Have you had a chance to see the movie Tomorrowland? In it, the main character, a young heroine, repeats a story back to her father, in his moment of defeat, a story he told her during her childhood. In the story there are two wolves: one is darkness and one is light. “Which one wins?” she questions him. After a pause she continues, “The one you feed the most.”
Since I was in 3rd grade, I’ve been haunted by a ghost of my past, bound up by the shackles of abuse, feeling a prisoner of the violence that was inflicted upon me. I’ve lived bent over by the voice of shame that was whispered to me when I was only 8. Fast forward ten years; as I was preparing for college, I sat with an administrator who was reviewing my ACT scores, and he said with a smirk on his face, “Girl, I think a monkey would score higher on this exam than you did.” Somehow, one negative voice triggered other angry voices that had been repeated in my head — feelings of fear and having no value. Those voices were drummed up again and again over the next 30 years, by decisions I made that led to mistakes, or missteps on roads that were winding and unclear. It felt natural for me to focus on those voices of pain that led to self-doubt. And to quiet those voices, I felt driven to strive for many things, some of which weren’t healthy. Yet I also felt drawn toward joy, a lifeline that always seemed out of reach. Now, however, at almost 48, I’m finally starting to shake myself of those heavy chains. Inner strength is beginning to emerge. Feelings of finally being redeemed, and growing into the person that God intended me to be, are being fostered.
My life circumstances over the last year and my circle of influences have caused me to look at why and how I’m choosing to live my life. In scripture Luke chapter 10 verse 27 we hear, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This year I’ve come to realize that loving neighbor and others is tricky when you don’t love yourself. Now I’m settling into love of self, and accepting God as the power that frees me from those heavy chains. It’s taken many years to discover and foster that self-love and look at my authentic self. (I’ll save those details for another blog.)
As I was pondering the sensitive nature of this entry, I heard the fear creeping up in me: “What might people may say or think of me?” For me, confidence and self-love starts with acknowledging my feelings and I do that best through prayer while taking a run. My run took me down a tree-lined street, where suddenly, an enormous black crow landed directly in front of me on a low-hanging branch. He appeared to look right at me, and did his “caaahaaa” as if he was laughing at me. That crow reminded me that we live in a world where good and evil are both present on every road I take. I decided I wouldn’t let that crow intimidate me — I picked up my pace and popped in my earbuds. The first song I heard was by the group Mercy Me. The lyrics of “Greater” clearly state the voice that I now hear inside of me. God’s voice in my heart is far “Greater” than those voices of my past, the naysayers in my world, and those who try to intimidate me. Like the heroine from the movie Tomorrowland, I am choosing to feed the voice of light.