The War Inside Us

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The story I’m developing is about a woman who is at war within herself, wanting one thing passionately, but resisting it at the same time. There’s a battle going on inside her, though at first (and for a long time) she doesn’t fully understand it.  It’s a battle a lot of us have waged, often unwittingly until something intrudes to expose it to us.  She desperately wants to be loved, part of an intimate couple and a family; but she carries inside her a fear equal to her desire: fear of losing herself in the relationship.

Whatever the particular shape of the tensions tugging at us, it often comes down to this: the heart is torn between desire and fear.  Why do we so often run up to the goal only to turn away from it in the end? Why do so many of us self-sabotage, denying ourselves the very thing we most desire? At root, the enemy is some form of fear that has taken hold of us. It becomes a question of whether we can overcome our fear enough to reach beyond it.

In my story, she (the protagonist) deeply wants someone to love her but she also wants independence and is fearful of losing it.  On the other hand, he, her lover, longs for intimacy with her but is afraid of the vulnerability required. This is just one of the tensions they are coping with as they try to fill their hungers and reach out to each other through their fears.

What do you want most passionately in this life?  What is keeping you from achieving it? I’ve had to ask myself this many times. It isn’t easy to suss out the answers. We tend to build up strong protections against self-knowledge when fear’s involved. But unless and until we can face our fears and move past them, we’ll continue to be crippled by them, at war within ourselves, trapped in a painful conflict. The resolution isn’t inevitable. But it also isn’t impossible.

The lives of the couple I’m thinking about, who inspire my story, tell a sad and painful tale. He never was able to overcome his crippling fear and the relationship couldn’t last (though they tried for a long time). She was able to move on, and because I prefer to live in hope I like to imagine that she found peace from her own inner struggles in the end. But it’s a cautionary tale.

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ro 7:14–15). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Author: Linda Robinson

Writer, sketcher, Christian contemplative, concerned citizen.