Discovering my own fear of hugging

As I wrote this week’s series of posts about hugging, I realized that I have fallen back into that trap of fear and let it keep me from reaching out to others. I have withdrawn physically, afraid to bless others and afraid to let them reach out to me. This is most evident at our church, where I have yet to have any sort of physical contact with most anyone.

We’re still kind of new to the church (though now that I think about it, we’ve been there at least six months), but I feel like we have quickly been drawn into the core of the community, and for this I am truly grateful. We are regularly invited to social events, people greet us on Sunday morning, and we have hosted a number of different dinners and other gatherings at our home. We like the people and they seem to like us. Despite that, I have remained reserved.

I’m afraid of being inappropriate, of people misinterpreting my desire for physical contact, and of being rejected. Regardless, my fear undermines my relationships there, and I always feel as if there is this chasm between me and others, across which I am afraid to reach. I don’t feel like I have truly joined the community yet because of this fear.

I am the sort who confronts his fears, though, so I am going to do my best to rectify this. I want to be more open with people and to encourage them to be open with me. I want to dispel this fear, and to make sure nothing stands in the way of open and honest relationships between me and this family of believers. I want to remove the hypocrisy I see in my life and actions.

If there is anywhere I can be honest and vulnerable, it should be at church. Physical contact is hugely important for me, and avoiding it is like a poison within my spirit. I can’t keep sabotaging myself this way.

So, if I hug you on Sunday, you’ll know why. Feel free to come up and hug me too. And if you’re curious what this is all about, I encourage you to check out the beginning of this series and read through to find out where I’m coming from. Hugging is too important to be afraid of, or to leave undone. It is about time I take my own advice and just get over myself.

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