It’s 5 AM and pitch black dark in this house. The heat hasn’t raised yet from the overnight low. I open my eyes to the blind of it all—eyes wide but seeing nothing—eyes wide and feeling everything. Too much. I feel TOO MUCH. The anxiousness I know too well greets me, first thing.
Oh, I’ve been told it a thousand times and more—too many times to count—but I remember. I remember all the chastising—the criticizing—the turning up sides-of-the-mouth mocking, judging, rejecting of being . . .
That last one is mine. My voice. My inner chatter that won’t let me go—that holds me prisoner inside my own head and beats me to a pulp with no mercy, just waiting to fill in that blank with something negative I fear is true, defining me with just one word.
“You’re too _____________.”
You could fill in your own blank with a half dozen words right away, I’ll bet.
Too fat. Too skinny. Too tall. Too short. To smart. Too dumb. Too confident. Too insecure. Too bold. Too scared. Too loud. Too quiet. Too strong. Too weak. Too rich. Too poor. Too this. Too that.
Until I stop it. Until we stop it.
Because if I were my kid I would never allow anyone to treat me like I treat myself in my own head. I would never allow anyone to treat me with such brutality of words that slice real clean and bleed you out so fast leaving you breathless and hoping someone will come along and rescue you from your own private hell.
You grab your cell and scroll through your contacts. You hop on Facebook and write some status plea for affirmation, for confirmation that your real inner voices aren’t real, after all. And even when others tell you otherwise, you don’t believe, do you?
You run. And you keep running. From one person to another. From one activity to another. From one vice to another.
How about some ad-vice, dear one? I preach it to myself.
You can’t run. And you know it, really. Because wherever you run, your voice goes with you. Yeah, you can try and drown out the droning and Teflon coat to keep all those words from sticking, but they stick anyway, don’t they? You can try and cover them up, pulling those covers up over your head and trying to end the start of the day just as long as you can—before you can’t.
So you get up.
You stand on shaky limbs and take steps into the dark—into places you can’t see—and you are so, so afraid of the very next step because there’s no light and you don’t know what lies ahead and you certainly know what was behind—you know how harsh people can be and how random life is. And those ghosts of your past—they come back in a fury with their haunting voices that FEAR WILL HAVE YOU—again. Fear will stop you—again. Fear will EAT YOU ALIVE—again—even as you stand on your own two feet.
Stop, drop, and roll. I’m on fire!
Stop, look, and listen. There’s a train barreling fast on this fast track of my brain!
Every word you need to hear—to remember—to live—is posted in RED.
I stop those voices in the black of my room and in the dark of my mind.
I flick a switch in my brain and darkness retreats.
I strike a match in my mind and darkness runs.
I focus on the flame—the TRUTH, not on all the darkness and lies still hanging heavy all around. I only need one—small—flame to find the way to my one—next—step.
I sit still in darkness all around, but by the light of the flame, I turn.
I turn the pages of truth spilling out, just waiting for me to absorb, to digest, to focus my eyes and give strength to my shaking limbs. Because man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4).
All I can see is that one flame. And that one flame is all I need, right now.
Jesus. The Light of the world (John 1:9).
I don’t need a clock turned back an hour to give me more light. I don’t need to go back. I need to step forward. I need to step into His embrace and realize what I already possess—this light within my soul and my heart and MY MIND. Because I DO love the Lord my God with all my heart and all my soul.
But do I love the Lord my God with all my MIND?
Practice, Heather. It takes practice.
Practice loving God with all your MIND.
Loving means trusting. If I love God, I will trust God. If I love my feelings, I will trust my feelings.
Which IS stronger? That’s the question. Not which FEELS stronger.
What and who will I trust this day?
My feelings—or God and His word?
Faith is not a feeling. I am set free from the harsh rule of feelings (or the seductive pull) to follow the gentle Way—the loving Truth—the abundant Life.
That’s how I will walk today.
Though my heart shakes and my mind runs as I first start this day, I will do two things . . .
I will breathe slow and deep.
And I will bathe in God’s word—in my MIND, regardless of what I feel. I will not judge my feelings. They are what they are and I will not let one feeling cause another feeling until I end up in some cesspool whirlpool at the foot of some Niagra (an overwhelming flood—torrent) falls, sucked down and drowned.
Jesus came to set ALL captives free (Isaiah 42:7). Too often, my mind has been held hostage by fear. But God says that perfect love casts out all fear (I John 4:18).
Jesus came to set my MIND free.
Will I look to Him, this moment—the next moment—all through my day—no matter what I FEEL?
Yeah, I get anxious. A lot of times I know why and sometimes I have no clue. Sometimes I do believe it’s just how I’m wired—or how I was rewired by life’s hurts. Even that’s ok.
I just am.
But just as I am?
Truth is—I am HIS.
In all my feelings and with all my flaws—in and with all my perfect imperfection—I am HIS.
So I will walk through my day, step-by-step, by faith no matter what I’m feeling, hand-in-hand with the One I love, who loves me.
I will walk through my day, step-by-step, by the light of His grace, by the truth of His word, saturating my MIND with all He IS, not focusing on all I am not.
And I will do this focusing on Him and His words, His love letters written to me, steeping me in truth.
And I will do this intentionally, taking in each word, lingering like a lover.
Will I feel better immediately?
I don’t know. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t. I don’t much care anymore.
Because I am so much MORE than my feelings. I am more.
I am a conqueror on a conquest to walk through whatever comes my way BY FAITH and not by sight—by FAITH and not by feeling.
All things pass away, but the word of the Lord stands forever (I Peter 1:25).
My feelings come and go like withering grass and falling flowers. But God and His word stays.
Today I will sit in a room of professionals around a table with our 16 year-old son. We live with this mountain of disabilities that can paralyze me with fear for the future. And I do confess that my faith isn’t so strong sometimes when the giant mountain of fear looks so overwhelming and I shake in my boots while holding my little kid slingshot. We’ve met with so many professionals over so many years with all our kids who have so many challenges and, like Job, sometimes I just want to die and be done with it all because it’s all—so—overwhelming.
But that’s the point—to be overwhelmed with life so we can become overwhelmed with God.
Life is all so overwhelming and I’m so unable to fix it all. So when we come to the end of ourselves, we see the beginning of God. And we are overwhelmed—with—AWE!
We’re not supposed to fix all that’s broken in life by ourselves—in our own strength. We’re supposed to yoke to Jesus and move forward with His strength. Just follow His lead. Our loads could be lighter if we would just allow ourselves to be hooked up with Him (Matthew 11:30). Our way could look brighter and feel warmer if we would turn to His light—the light of His word—the warmth of His presence speaking His words over us, softly soothing every fear straight away.
So no matter how dark it feels to me or how cold this day, I always have a light. I always have enough light to take my next step in confidence—in God-confidence.
Today, I will step into this meeting which will probably go three hours as usual. And we will discuss all six areas of disability with our son sitting right there listening to it all. And we don’t get to run away and deny because it’s all there in black and white on paper and we have to read through it all and talk about it all and come up with a plan. And we will. Because God will be sitting at the head of the table, right where He belongs. It’ll be alright. I’ll be alright. Our child will be alright. Because all is right with God who loves all His children with His All-mighty love.
We are much, much more than our disabilities.
We are much, much more than our challenges.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
We are perfectly loved.
Who knows what the future holds for this precious child (Nick, me, you)?
We are in good hands with the ALLmighty.
We are in His good hands.
So, dear heart, listen . . .
You are loved.
You need not fear.
You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop. With my God I can scale a wall. 2 Samuel 22:29-30
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Matthew 8:12