Kristi Davis is a guest writer on my site today with her #killingmonsters blog.
I’ve seen some funny pictures floating around the social media world lately that show how the same situation looks through different people’s eyes. For example,
I can laugh at this one because I am a homeschool mom and have dealt with people’s perceptions of homeschool, every one of which is represented above! We all have filters, and see the same thing differently, because we ARE different. But some filters we’ve accumulated through life circumstances and bad past experiences end up clogging our perception of now based on what happened then. The dirt from our past distorts our vision, and robs us from seeing the fullness that is Today. Those are monster filters. And they are no laughing matter. We usually don’t even know we have them. Spiritually, we are blinded.
Enter my dirty filter: Rejection.
What the email said: “You appointment has been cancelled. Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.”
A simple message, yet I was devastated. I had sought out help from my church with a very difficult situation, and that was it. After 18 months of trying, I had come to the “last resort” appointment, and now it was cancelled with no other options. What my Rejection Filter said: “They don’t really care. You’re too broken to fix. Not even your church can help you! Where is God now?”
And so I said: “They are giving up. I won’t ever ask them for anything again!” But what did God have to say about it? How did He see my email?
What God said: “A new spring season is dawning in your life. Rejection has left a winter inside of your heart that needs thawing, an icy layer trapping beautiful things from breaking through and blooming.”
As I read that email, one rejection event after another from my past came bubbling up out of the place I had so carefully tried to stuff them. I didn’t want to acknowledge that any of them were there, because I knew if I looked, I would also have to feel… hurt, anger, loss, sadness… Numbness had become my way of coping and escaping. But God knew that if I looked that I would no longer be numb. He wants me alive! He wants you alive! He wants us to see the ugly monsters because, if we do not face them, what chance have we at all of pulling out our swords and killing them? This email was His hand, reaching down and turning my head toward the truth. I had a monster that was talking all the time and tainting the view of my beautiful life, holding me captive in its lies. And God wanted to set me free.
As I re-ran each rejection episode in my mind… how I had seen them… I prayed through them all and chose to forgive the people involved, asking for God’s help to let each one go. I handed the situations over to Him, one by one, until every one was accounted for. What happened next surprised me. As I prayed, I saw a picture of Him giving them all right back.
“I don’t want them back!” I protested. “I laid them all at the foot of the cross! You sweep them neatly away, that’s how this thing works!” I told God, because He apparently needed a refresher course on Basic Christian Living.
He didn’t argue with me, but continued to hold out the situations to me in an offer to go deeper, to do a bigger thing. His soft smile and kind eyes reassured me, it was going to be ok. That I needed to do this. One by one, He showed me when and how to approach the people involved in these hurts. I knew I already had peace in my heart towards each person, so I moved forward without bitterness or unforgiveness. He wanted me to see these painful experiences… how they see them. And there was only one way to do that: risk more rejection. To face the very thing I was trying hard to run away from. This was truly a faith walk with God. It was time to take His hand, and my sword, and wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, and against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Time to kill the monster.
I stepped out with God and sent an email reply back. To my total shock, the person did not really even understand what I was asking, and before I could give clarification, they said: “We have three other people who would love to help you!” Wait a minute, that’s not rejection!
What God said in that moment: “I will never leave you nor forsake you. I am powerful enough even for this problem.” And the healing began.
For months I continued working through each of those painful rejection experiences, and the outcome was the same every time: there was no rejection! Misunderstandings, simple mistakes, busy schedules, and abandoned email addresses were to blame, but not one person had actually pushed me away. In fact, every one of them met me with a loving heart and open arms. Wow. My eyes were finally opened, and the only rejection I found was the cruddy filter I was peering through.
I am not afraid to face such things now, and I’m learning how to feel again. When new situations arise, I get to choose whose eyes I will look through, and I choose my Father’s eyes. When He sees me, what His hands have made, He says: I love her! I accept her! She is mine, and it is very good! I dare to believe that I am worth accepting. I dare you to believe it, too.
BY: Kristi Davis
The whole idea of killing monsters … is ummm, it involves killing. The concept that there is a struggle and some fighting involved.
Clearly it’s only for the brave of heart.
It’s kinda gory and messy.
What’s even more complicated is when the monsters live inside us.
Not monsters from horror films … monsters better known as hang ups, hooks, cages, issues, baggage … “stuff”.
If we were honest we ALL have something we are giving to God and letting Him work out.
The battle is never what I call “fun” but the victory is exhilarating. Real freedom is contagious … especially because God’s presence is all over it.
We don’t battle alone … God draws us to places He has gone before us. He is always revealing to heal not expose. He is for us, regardless if we feel it in the moment.
Really in the moment it can feel like death. But LIFE comes from death.
