Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. Genesis 32:11
Jacob named his fear. How hard is that to do? It feels so vulnerable to actually voice those words: "I am afraid." And yet, it's perhaps the most crucial moment in Jacob's life.
A number of authors have talked about keystone habits - which are regular practices that unlock other healthy practices in our lives. For example, much research shows that those who exercise regularly experience not just greater health, but more motivation in life, more happiness, etc.
Jacob stumbled into a keystone habit in his life when he got vulnerable. There's something about being authentic about what's really going on in your heart that unlocks so many other good things. Of course, it's scary as anything. But the practice of authenticity greases the wheels of spiritual growth. Others feel closer to us when we're honest with what's really going on in our heart, and when we finally name those things (especially the scary ones like fear, anxiety, hate, joy, and hope) then God has something to work with in transforming us. It's the soil of growth.
How open are you to making authentic sharing of your heart one of your keystone habits? (warning: Learning how to do this is tricky, and sometimes backfires if you try it with those who are unhealthy, at least before you've learned how to do it well. So start with safe people and in small doses - and begin with God!).