Sunday, September 1, 2013

Light in the Darkness

Several weeks ago, some of my colleagues and I were discussing the fact that life experiences have the potential to affect one's beliefs about God, the world, others, and oneself.  For example, if a person is raised in a family where (s)he is frequently criticized and nothing (s)he says or does seems to measure up, (s)he may develop the belief:  "I am not good enough."  On a day to day basis, we typically are not aware of this process, yet we live and breathe its effects daily.  These effects are displayed through our feelings, our relationships, our decisions, our priorities, etc.  Sometimes they wear the face of fear or insecurity.  Sometimes their attire is contentment or joy.

During this conversation, my mind naturally drifted towards our recent experiences.  I began to think about our two miscarriages last year and our present journey of trying to conceive once again.  I pondered the thoughts that crossed my mind during the darkest moments of our journey.  Some thoughts I would honestly be ashamed to say aloud.  However, deep down, I know I am not the only one who has thought those things or felt that way. 

You know the thoughts I am taking about?  They are dark and hopeless and despairing.  An accurate portrayal of what a broken, grieving heart feels.  Empty.  Lonely.  Hopeless.  Afflicted.  They may sound a little something like this... 

"God hates me."

"God is cruel."

"God is not in control."

"Life is hopeless."

"I am inadequate."

"I am a failure."

"I am all alone."

"No one cares."

"Good things never happen to me."

What words have your broken, grieving heart spoken?  Don't be afraid to be genuine and honest with yourself here.  You are not alone.  We have all been there.  Although our words may not sound the same, our hearts cry a familiar tune.   We've felt the emptiness, the loneliness, the hopelessness, the despair.  Go ahead, say them out loud.

These are the thoughts of our broken, grieving hearts.      

HOWEVER, in the midst of these thoughts, we must remember:  Thoughts and feelings birthed from a heart broken into a million pieces are oftentimes void of the truth that anchors our soul.

Yes, they are real.  Yes, they hurt like none other.  But they don't have to steal the truth.  They don't have to be more than a thought or a feeling.  They can be what they are, but nothing more.  They don't have to define us.  They don't have to become our beliefs.

Let them be what they are, but don't let them be more.  Think and feel, but don't let them become. 

If you find yourself in the midst of the darkness today, remember the truth:  
"I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." - Jesus (John 12:46)