Even if the sin was not mine, when I heard Mom say, "that's not very Christ-like", guilt would drench my hopeful heart. Church taught me books of the Bible, songs, and stories, but I wanted more. I needed to know what Christ was like.
I needed more.
More came, but first came the gnawing need for friends that would see past the way I mercilessly muttered insecurities to myself, past the hairs on my head that stood a mile high, past the sweat that faithfully emerged when "cool kids" crowded me. Longing for life, aching for acceptance, I cried. I craved community, creativity, and life that would thrive. But no one saw my tears--I didn't know if they were Christ-like.
With an ocean of ideas making waves in my chest, I was drowning. No one was willing to listen.
Muffling my music, suppressing my song, hushing my heart's hurt for more; I sat and soaked in the silence. I let loneliness live and companionship die, because no one understood that I just wanted someone to sit with me in my silence. Someone to ask me anything beyond "how was your day?"
No one had to tell me twice; weakness was worthless, and worthless was me. Strength sabotaged my desire to share my songs, to release my tears, to expose my flaws. Believing my family would mock me and my few friends would leave me, I hid. And I knew that wasn't Christ-like.
"What if's" began knocking on my heart. What if I stopped hiding? What if I let people hear the zany zoo laughing within my throat? What if my voice isn't all I have going for me? What if there is purpose in my flaws?
The veil was torn, and my eyes opened. I saw the potential that was starving inside me. I saw the depth of my dreams that I had stopped feeding.
I became my own monster, burying my beauty and showing my shame. I covered my talents, and exposed my mistakes. The drum in my chest began to bang fervently, because I knew this wasn't Christ-like.
I fed myself lies, while watching Truth enter my mouth. I must have shipped Truth to the same safe that held my talents, beauty, and dreams, because I only believed lies. I heard that I was beautifully gifted, but I believed I was repulsively rejected.
Eventually the lies became too strong to shrug off as truths. Lies swirled around me in my first night on campus;
You don't belong here.
No one sees you anyway.
What purpose could you serve?
Do you really think you'll amount to something important?
The lies shook my shivering heart and tempted me to stop breathing and jump.
But the jump I took landed me right into my Father's arms. Call it cliche, call it a fairytale--I'm sorry if my messy life offends you. I'm sorry if you don't like Christ. I'm sorry if the One who heals the sick has yet to touch your wandering mind. I'm sorry for being me.
But prayer protected me with a canopy of comforting peace. I began the journey of understanding "Christ-like" and liking Christ. You don't have to walk with me; you can leave. I'm sorry if tenderness intimidates you. I'm sorry if you're afraid of love.
After all, it's easy enough to suffocate a songbird if you look the other way, but look back, and the horror is unbearable because you hear her song and it must be released.