I like to think I am not shy. I like to think that I know how to open up to people as long as I believe I can trust them. I like to think most everyone can be trusted with something of myself. I like to think I am not crazy for wanting to give people a chance (and in most cases, chance upon chance upon chance) and see the best in them even when they disappoint me.
But all of this requires one thing in order to flourish: security.
Now, security is something I have thought about on a near-constant basis over the last year. It is a need of mine to have security in my life—security in Christ, security in my salvation, security in my heart, security in my relationships. I have put every effort into providing security for those I love.
Security is an interesting need because until the last year I never knew it was valuable to me. But once I realized its worth it became one of my lone pursuits in all my relationships. Some relationships already had security built in, but others needed work. As I gave every ounce of energy and strength I had to foster security and stability, I began to analyze and question exactly what that means to me and exactly why I need it.
At the age of 23 (almost 24) I would say I know myself well. I know my strengths and weaknesses, and I know when I am being honest with myself and when I am not. If someone were to put me in a hypothetical situation, I know my first answer or first solution to the problem would be one exhibits strength and resolution, but I also know if the hypothetical situation were to happen my response would likely be something different.
Example: If someone were to say, “Grace, what would you do if an earthquake hit right now?” My initial answer would be, “I would run for the closest door because I want to be outside, and if anyone is in my way I’ll run them over.” But in reality, if an earthquake were to hit, my reaction would be different. If it happened, my response would be to make sure everyone else is okay and stay with them even if it meant putting my own life in danger (that is the fighter and protector in me).
As if I have not led you down a rabbit hole with that whole anecdote, I will now continue with my original point. Back to what I was saying…ah, yes.
I believe security might mean something different for different people, but I know my own definition means that someone looks at me, takes in all my quirks and intricacies, all my soft and sensitive traits and all of my more rough and tough traits, and chooses to not necessarily accept me, but to give me a safe place where I can simply and unapologetically be me.
What does it mean to be yourself in the presence of others, you may ask. Let me try to explain it from experience.
There is a small pool of people I am completely comfortable around—when I do something weird, they never make me feel less than; when I ask my weird questions that pop into my head (I cannot even count the amount of weird questions I have asked in my life), they laugh about it without shunning me; when I need a moment to simply feel all of the crazy emotions in my heart and cry, they offer empathy and encouragement and, many times, silence without any judgment; and many more things. But it all fosters this desire to be comfortable with them because when I am comfortable with them, I trust them. And when I trust them, I listen to them, I go to great lengths to take care of them, I make sure I meet all their needs I am able to meet.
In the midst of a year filled with more pain and change than I felt I could handle, and in the midst of recovering, I have been examining why I need so much security. Is it because I am more of a softy and I need people to understand and appreciate that without taking advantage of it? Is it because I like to give others security so it makes sense to want it for myself? Or is it something deeper, something innate God has placed in my heart and soul?
I think the first two possibilities simply stem from the last one mentioned. God made me (and all His children) in a very special and unique fashion. While we are all the same in that we are human—we have bones and ligaments, organs and skin—we have different character qualities that make up who we truly are. God has graciously supplied me with security in His heart, and gifted me with redeemable love that is always readily offered even in the moments when I turn my nose up at it and walk away. He accepts me fully and as He has grown and matured me through the years. He has ushered in a unique relationship with Him where I can be completely honest with Him because I know His love is never based on anything I do or say. And because I have this amazing gift bestowed on me from His very heart, I know it is something that He desires me to have in other relationships. If security was not meant to be had in all my relationships, then He would not have led Paul to write 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is powerful, and with it we can either supply the ones we love with security, or we can unknowingly hurt them by refusing them security.
Choose wisely. Never be afraid to demand your need for security be met, and protect yourself when it is not. And when it comes time, do not let fear hold you back from being the child who runs full speed ahead to an unknown. God is watching you, securing you.