Four months ago God challenged me to take a picture of my stretch marks and tell them I loved them while I was preparing to write an article for Destiny in Bloom, On God and Your Body, and it made me sick to my stomach every time I looked at it.
I wanted to LOVE it because I knew He wanted me too.
But the truth was I HATED it. I HATED them. They were a constant reminder of imperfection. Something outside of my control that I could not change. I could tell God I loved my body, but I would ball up every time I would try to tell Him I loved them.
Why couldn’t I have been like my Mom with NO stretch marks … I would whine to God.
Then God would smile at me.
I would want to get frustrated but He would still me with His voice,
“You are so beautiful. You deserve to receive my love … you deserve to love yourself. You really should consider not talking about yourself like that.”
The monster squirmed. The monster fought. But the Monster was no match for God.
No match for His love or His truth.
Monsters lose power when you choose the truth … because …
MONSTERS are not REAL.
Monsters are illusions and lies.
GOD IS REAL.
So how do you kill monsters … with the truth. You let light in all your dark places and darkness loses it power.
Imperfection told me I was less then. I was ruined. A part of me was ugly.
Truth said beauty will never be your weight or looks or outward appearance. Beauty will always be your heart first. The way you see it … will determine what you see.
So four months ago I took a marker to my stomach and called it beautiful and then I wrote the names of the children I so dearly love that enrich my life. I would not trade ONE of them to not have stretch marks. Their lives make me grateful for every mark.
If they make me less than perfect. I’ll take them.
Because it was never my job to be perfect … But I do get to be in love with the ONE who IS!
God reveals the monsters … I get to kill them.
Because monsters??? Who’s got time for that?
I’m gracious … most of the time I’m gracious.
I’m not being prideful in saying so like it’s an innate quality. I’ve worked hard at it. I choose the position of my heart and I choose my words wisely taking the time to marinate them in grace … I don’t let them choose me. I remember the ONE who was so gracious to me and I want to live from that place of remembering just how much grace I needed when I found Him, when He found me.
Seriously, I needed a lot of grace.
I guess that makes what I’m about to say seem harsh, but I think I’ve sown enough graciousness to say it.
You see, I’ve always tried to word everything I’ve written so nicely like a sugar pill for all to swallow, but this time I couldn’t, I can’t.
Because behind all the pretty words I could use, I’ve realized this time, what is behind there is not pretty, and that’s ok.
The truth is God loves me so much He blew the top off one of my boxes to reveal something hidden deep inside me …
I was angry. I’m angry. Like really angry.
Somewhere along the line in my own growing up I was conditioned that anger was bad, but I had all this pent up anger I didn’t want to expose, because that would make me … um, bad. (The lies unfold)
There were a lot of people in my life that got to be angry in all the wrong ways and I didn’t. And I spent my life thinking they were bad, and secretly I was angry with them for it too.
So when my counselor looked at me and said, “I think I’m hearing you are angry, what do think? You know, it’s ok to be angry. Let’s say what you are angry about.”
My inner-dialogue response was, “Oh NO Ma’am, it is not ok to be angry. You are breaking all the rules. You are breaking the rules. You’re breaking the rules,” in my frantic repetition I heard it and asked myself, “What are the rules? What rules? What are these rules?”
There they were all the hidden rules about anger that ruled my life … that caged in a part of this very expressive girl. A color of healthy expression was missing from my emotional spectrum of color.
Rules that were: Lies, fears, inner vows, unnn-forgivvveenneeesss. Oh my, that last one was hard to cough up.
You see, I had forgiven everyone else, but I hadn’t forgiven myself … for being … angry.
Then I felt this familiar hand rest on my heart and ask me the question, “What if you have it wrong, what if you don’t need to forgive yourself, what if … what you really need to do is give yourself permission, to be angry, … in the right way?”
I grabbed a pillow from the couch and covered myself with it like it had the power to protect my heart as heat rushed my whole body … the intense warmth rolled it’s way out in initial soft and slow rolling tears down my cheek. Then my chest got tight and began to quiver and shake … the tears came faster and more vehement. The room had disappeared, the intense emotion was actually scary, it felt out of control, I felt lost, squeezing that pillow for dear life was not helping at all, just causing my hands to cramp.
What was happening? …. Fear … fear was happening.
I realized I was scared to be angry, because, um …
I didn’t know how to do it … right.
I don’t like, wait, I actually hate, doing things I don’t know how to do. I hate being bad at things. Gaining momentum the truth explodes itself to the surface like a volcano because the real truth is …
“I hate being out of control!”
There she was again.
My nemesis; Control.
She showed up on that couch. Annnd she was happy to be there.
What I really wanted to tell her (control) was, “Really? Seriously? Get a grip and have some boundaries … I’m trying to get angry here!”
