02 October 2005

The fear of being touched

Jules over at Faith or Fiction related her discomfort with the idea of going up for prayer at church.

...at the end of the service, I always freeze as the person doing the closing remarks mentions that the staff will be up front if anybody needs to stop for a prayer because of illness or struggles in their life. I have never been able to figure out why this is so hard for me to hear and even harder for me to respond to...

[ ... ]

I feel close to tears for many reasons - mostly because of how blessed I am - but also because of how fearful I am. I can push it off for just so long before it all comes creeping back again like a wave from Rita washing over the damage left by Katrina. Wave after endless wave as I sit in retrospect ... Does He sense my pain and anguish? Does He understand why I can't go up front at church and ask Him for my life back?

My heart goes out to her. It sounds so familiar - the "freezing." The fear. The tears. As I read it, I recalled my struggles with something similar.

I've never had a massage. I don't like to be touched by people I don't know. I can endure doctor visits only because they are short. I dislike even having my hair washed at the salon.

The closest I've come to it was to actually step inside the spa, pay for a session, and look around. I felt quite pleased with myself that I got that far. I dreaded the whole experience for three days beforehand. The morning I went in I was so upset I was shaking.

After some thought and discussion with the one who helps me sort through these things, I've realized it's not the process of touch itself that bothers me. There is a long story behind it, quite sad, which I cannot share in this forum. What I can share is that I've figured it out. I at last know why I "freeze" in fear and and flatly refuse to undergo what, for most people, is a heavenly relaxing experience.

I think we need to honor our feelings and trust in God. Someday I might be ready to do what I fear ... or I might not. It doesn't matter. Nobody cares. God knows the truth about our reluctance better than we do. He surely does not mind that Jules cannot ask for prayer, any more than He minds that I cannot submit to a healing massage. He knows that sometimes our hurts leave us unable to accept good things.

I am healing from whatever is blocking me from accepting such service, because I can see that something is good, even though, in my fear and confusion, I will not partake. Wounded people like me can take a long time to get to the point where we will allow someone who's safe to help them in an intimate way, whether by prayer or healing touch or whatever it is. God will provide the giver when we are ready. It must not be forced. I know for a fact that, when it is time, He will provide one whom you can trust and lean on. It happened for me, in the most unexpected and profoundly healing way. Until then, we can lean on Him. He's strong enough to hold us all close in His heart.

1 comment:

HeyJules said...

I can't tell you how much hearing that helped me. I'll just never have the words, but thank you. You seem to be the only one that "gets" it.

So, I can't ask for prayer for me at this point, it doesn't mean I can't at some point along the way. Right? We'll get there.

I'm so glad God found a way to hook our lives together. God bless you for your insight.