to step down and hand over the scepter.
I am a prodigal son, finally getting wise to the blessings of my father’s house. The Father is too loving and faithful to leave me in this destructive pattern of silence. To retreat in Him instead of inside myself is the liberty I am being invited into. After generations of silence in my family, God is teaching me to speak and address issues before they bring down my kingdom and destroy those I love. I stumble back into silence sometimes and the enemy pounces every time I give him the right, but God is patient. The tide is turning, and the power of sonship is prevailing.
Thank the Father for his rescue. I am tired of this hellhole of silence.