You see, I’ve loved her and I’ve despised her.
I loved her, because she protected me when no one else was there for me.
… When I was a little girl and I felt alone when left with so many babysitters I didn’t know because I had a hard-working single Mom, no ones fault, just what it was.
… When my little innocent world caved in, in fifth grade, when I was watching a ‘say NO to drug video’ and I realized my father had smoked pot my whole life, calling it by a nick name.
… When I was raped at 15 and felt like it was my fault and I felt like I had to deal with it alone,
… The night I used drugs for the first time, second time, … hundredth time….
… When I got kicked out of my Mom’s house for using drugs,
… When I got kicked out of my Dad’s house for using drugs,
… When I lived on the streets making the occasional bed in a friend’s closet,
… In the first two years of marriage when we fought and our fighting touched all the wounds of the above pain …
And that’s just to name a few on the highlight reel.
Control, she was a love-affair …
Because she saved me, she helped me self-protect before I knew the truth. I thought she was my friend.
Even after I knew the truth, she was so hard to break up with. She was all I knew, walking without her made me feel naked. It took work and intention.
She still tries to come by for the occasional visits, but I’ve learned over time to recognize her ways.
And … I’ve despised her.
Mostly because she aims at keeping my most vulnerable and authentic self locked away.
She likes to say,
“Be careful what you share, remember, … what will people think of you?”
“What if you take a risk in that relationship, they find out the real you and they don’t like you, stay safe, only tell people the good stuff about you.”
“Don’t step out and try that new thing you feel in your heart, people are watching, what if you fall on your face, you’ve got to protect yourself from shame.”
“Listen to me, I’ll protect you.”
I know you see it as clear as I see it … control lies.
She sounds convincing like she really cares, but control is just as scared as you are.
Control is not brave!
I’ll go as far as saying control is a coward one truth away from everything truly beautiful and worthwhile we long for.
It’s amazing how decades of memories, depths of emotion and who I was in that moment all collided, hugging a pillow, sitting next to my invisible nemesis, all while on a couch across from my counselor.
It was a total heart confrontation.
What happened next …
I chose to get angry. I chose it. It didn’t choose me.
It didn’t cut me off on the freeway.
It wasn’t the response to anything I misunderstood my husband saying.
I wasn’t provoked to anger.
It was chosen.
I said what I needed to say in a safe place. Not keeping anyone one accountable for what had happened, even myself. Not blaming. Not lashing out. Not name-calling. Not throwing things. Not demeaning or shaming anyone. Not having to mirror or participate in the way I had seen anger done … wrong.
I got to be angry at bad things that had happened, words that hurt, betrayal that wounded, the times I felt alone, scared, and then I got to grieve they happened.
Annnd … I survived … being angry.
Control had been wrong all along. I didn’t need her to self-protect. I needed to in a safe environment give a place to the feelings inside my heart and let them go so they didn’t have control over me.
The irony. When I tried to control. I was the most controlled by fear and lies in my life.
What I found in all those tears and in this exchange was a part of my voice that had been silenced was being … healed.
It felt messy … but it felt good … it felt like freedom.
God created us in His image giving us the full spectrum of the emotional grid He himself governs from. He gave us choice and emotion as part of the living gift of full life.
I want to live like that, I want to live the full life!
I’m not sacrificing my graciousness, I’m not one to rant and rave, I’m a lover through and through.
Now, I’m the one asking for grace, from myself first, the grace to change, to integrate the best of the old and the new … to be the most vulnerable now person God is asking me to be.
You may be a person whose anger looks different than mine (mine was very inward) and that’s ok. You may have expressed it outwardly. Both need the same amount of grace and help from God. Both can be healed in God’s presence where true journeys of freedom begin. It’s not about comparisons … it’s about choosing to be our healthiest and healed selves what ever our personal journey looks like. So I ask you to let His voice probe your heart.
Let yourself ask: “Holy Spirit, what are You saying to me in all this?” He likes talking and revealing and healing … He enjoys it and calls it fun. He loves us that much! He wants us to be our truest selves: healed, whole, reflecting the truth of who He is.
Do a new thing in our hearts, break up the junk, don’t leave us to our old habits and safe crutches, they only let us live like those who limp. We want to run, we want to be free, we want to let your love come in and rearrange the deep places of our hearts even hidden from ourselves. We open up our hearts to the mighty rushing waves of your LOVE. Your love that is not afraid or ashamed of our anger, our fear, our insecurities, our control … instead you, YOU, oh human-lover-of-a-GOD run to us first … kiss us, hold us … You show us that you want to hold us before You fix us. We say YES to You … we say YES to Your LOVE! In Jesus Name ~ AMEN