Not Today Satan
I'm not having the best of starts to my week.
I accidentally hurt my sweet little cat last night trying to keep her from running outside last night. She has too sweet a temperament to be left outside in the dark---I always feel like I need to protect her from herself. And then I went and hurt her trying to do just that.
I felt like the biggest heel in the history of heels for what happened even though it was an accident. The huge vet bill I was presented with today will be my penance, I'm afraid, which makes me feel even worse.
And then my car just died and I'm having to have it towed to the mechanic. I was scheduled to take it to the mechanic today because it had been having problems, and now I know I waited too long. Who knows how much that is going to cost?
I was also late to a funeral I was scheduled to attend today, too--stuck outside the security gate of the housing development where it was being held until someone came along and opened it.
To add insult to injury the basketball team I root for lost yesterday in the last second, and my own kid texted me to rub it in because he roots for a rival team.
The way I think about these things is difficult to explain. In fact, it makes me sound a little crazy when I tell people out loud---or write it down for that matter. It's not something I like to admit, but honestly right now I feel like I need to share.
You see, when I make mistakes, or suffer an accident, or do something lacking good judgement... I have a voice that starts going off in my head telling me what a screw up I am. And it doesn't shut up. Sometimes, depending on how bad the screw up, the voice will really go nuts and will say a lot of horrible things to me--about me.
What makes it worse, is that it almost always sounds like my own voice speaking.
Based on others I've talked to with similar experiences, my personality type seems to have a particularly nasty time of it when it comes to the things that I hear in my head when I've messed up.
But the fact of the matter is, most of us struggle with negative self-talk, and we also struggle with the myriad of ways we internalize what we're saying to ourselves about ourselves.
We begin to assume that we are our mistakes. We tell ourselves that we are the poor decisions we've made. We remind ourselves constantly about the wrong choices we've made even as we're doing our best to make good ones going forward.
This is not the kind of life that God wants for you and me. God longs for us to live abundant, full, expansive lives, but we need to truly understand what "abundant life" really means as it relates to God and God's purposes for us.
You and I are created in God's image, which means that when we are fully expressing our true humanity, our very best self, we reveal God's DNA within us. When we finally learn to shut out all of the voices except for God's, we can finally hear the still, small voice that has been whispering to us all along--telling us how loved, cherished and amazing we are.
Along those lines, Fr. Richard Rohr once wrote:
Your life is not about you; you are about Life. You are an instance of a universal, and even eternal pattern. The One Life that many of us call “God” is living itself in you, and through you, and as you.
You and I are not our mistakes. We are not our poor decisions. Our life is not about us---we are about Life, which is a very important distinction.
The demeaning and demoralizing voice that seems to speak so loud in my head isn't my own true voice, no matter how much it tries to sound like it. That voice is the voice of the "Accuser," which the Old Testament called the "Satan."
Yup you heard me. The voice of the Satan or the Accuser is the voice that does everything possible to drown out your true voice, which is really the voice of God speaking through you, to you, about you. That voice loves to tell you that you aren't good enough---that you will never measure up.
But you and I are called to be "about Life"---the One Life that Fr. Richard refers to in the line above. And the One Life is the abundant life we live because the Source of all Life lives within you and within me---beloved children of God, created in God's image, imprinted with God's DNA.
I have this t-shirt that I wear on days like this. In huge letters splashed across the front of the shirt are the words, "Not Today Satan." The only problem is that when I wear that shirt, I don't really see it all that often unless I look in the mirror.
I'm thinking about making signs with those words on them and putting them all over my house--big poster board sized, all the way down to post-it notes. I need to see those words and be reminded that the voice telling me I'm not enough isn't really mine.
My true voice is much kinder, gentler and grace-filled than that. My true voice is the voice of the One who wants more for me than I can imagine for myself. My true voice is the voice that spoke life into everything that exists, including you... including me...
May you discover the true voice within you and may it comfort you and encourage you to lean into your One Life. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.