On Letting The Terrorists Win

Okay, so J told me that I shouldn’t start this post with an apology, like I normally would. But, I feel like the reason I stopped working on my blog merits an apology more than just, “Oh, I’ve just been busy.”

You see, I have actually been busy. Being married, learning to roll with the rhythms of J’s new schools, has kept me on my toes, in a major way. But, I still could have written. Nope, the reason I stopped writing – the main reason – is because I have been scared. Very, very scared.

As is the norm in the world these days, there is a new Big Bad for everyone to worry about. If you’ve been away from the internet, television, and radio, you may not have heard about the rise of the newest terrorist organization, ISIS. There are a lot of different ways this group has pulled the spotlight onto themselves – all equally terrifying, and horrible. But the one that has kept me away from my keyboard, is their open desire to cause harm to soldiers and their families.

Of course, that isn’t a new idea. For as long as America has had a military presence overseas, there has been animosity, and open dislike. But this has felt different. This group has been seeking media attention to broadcast their intentions to ‘slaughter’ military families, and to encourage their sympathizers that are here in the country to do the same. They’ve sought out military significant others, and military kids to frighten them into retreat, and into silence.

And I’m ashamed to say that it worked. I haven’t even wanted to think about posting. Purely out of fear. Fear has been one of the fastest ways to instantly shut me down, and cause me to become totally paralyzed. When I went through my discipleship and spiritual warfare class two years ago, I learned in painful detail that the enemy will use whatever means necessary to make you feel like less of a person. For me, that’s fear, I’ve struggled with being afraid (of everything) for a very long time.

So, I looked at all my ties to the military, and decided to be proactive. I changed privacy settings due to some suspicious friend requests, locked down my Facebook and Instagram, and stopped writing. I even stopped wanting to comment or post to my friends pages and photos. In short, I panicked…

Then, I got pissed. Truly, seriously angry. More horrible videos, more hacked websites, more disgusting language, and more threats toward military members, their spouses, and their kids. We scrubbed Facebook a little more, told people to take down pictures of soldiers in uniform, and were told not to allow people to know about our military ties. And with each deleted picture, and each outing where I was completely stressed, but trying to appear alert and ‘normal,’ I got a little more pissed off.

Not mad enough to ignore the ‘rules,’ but mad enough to learn more about this ‘new’ enemy. The thing that struck me the most, is their use of fear as their primary weapon – really their only weapon. Terrorism is defined as ‘the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.‘ They use fear to frighten and force people into not making  stand – by doing so, they try to take their voice away. But onl, if you willingly hand it over, It’s bullying on a massive scale.

When I was in high school. I allowed this group of older girls to bully me. They were really just not very nice people, who took pride in pushing the new little freshman around. Even going so far as to stand at the fence while I was cheerleading – to tell me in front of a few hundred people (for all of them to hear) that I was fat, a loser, had frizzy hair, etc. Did I mention that they weren’t nice people? I was terrified of them, and had to steel myself up to even go to school the next week. Yes, I did just compare bullying, terrible, high school girls to terrorists. What I should have done is punched the most vocal of them in the face, or at least gone about my business and told them to grow up. But I didn’t. I handed them my voice, without even really realizing it.

Now, if you read that, I just said to punch a terrorist organization in the face. What I am actually saying, in all seriousness, is ‘don’t let the terrorists win.’ Yes, I’ve been wanting to say that, unironically, my whole adult life. Don’t give them your voice.

Fear in and of itself, is not inherently a bad thing. I’m serious – being afraid is a necessary sensation, It alerts you to a dangerous situation, it can keep you alive, if you know when to listen to it, and how to act. I myself have pointed out that the cost of security is suspicion – fears more reactive sister. Fear is what leads to rules that are actually put in place for safety – and are truly smart to follow. But it can also keep you from actually living, if you allow it. Awareness for PERSEC becomes a refusal to go out to the grocery store on your own. You may be a live, but you’re not actually living. 

For reasons I may never understand, God created me to have a need for writing in my life, in order to keep myself sane, and to hear Him. I also believe that He would never, ever want one of His kids to silence a gift he’s given them. So, I’m going to use my voice, and this gift and passion he’s instilled in me. Because I’ll be damned if I’m handing my voice over to someone who wants me to feel alone, to another bully.

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