Sometimes I feel like I might be oversharing. Should I really put this out there? I’m revealing my flaws, exposing my weaknesses. What if I regret it?
But then I remember how I felt, lying in the dark, listening to Matthew Bivens’ Having it A.L.L. podcast. He doesn’t hold anything back, and it gives me hope and insight. So much insight. The speaker is holding the flashlight and shining the light on the demogorgon threatening to get me. As the eyes of my soul slowly open I feel such a sense of relief. What was once this big, scary monster in the basement that I was afraid to tell anyone about is revealed to be a stuffed teddy bear in a corner, harmless and neutral. It isn’t good or bad…it just is.
For some reason our society has become so obsessed with hiding flaws, Photoshopping blemishes and cellulite away, denying our faults that make us human until we’re too afraid to be real for fear of judgment.
The #metoo movement is powerful because of the solidarity. Lone voices join together in unison and let each other know they are not alone. A drop of water evaporates into air, but add another droplet, you form a puddle. A pond. A lake. An ocean. Mix in your voice, your cause, your belief, your willpower, your ‘I am not going to stand for this and I will not back down!’, and energy is added, agitating the molecules of hydrogen and oxygen. Faster and faster, the energy intensifies and and the water takes on a life of it’s own, forming a stream, a current, a river, a rapid, a waterfall, a tsunami.
So I will continue to overshare, because had it not been the person before me baring their deepest, darkest secrets and their truth like a beacon, I would still be in the dark, floundering.
Maybe I can reach one soul paralyzed in the darkness, afraid to make a move like I was. This is my #youarenotalone.
God is so good. He gives me a nugget, lets me digest it, and then leads me to the next. I bought a copy of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters a few weeks ago. I’ve been meaning to read it but hadn’t touched it. I was struggling with fear and anxiety this morning, wondering if I overshared. First He leads to me the Bible, Psalm 46:1-3, 10:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…”
Be still. I hear another quiet whisper. I open The Screwtape Letters and start reading. The book is made up of a series of letters from Screwtape, a high level assistant to the Devil to his nephew, Wormwood. Wormwood’s job is to do everything he can to ensure a certain young man is damned, forever away from God.
The young man is old enough that he might be called up for military service. Screwtape encourages Wormwood to push the young man to dwell on this uncertainty, to worry about the future, to allow the anxiety to get louder and louder until God’s whispers are silenced.
Wormwood definitely doesn’t want the young man to be still, to be patient and accept God’s will. Or to realize that this might actually be his daily cross to bear and that God won’t give him more than he can carry. So Wormwood whispers in the young man’s ear, stoking the fires of fear and anxiety, preventing him from hearing God’s whispers and calls. He whispers thoughts of anger and lust to distract him, delicately keeping the young man from realizing the power he has over his own mind. For if he were to recognize these thoughts as being the devil’s handiwork to tear him away from God, he would banish the treacherous thoughts instantly and run to God for safety, and the Devil’s work would be thwarted.
I think of how this could play out in today’s world:
By agitating the young man’s mind, his thoughts become anxious feelings, spilling out on to all those around him. As he sits in gridlock in his morning commute, his frustration mounting like a loaded powder keg, he honks his horn at another driver. This driver is facing her own demons and her match is already lit. The demons smirk in glee as they watch the oncoming explosion: mission accomplished.
Our thoughts become our feelings, and our feelings become our actions. If we’re feeling negatively, what are we thinking? Where are those thoughts coming from?