No lectionary today. I promise I will get back to Exodus tomorrow. It’s just getting good.
This Lenten discipline has been about wrestling with places of brokenness. I’ve wanted to give voice to the shadow places in my heart and mind in hopes that bringing them to light would aid in my ability to be aware of them and not allow them so much control over my thoughts and actions. On the whole, I think it has been a worthwhile exercise…
…with really awful timing. I lost my job right before Lent. I got a week long illness in the middle of this thing. My house was foreclosed. My ex has questioned my parenting. My denomination is putting me through the ringer. I’m broke. And I have a lot of free time to wallow. So the unforeseen side effect of all of this “confessional” work is that I have given the demons in my head SO. MUCH. AMMO!
“You’re a liar!”
“You’re a cheater!”
“You’re a bad father!”
“You’re a loser!”
“You’ve broken all the vows that were important to you!”
“You wreck people’s lives!”
“You’re a burden!”
“You’ve wasted your talent!”
“You’re not that talented to begin with!”
“Also, you’re getting fat!”
“You can’t manage your finances!”
“You can’t take care of yourself!”
“You can’t maintain any relationships!”
“You’re just like your father!”
“You’re just like your stepfather!”
“You’re a narcissist!”
“You’re a sociopath!”
I could go on. I know this list seems long, but seriously, I could go on. And as true as some of these things might be, and they’re all true to varying degrees, the truth of them is less consequential than the mental weight that I give them.
Last night I couldn’t sleep. Each of the above phrases rolled around in my head like a mixtape, a greatest hits list of Derrick failures. Most had an accompanying mental picture of someone saying these things to me, usually with an angry face.
The point of confession is not to prosecute, but to liberate. When we acknowledge our sins/faults/shortcomings we take away a bit of their power because guilt grows in shadows. They only have the power we allow them to have. The problem is that more often than not, we continue to hand over power to our guilt even once we have freed it into the air. We keep the accusations on a perpetual loop that quickly become the soundtracks for our lives.
I confess that I give the demons too much power. I confess that I allow them to control me and to define my worth. I confess that I am more likely to believe the negative voices in my head than the positive, life affirming ones. I confess that too often I am willing to believe the narrative that is created about me by those I have hurt than by the much larger narrative of those I have helped and loved. God, forgive me for canceling out Your voice, the one that calls me “beloved”.