So. If you read the title, and came here for an easy answer, I apologize straight away.
There are so many ways to process the events of our lives.
These events may be physical, mental, and/or spiritual.
Many times these events and their repercussions stay hidden deep inside.
If we do choose to address them, admittedly, we choose to work on the parts that seem “easiest”.
This generally means a little here and a little there.
Eventually, the hard stuff is what’s left.
What is the hard stuff?
It’s the stuff that makes up the “Soundtrack of our lives”.
It’s the stuff that has buried itself deep in our consciousness.
Being a “Soundtrack”, means that it can readily get played over and over.
What we believe about ourselves is often the thing that has been repeated to us over time.
Repetition is an amazing teacher.
So what of this “Soundtrack”?
Is it positive, or is it negative?
Do we even realize the harm it is doing?
For me at least, I came to the point where I was faced with doing a “deep dive”.
An →“Excavation” if you will, to get to the heart of the issue.
My belief in the Holy Bible gave me a jumping off point.
In Ephesians 4:22-23 (ESV) to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds.
And in 2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV) We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
In the simplest of terms, what these verses are telling us that it is possible to change the way we think.
My “Soundtrack” was full of what every person I had ever come in contact with said, or thought about me, both positive and negative.
Unfortunately, the negatives are much stickier than the positives.
I’m told that it takes seven positives to overcome a negative.
So how does one go about renewing those thoughts, or “taking them captive”?
Scripture has an answer for that as well.
Philippians 4:8 (ESV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
That’s a tall order.
To tell the truth, I had read all of these verses before, but it seems like onlywhen I was truly ready to put them in place, did they come alive to me!
Believe me friend, it took all the intentionality I could muster to change those thoughts!
Here is some of what I thought followed by what God was thinking about me.
“You’re no good” – God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
“Use your head for something besides a hat rack.” – Blessed is the one who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (I’ll need my head for that!)
“You’re so dumb.” God says I have the mind of Christ.
“You’re so bad, God will never forgive you!” He is faithful and just to forgive me of my sins.
“What tribe you from? Blackfoot?” – How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him who brings good news.
Blackfoot, bigfoot, gunboats, monkey toes – He drew me out of the pit, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
(There is a foot verse for any foot joke there is!)
Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” – “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
The only way that we can overcome, is to change the way we speak about ourselves.
We need to believe what God says, and to repeat it to ourselves again and again.
Remember that repetition is a great teacher.
After some time, I began to believe God said too; and my symptoms began to fade.
I keep adding the true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy statements to my tally of positives.
I believe God’s thoughts more and more, and am exceedingly more capable of living a most grateful and joyful life.
Tis the season coming up quickly for proms, and graduations and for moving into adulthood.
It’s a time of being with friends and family in a whole new way.
The parameters have opened up, and many are just not certain what is next. It’s a rite of passage I suppose.
The anxiety. The uncertainty. The clueless-ness.
I’ve been to several events in the past couple of months. Band concerts, chorus concerts, and the like.
The difference is that for two of my grand children, these events carried the distinct designation of “Last”.
The culmination of 13 years of schooling. 13 years of always knowing (mostly) what comes next.
A New Designation
Along with the “Last” designation, comes a new one as well. “First”.
The “First” time of being really responsible, entirely, (mostly) for what comes next.
But that topic is for another time.
Here I wanted to share what I’ve observed during these “Last” times.
I’ll share it here with just a snippet of what I wrote in my journal.
Being so much of an introvert is OK, except for at those over the top social events. You know, the ones that are supposed to elicit great shows of emotions.
When you are an introvert, not so many people flock to your good bye. Not so many are devastated by your departure.
Your family celebrates you, and at the same time, they mourn your advancement into a new place of life, away from them … but you? You kind of fade into it. Quietly dismissing yourself, and making your way back to the safety zone that you have created for yourself.
It is a sad thing perhaps, but maybe hard to remember, at that moment, that it is a world you have created for yourself. A safe place.
Why Was it Visible?
I noticed this occurrence taking place in quiet corners in more than one school district. In more than one cafeteria, and at more than one event.
Those who were more extroverted, and were able to wear their emotions on their sleeves for all to see.
Those who were more introverted, put on a brave front, appearing to be OK, yet their smiles, never really reached their eyes.
Then, sadly, oh so sadly, I saw (felt) those who simply gave up trying to put on the act, not having the energy to fake it even one more time.
The extroverts, wondering why they are so emotional.
The introverts wondering if they could attempt to fit in just one more time.
The others, biding their time until they could escape to their own comfortable nests.
I saw this. I knew this. I felt this. Again.
It took me until I was full grown adult to realize that I was just wired that way. Quieter.
The noisy, raucous kid me, was all an act. A protection racket for the part of me that I saw as flawed
My quiet side has kept me sane, but at times it has also kept me alone.
What to Do?
The sadness I felt back then, can still be accessed by me, but it does not have to be. It no longer rules my life.
And still, when confronted by this, when I see this in my vision, when I feel this in my soul, when I see the struggle going on in front of me, I do not know what to do.
Telling them that everything will be OK, will not make it so. Only life itself, lived on one day at a time, can do that.
But the quiet part of me still seeks another answer. One that can help the loneliness subside, or at least to feel tolerable. Sooner rather than later.
Until then, if you see yourself in this narrative, please know;