We were supposed to be quiet and I was afraid those near me could hear my heartbeat.
I knew what God wanted me to do, just as I knew air was flowing in and out of my lungs.
I looked over at my friend, who had no idea what I was about to tell her. My heart was feeling one way, but my brain, another. Satan whispered lies in my head. She’ll never love you once she knows what you’ve done. Your past mistakes are what define who you are. Sin and shame rule over your life.
Fear’s grip on my heart tightened. I knew Christ was pushing me toward authenticity and honesty, but the power of fear seemed too large to conquer. I prayed what God would give the the words to say and the courage to say. In that moment I had to choose between fear or trust in God.
And, with a whisper, it was done. I had told my friend about my deepest sins, the mistakes that bruised my past and the shame still burning inside me. Instead of a judgemental glance, I was met with arms open wide. She told me that she struggled with the same things I did. Honesty revealed that I was not as alone, as I had previously thought. Once I finally said yes to the authenticity God was calling towards, a heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders.
When it was all said and done, I felt ashamed of my hesitancy to answer God’s call. I knew it was His voice – it was calling me towards intimacy and honesty. I knew the other voice was from Satan – it was calling me into isolation and fear. Now, it all seems so black and white, but, in the moment, I was caught up in the shades of gray. I knew what God wanted me to do, but I had found myself tripping over Satan’s lies on my way there.
Here’s the truth of the matter – God works for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28). Even when He calls us to speak up in the face of fear, He is working for our good. He is calling us out of the wilderness and into the Church, into love, into community. We can recognize His voice by the things He calls us to and the same goes for Satan.
Though a spiritual battle may be raging in your heart today, you are not alone. You need not fear. The victory was won two thousand years ago on the Cross. In His victory, we can stand up to the grip fear has on us and embrace authenticity with ourselves, with those around us and with God. When we bring to light that which we would prefer to keep in the dark, we can feel the power of sin and shame diminish. Fear's grip will loosen. The light will win. In fact, it already has. We just have to answer the call in the face of fear.