Seeking | Finding Security
Yes, it's true; this past month rang with the churps and chimes of nothingness. Pins dropped, flies buzzed, and our virtual voice fell silent as autumn made its way into the Pacific Northwest. Fall found us as a season of changes, challenges and transition. It is almost as if the new season swept us up with its crisp fresh wind and decided to turn us on tumble dry in an attempt to knock out, not only our old breath, but our entire respiratory system, bringing us new, updated modes of breathing.
While these essential organs of ours are very much still forming, growing, and clumsily maneuvering themselves through a prepubescent stage of life, we decided to make vulnerable the personal moments we are in the midst of navigating, instead allowing the insecurity of "not being up to parr" to define us and continue to shut us off from our community.
If you're anything like me, it can be really difficult to stay on your A-game in the midst of transition. When I find myself in times of change or uncertainty, loss or overwhelm, remembering my truths and trusting my strengths can seem like distant goals; concepts I can remember but can only catch glimpses of between the thick, hectic crowd of demanding "needs" that "have" to be fulfilled first. As a result, I daily slip into old modes of coping, be it binging on comfort foods or playing the victim and hiding myself from the world who tells me I'm just not quite enough. Transition and vulnerability often compel me to forget what in life holds the truest value, all for the sake of searching for the lost sense of security more stable months often give.
This month, Jarod and I found ourselves in a unique, though not unheard of, predicament. September marked the first month that Apse ran out of its own independent studio in downtown Bellingham. (Yay! Its been awesome... more on this soon!) We moved our little workshop out of our home and began the search for a smaller, more suitable living space. However, seeking out this sanctuary was not as simple as we anticipated. Instead of a seamless move into the perfect little downtown apartment, we endured 3 months of rejections, dead ends and ignored emails. I grew obsessive and the amount of time I spent on Craigslist surely outweighed the time I spent on all other websites combined. And in the end, we left our last home, still without a new one to move into.
Fortunately, we have some incredible friends who have provided for us like mad. Together, our community has provided for us multiple places to sleep, showers at most hours and living rooms to sit and share conversation.
Despite these beautiful offerings, it is a full on period of change. And times of transitions are vulnerable times. Guards have no where to go except for down and walls that subconsciously built themselves up are under construction. In this time of need and of less - in a time without the security of a sanctuary - it feels as though every cosmetic and structural flaw is easily identified by the passerby.
To be perfectly honest, fleeing can be my natural reaction in such circumstances. In hopes of not exposing that which is already seeable, I tend to hide and fall silent. And in this season, where such a self-preserving mode is most often not a choice, one thing is made very clear to me: I have allowed my comfort zone to become a prison.
I treated the four walls I normally call home - the place I use the money I have earned to live and eat - as a place of material and primal security. This comfort zone, locked away from the culture, grew into a flat of drying concrete where I stuck all fours deep within and blew upon for hours as a means to make it harden any quicker. It has been in this space where I felt safe, unseen and impossible to reach - and I liked it that way. I owned my stubbornness. And I was not up for the challenge of the emotional, spiritual and physical effort it would take to chisel out my limbs one by one and face my situation with boldness and faith.
"In the past, the fear of vulnerability and abandonment drove much of my search for security, and as a result, I found myself looking for safety and acceptance in places of zero reward."
The loss of a physical home base forced me to come to terms with what I prioritize, and more so, realize where I look for security. In the past, the fear of vulnerability and abandonment drove much of my search for security, and as a result, I found myself looking for safety and acceptance in places of zero reward. This last month, I noticed myself eating food I don't normally eat in hopes of finding comfort, but finishing with a stomach ache and a terrible nights sleep. I caught myself snapping at my best friend whenever he needed my help and my affections, fearful of leaving the fortified mind I hermit within. And I let hours creep away by searching for ways I could gain a more cushioned bank account, but instead, came out with an inbox full of junk mail and missed moments with people I love. In seeking out such basic "needs", I gained chaos and captivity, stress and emptiness.
However, this last week, said acts of desperation grew more and more noticeable. Without a sanctuary to hide within, I couldn't let many of these behaviors slip under the rug. I stood in a situation of vulnerability - physically and emotionally - and when I ceased the fight to hide, I found full, meaty, intimate security.
When the desperate and lame efforts to protect myself stopped, I was hit with a sense of rest I prohibited myself from knowing in the previous weeks. I found a family of people who desired me, a husband who will hold my best interest close to his heart in each moment, friends who could relate and wanted to hear my heart, and with each of those things, came an abundance of warmth, food and shelter. It wasn't until I braved my current circumstance and started the chiseling process that I discovered every last insecurity was fulfilled. I could spend days, weeks (and apparently months) working to build myself up, gain security through primitive ideals and find total comfort in knowledge that I have acquired all my "needs". But what do you have when all those things fail? Where do you go for security when you no longer have a comfort zone?
When you spend your time seeking security out through what you are able to gain, provide, and preserve, you begin to nurture a fear of failure, loss and vulnerability. If your income fails to give you peace of mind, then you begin to tell yourself you're spending your time poorly or your time isn't worth enough. Out of fear, you being spending more hours on your work and less time investing into relationships or experiences. In attempts to seek out comfort and freedom and fulfillment, you actually find yourself in a prison where you control your outcome and sometimes your efforts are just not enough. Without the affirmation of the world, you are not enough.
So, what happens when you don't let fear be your motivator, but instead love?
In this time of less, I found more security than when we had much more. I made the choice to begin finding wealth in the places where I find love, and therefore, abundance became a reality. When I celebrated the love in my life, I found an impenetrable shelter, both physically and emotionally. My vulnerability ultimately led to my security.
To believe you're loved can be a scary thing. It is a vulnerable position to put yourself into. We hear it a lot, and it might seem like a concept that is just too frilly or improbable. But what does it for me - what makes this often blanket statement click in my heart - is that the more I believe I am loved, the more I believe I will not go without. And better yet, the more I actually do not go without.
The more you feed fear and the more frequently you act upon the voice telling you, "you're going to fail", or "you're going to get hurt", and "you're going to go hungry", the more you imprison yourself to your comfort zone. The more reluctant you become to embracing vulnerability, the less wealthy you feel and the harder it becomes to identify greatness and opportunity around you. When your vision is so set on preserving yourself, your ability to see generosity, gentleness, grace and goodness severely minimizes.
I could have all my necessities - all my basic needs - but what do I actually have all these things came to fruition in the absence of love?
Despite how much I normally dread the months when the storms set in and the light gets sleepy, I am very grateful for this season. I appreciate the experiences that presented themselves and for the lessons they left with them. And so very thankful for the opportunity to share these thoughts and events with you all.