I pray this sets someone free.
It happened two Sunday’s ago. I walked in a little late to Sunday School and sat quietly in the empty chair directly in front of my friend Tope, the teacher. The four of us took turns reading through Proverbs 29. I had read the chapter before church and verse 25 stood out to me every time I read it.
When we finished reading, Tope sat back in her chair and asked us in her rich accent, “What do we see here?” When she looked at me, I read verse 25 out loud again and explained, “This verse really resonates with me.” As we discussed the verse, Tope said, “Yes, our fear of man can make them be like an idol in our life.”
I am not sure if I said it out loud or whispered it, “I am not afraid of him.”
As they moved on to other verses, I stared at the Bible App on my phone, and started reading verse 25 in other translations.
I was thinking, “I am not afraid of him, but I am still so afraid..why am I so afraid?” when I came across verse 25 in The Passion Translation:
My heart started pounding, and I saw mini-movies and screenshots flash in my mind of the ways he convinced me to NEVER TELL about the abuse.
Can you imagine the amount of cruel intimidation it takes to ensure a child keeps a painful secret? As a child, I didn’t really understand all that was happening to me, but I completely understood that if I ever told, the most awful and dreadful things would happen. And, it would be all my fault because I told. I had to keep the secret.
I could faintly hear them discussing another verse in Proverbs, because I was still staring at my phone and the word intimidation.
I thought about what it was like to live and grow up in fear. Bullied. Terrified. As an adult looking back to that small child inside of me, I felt deep anger and incredible sadness at the same time.
Tope circled back to me and said, “Michelle, what are you thinking?”
I shook my head and quietly said, “It is too soon,” because I felt very small and vulnerable. Yet, I also knew I was in a safe place with sisters in Christ, so I continued…
“When you said our fear of man can make them an idol in our life… I am not afraid of him. On the day I confronted him, he walked in like a Goliath but he left small. It’s not that I am afraid of him, but I am so very afraid. Look at this verse in The Passion Translation.”
As I read it, my eyes filled with tears and with a shaky voice I said, “Intimidation is a trap that holds you back. He bullied me constantly to keep me quiet. I never told.”
As I continued to break down and share more, they moved closer to me. Tope stood behind me and prayed over me.
We were going to be late for church.
A part of me felt like I needed to apologize to them, but I also knew I had experienced relief and deliverance once again and I was so thankful. There are layers and layers on this healing journey, and I’ve learned it is always worth it to keep going deeper and experience more healing and freedom.
This spirit of intimidation has wreaked havoc in my life for years. It has held me back and made me feel trapped.
Have you been bullied? Intimidated? Filled with fear? Manipulated into silence?
It’s a trap, designed to hold you back.
I’m praying you are able to see how you were intimidated and bullied.
I’m praying you are able to grieve the deep pain from it.
I’m praying you have a safe place to process how it impacted you.
I’m praying you are delivered from the trap.