Avoid Negative Voices from Your Past By Brooke Keith, Guest Writer
My husband and I met in high school in Mrs. Saunders 2nd period class. He looked at me. I looked at him. He said “Hi” and that was that.
Though he was the party boy and I was the Abercrombie girl; it worked. It fit. I taught him how to walk the line. He taught me how to color outside them. From day one … we just were. We were fun. We were silly. Sometimes we were enemies. Sometimes we were best friends.
We used to sit in each other’s company … nowhere to go, no place to be … windows down driving as fast as the wind would take us on an old dirt road in a muddy old red pickup truck with a bad radiator. Hard to believe that all this has been almost 12 years ago, that I’m pushing 30 and we have four children, a mortgage and a car note.
And I feel like we are finally getting older. I feel like life is catching up, like we are turning new sand on the hourglass. Gone are the days of watching the stars from a tail gate and driving with no place to go, because there’s always some place to go – the grocery store, the doctor, the dentist …
In the blinking of an eye, the boy I fell in love with grew up; and I did too.
Worry and Fears
But I’m not ready to let go of the boy he was. I’m afraid of the change 30 brings. I fear that if I do, if I let go, he’ll walk too far ahead of me. I’m afraid I won’t catch up. I’m afraid that one day I won’t be enough. I’m afraid that if I give him any slack He’ll pull away from me scary-fast like a tape measure does when you release the button.
If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m a little bit of a worry wart and a smidge of a control freak.
Sometimes I’m afraid to let anyone crawl out from under my protective bubble: my children, my spouse, my sister, my mother, because I’ve seen so much in my life. And what if those things happen to me? What happens if the other shoe drops? What happens if the chalkboard of my life is erased in a split second and what if I can do absolutely nothing about it?
So many women are so strong. One of my best friends lost both her husband and little girl all within a five year span. Another juggles three children with chronic health problems. One just went through a messy divorce and is working three jobs to support her two boys – alone. Another relying on grace to make her marriage work.
These women pick up their cross every day and they walk.
But I don’t know what I’m more afraid of – afraid of everything falling apart or afraid of not being strong enough, like these women are so effortlessly, to pull it back together if it does.
Being a woman in this society is so difficult. Every day we are faced with commercials that show us women in bikinis, with perfect bodies and youth that has since passed us by and it says to our insides “You aren’t good enough.” “You aren’t thin enough.” “You’re clothes aren’t pretty enough or as expensive as mine.”
Are Other People Worrying Too?
But I wonder what voice this woman hears. Does she hear the same things I do? Does she sit by herself when the day is over, when the cameras are off and the makeup has faded? Does she ever think “I’m not good enough?” “I’m not thin enough?” “I’m not pretty enough?”
I wonder what her tape is.
I wonder if she has a husband she met her freshman year of high school. I wonder if she worries about her children and questions if she loosens the worry bubble on her husband and family even just a little bit it will all fall apart or one day if it does if she will become a tabloid headline. And if it all crashes down – I wonder will she survive?
Voices from the Past
Many of us have tapes because we have been programmed with them since childhood. My tapes are of abandonment and abuse. My tapes tell me I’m not enough. My tape tells me to be weary of every one and trust no one. My tapes tell me I’m not pretty enough, that I’m a crumby mother and a worse wife, that if I misstep on just one notch of the stair case, I will crash all the way down and find myself alone and scarred again.
What do your tapes tell you?
“You’re sins are too crimson to be cleansed.”
“Once addicted always addicted.”
“Things will never change.”
“Things could never be the same.”
I believe the devil has an iPod; and it’s on shuffle. When he gives me a rest, he moves on to you. When he moves on from me, he might visit your friend, or your neighbor or your pastor. He makes mix tapes of the scars deep down in our past and he wants so badly to keep us there. So he plays our tapes … over and over and over … until we are so caught in the past, we can’t focus on anything but yesterday.
Though it’s hard and I too struggle with it daily, we must get back in touch with who God is and what His truth is for our lives. “The thief comes only to kill and steal … but I come so that they might have life and have it to the fullest.” God says to us. And to the devil He says, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
If the words on your tape bring you sadness, if they bring you guilt or shame, if they wrestle withholding forgiveness, if they stir your spirit in ways that makes you think you can’t go on … God didn’t write them. You’ve found your way to shuffle. (1 Cor. 14:33)
When all I can hear is the devil’s playlist I turn to my Father, the one who wrote the book on a grace that’s “new every morning.” And with His help, God hits pause. And I listen to the silence for the first time in what seems like years.
The devil will always try to convince us that change can kill us, that imperfection can crucify us.
But someone forgot to tell him that my imperfections and your imperfections have already been crucified in the One who is perfect.
When your tape echoes in your ear – pull out your headphones.
God wants a chance at your playlist and He’s got a new track for you . . . Press play.