I’m sure you’re all familiar with the old adage, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I get the heart of this message and agree with it, truly this world does not need another voice joining the chorus of negativity, whining, complaining or insult throwing. Beyond that, I try to be a person that if I am speaking I am hoping it is to add to the equation and not subtract.
A couple of months of dealing with serious family health struggles left me physically and emotionally tired, dealing with my own feelings of shame for failing at making desired progress in my life, for not being able to do everything well, add in my own physical crisis and all the issues that can make one consider left me in a place that I’d been before, back in my shell. It’s dark and lonely there and deceptively “safe”.
What happens when life overwhelms and you’re trying to survive and feel a bit like an empty shell hoping that if you keep hanging on, the winds will shift and you’ll be able to sail again? I can tell you what happens to me. I don’t want to but I will. I follow my inclination to become turtle like, I tuck inside my shell. Radio silence.
I mean, what is there to say? What do I have to offer at this juncture? Nothing you probably want. So I go with my propensity for solitary confinement. There’s nothing cute to talk about and I’m out of wise tips and quips so I’m quiet. No need to meet up for coffee, I’m not good company these days. I even stop writing so I don’t have to deal with my own internal conversations. It’s rough when you annoy yourself!
Maybe, I’m the only one that follows this custom, but I kinda doubt it. It seems there is likely to be a few who will read this and admit at least to themselves that they go with the train of thought that “I’ll get through this on my own”, “No one’s knocking down my door anyway”, “If they really knew what was going on with me, I’d be even more alone”, “I don’t want to be a pain or a drain”….on and on, it’s easy to believe lies when you’ve pushed anyone away who could speak truth.
My shell-like tendencies that I have often struggled with have not served me or others well. They ensure that I stay in the pain and shame. They cut me off from life and whisper the same old sad song.
I want to be the kind of person who can listen to others when it’s not convenient or fun. I want to be a person who talks with Jesus even when I don’t feel like He is answering because I hold tightly to the truth that He is for me even when my faith is faltering. I want to be vulnerable enough to say something when it’s not cute or clever. I want to be humble enough to admit my need and accept help. I want to be brave enough to speak, even if it makes me feel weak and needy, because truth be told I am. Truth is we all are.
I’m peeking out from the shell and don’t want to retreat any longer. If I cling to my turtle like tendencies I am fighting against the very way God intended me to operate. He created you and I to share life, to do life together. Sorry, but I need you and you need me! I have recently placed some on purpose accountability in my life in different areas. I have asked people to check in with me and check up on me. To knock on the shell and drag me out if necessary.
I pray that anyone reading this who may also struggle with turtle like tendencies will also choose to stick their neck out and invite others to walk this journey with them. I’ll admit it, it’s a little scary coming out from under that shell but what is scarier is not living the lives we were meant to live because we are too busy hunkered down trying to survive.
Be encouraged my friend!
By: Denise Vaughan
Denise Vaughan has ministered over the years as a worship leader, women’s ministries leader, speaker, and writer. Denise is currently putting her vulnerability to practice and writing her first book regarding her personal weight loss journey. Check out Denise’s insights at www.neeserisms.com.
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