I knew you were trouble the moment you walked in.

It’s not as if we’re strangers — in fact, you’ve been lurking around my entire life. You always turn up uninvited at the most crucial moments. Sometimes I ignore your unrequested presence, but other times you steal the moment. Party-crashing is your specialty.

You’re really dressed to kill tonight. It seems you were preparing for this. Your eyes glitter just like the polish on your silent shoes. You’re striking, for sure. You always strike something into my heart. But that doesn’t mean I want you here.

Hello, fear. We meet again.

I feel your foreboding gaze trailing me and I blush under your disapproval of my every move. Something about your cutting gaze diminishes me into a small, pretending child.

I hope you don’t ask me to dance, but I see a threat in your eyes. I convince myself that this time, you’ll be reasonable. The violins strike up a wild, twisted waltz. Before I know it, you’ve grabbed me by the wrist and dragged me out to the floor. I can neither fight you nor face you. My hand does not belong in yours, but you’ve never let me escape before.

You speak to me, and I listen against my better judgment. You always. You never. It no longer shocks me how much you know about me. It’s as though you claw through my mind beforehand, taking inventory of rejection and failure just so no one could possibly forget. You know the names to recite. You know how to twist the salty, windblown memories so they terrify me. You know how to add element upon element of doubt. Every time we’re together, a dusty, ragged mob of haunts is never far behind. You know where to find them.

Why can’t I fight this nightmare? Why can’t I summon up the courage to push you away, silence your threats, swiftly escape? Why do I keep following you into this dreadful place?

We struggle on and on, and I lose ground. You steer me wherever you want to see me fall. My arguments are weak and yours are loud. I break into a sweat and shudder as you twist my arm one last time. You say you’re going to end it here and reach for a concealed firearm. Something I’ve seen before. Something you’ve threatened me with time after time.

And finally, I cry out. I don’t know why I didn’t yell sooner. Somehow, you subdued me. But now I’m desperate.

I see your boldness fade. You were heated and persuasive a moment ago, but now you whiten like a dead marble effigy. Your grip turns clammy. You’re startled. You’ve seen him.

I turn and meet his burning gaze. I didn’t know he was so close. He doesn’t tolerate party-crashers.

He heard me, and he’s about to intervene. He’ll pull me free and deck you, because he’s musclebound and well-acquainted with combat. His face bears the rugged marks of the front lines. His hands are victoriously battle-scarred.

You recoil. You’ve lost your brawn. I’m not afraid of you.

He’s already waged war.


13 thoughts on “Musclebound.

  1. Absolutely epic. Absolutely wonderful.

    And the story behind it is astonishingly true.

    Thank you for the post and for the story and for the analogy. It’s words like these that pull me close to my personal Savior. So thank you.

  2. I LOVED this, Noelle. Last night I had fears assaulting me…quietly…and I was just running to the Lord…asking for Him to help me trust.

    “For our God is mighty in battle.”

    Ah, what a Savior He is.

    And He asks us to dance.

    He holds us close.

    Protects us from everything…”anyone or anything” that would steal us away from waltzing in love within His arms.

    Yes my friend. We serve an incredible God.

    I love how you write.

    I miss you.

    • Thank you, Melanie! “Mighty in battle…” such a perfect, glorious visual for the strength of our God.
      I miss you too. *more hugs* :)

  3. Love this! It’s encouraging to remember that when the battle is overwhelming, Christ will fight for us and we can already know that the victory rests in his nail scarred hands. What a thought. :) Hope your summer is going wonderfully!

  4. I love the picture this portrays!! I’ve danced with Fear so many times, and you’re right…almost every time “I didn’t know he was so close.” It’s really sad that I forget so often, but I’m so glad that He still continues to stay close.

  5. Noelle, God has truly blessed you with the gift of words. Keep writing because you truly are showing others who Christ is through the things you pen.

    Thank you once again for reminding me just how close my Savior is.


  6. And now from a guy’s perspective…

    It’s interesting. When I read this story, I find myself relating, or rather, wanting to relate to the musclebound hero. I guess that sounds kind of arrogant, but it makes me think about whether I’m protecting those who need to be protected around me. I guess it makes me want to become more musclebound, in a way that will send fear packing from those under my care.

    I’m not sure if you intended anything like that to emerge from this post Noelle, but thank you for writing this!

    • Great observation, Tim! I’m glad you drew that idea out of it, even if it isn’t the main point of the story. “Musclebound” is a figurative concept that I’ve been pondering the applications of and it will likely play into future writings. -n.

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