Silencing The Giltwrights




I recently read this fantastic entry in John Koenig's Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, an excellent little book that creates words for feelings and emotions that often defy description.   

This one had to do with the idea that most of us have voices in our heads that are quick to criticize, ridicule, or otherwise tell us all the ways we're screwing up.  

Sometimes members of this team of voices sound like our own, but most often, they are voices from our past and/or present.  Here's the definition: 
the giltwrights
n. the imaginary committee of elders that keeps a running log of all your mistakes, steadily building their case that you're secretly a fraud, a coward, a doofus... who would have revoked your good food fortune years ago had they not been hampered by their own bitter squabblings over proper grammar and spelling. 
I love this definition and also the name giltwrights.  It truly sums up the imaginary committee that chimes in from time to time when I'm pondering a decision or overthinking something I've done or said. 

A friend from long ago called his Greek chorus of internal complainers an I.B.S.C., which stands for "Itty Bitty S**ty Committee."  I like that name, too, but giltwrights is more suitable for everyday use.  

At any rate, this imaginary committee can work overtime when you're going through a hard time.  They can also mess up the good moments, too.  

I've learned that the best way to silence the giltwrights is to figure out how to be at peace, which is difficult at best and nigh to impossible at worst, especially when listening to their constant drivel. 

I've also learned that the giltwrights thrive in chaos, enjoy noise and distraction, and love it when we're too busy to pray.  

I wonder if this is why Jesus often sought solitude and quiet moments to pray and listen to God.  His disciples often had to go into solitary places to find him.   

You would think he wouldn't need that thing. But he did.  It was an essential part of his spiritual life, which has been emulated by countless followers. 

Finding space to be alone and pray is challenging for most of us.  Our lives are busy, our schedules are full, and our priorities often dictate otherwise.  Which is why we have to be intentional.  

Maybe your solitary place is a trail by your house where you walk.  Or it could be a room you love where you can enjoy some quiet in the wee hours of the morning. You may find your quiet zone while driving or sitting on a bench in a park.  

It is crucial to find it and hold that place as holy, especially if your solitary moments are few and far between.  

The giltwrights have difficulty cutting through peace, but they will try.  You may have to journal them away, engage in centering prayer, or simply meditate.  

Also, if you fall asleep while meditating, don't feel bad.  That works, too.  You probably needed a nap anyway. 

May you discover the best space in your life to quiet the giltwrights, and find peace during all life's challenges.  May you follow Jesus' example, who knew how best to commune with the Divine.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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