“Our minds are bad neighborhoods, we shouldn’t go in them alone.”
I’ve heard it said that our greatest gifts are also the hardest things about us. And I’m really starting to believe that’s true.*
In my case, it’s my mind.
My thoughts are so often a happy place. My mind is filled with ideas and inspiration and color, so much so that sometimes I find it hard to sleep.
I find joy everywhere — am delighted by the tiniest things, and heartwarming moments can bring me to tears without any hesitation.
My mind is a lovely place, and I love spending time there. What a gift!
But my mind can also be dangerous territory, and two weeks ago I was harshly reminded of that fact.
My thoughts can be a slippery slope. I gain my footing and feel as though I could never fall. The world is lovely and I’m loved within it — I can’t imagine a cloud darkening my blue sky.
And then something happens — a small something, a tiny something, a look or a comment or a misinterpretation sends me reeling. And before I know it, I’m sunk. I slip into a dark hole where the sky is no longer visible and insecurity has cast a shadow over my lovely world.
And I just don’t know how to get out.
Reassurance can never sink deep enough to help me out, because in that hole, fear rules the land.
I’m afraid to believe their loving affirmation — because, the hole whispers to me, what if it’s not true.
I sit in the hole with the mud up to my knees, resigning myself to a truth that feels sad and real and impossible to escape.
And the longer I stay in there, the harder it is to get out.
I’m not exactly sure how this happens, but I think it begins when we start believing the lies.
The nature of life is that we often find ourselves with negative tapes playing in our heads — repeating like a hopelessly scratched CD.
You’re not enough.
You’re a failure.
Nobody could ever love you.
And in response I make a feeble attempt at fighting back but lose the battle — allowing the lie to hit me square in the face — shaking my confidence and my footing.
They’re getting fed up with you.
He doesn’t love you as much as you think he does.
You’re going to mess this up.
The lies get more vicious and more ridiculous, but as I’m toppling backwards, I forget that they’re lies.
And then, in the hole with mud up to my knees, I don’t know how to stop believing them.
So what do you do then?
I honestly don’t know. I don’t have a magic answer or a tutorial on never believing another lie.
But I do know that as I sat in the hole a few weeks ago, I was rescued.
I had a string of people — Carl, Betsy, and Chantell — meet me in the mud, and tell me true things until I could hear them.
Carl held me as I cried big, hot tears, and whispered things that are true about me, and about my life, and about his love for me until I could stand again.
And then Betsy showed up — and with hard truth, she called my fears what they are — lies. And didn’t tolerate them for a second, helping me do the same.
And then Chantell came. She sat on my bed, praying for me, holding my hand, and stroking my hair as she whispered prayers that touched the deepest and most lie-filled parts of my heart.
Not one moment was the cure — not one solution was the magic one — and it wasn’t a quick yank of truth that got me out of the hole.
I didn’t learn some monumental lesson about how to resist lies forever-and ever-amen.
But what I did learn is that sometimes you need someone to climb in with you.
They gave new meaning to the phrase “the hands and feet of Jesus,” wrapping me up with love that I didn’t deserve, tears and mascara smudging my face and dripping onto their shoulders.
And sometimes this is what you need. You need people to jump in with you and tell you the truth you need to hear, and repeat it until you can understand, and say it again until you’re ready to stand up and use the rope together.
My mind is both a blessing and a curse, and sometimes I get tripped up and tangled in a heap of sad things that I forget not to believe.
And I’m still working on that. I’m learning how to speak truth to myself even and especially when I don’t believe it.
But in the meantime, and in moments when I can’t find a breath, let alone a way out, I’m so grateful for the people who have climbed in with me — bringing me their love, the truth and a rope.
Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed by lies? How do you get out?
*This article was originally written/published by the author under the title “True Friends Rescue Us from our Thoughts.”