“The prison is not this place, your prison is right here,” spoken by Papa as he points to Eleven’s head in the series, “Stranger Things.” Like a clashing cymbal, this declaration echoed loudly in my mind. Lately, I have been overcome by the torment of my thoughts. Whether they were born out of my past experiences, or from more recent, each thought is intricately interwoven to the next, and they have played havoc in my mind like an unwanted contagion.
My place of refuge has always been my closet. This space envelopes me and protects me from the outside world, which makes me believe, feel, and most importantly trust that I can control my environment. It makes me feel safe so that I can protect myself from pain. From hurt. From emotional distress. From fear. From stress. From every worldly, societal, personal experience that can throw my thoughts into a hostage situation. Because that is what thoughts do, they hold us captive.
So, the answer to this biblically, and according to my husband, is to renew the mind. Take every thought captive, right? Romans 12:2 promises that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. In doing so, we prevent the thought from taking us captive. That process is extremely difficult though. Almost laughable. It often seems like it is the scriptural prescription I referenced before. It is like telling a baby to get up and walk. Our belief systems, our stories, and our personal experiences, both past and present, all factor into how easily this is attained. It is not easy. It is like knowing you need to lose weight. The realization of the need to is easily evident, but the process is painfully difficult.
Sometimes I tell my husband, and this is me being completely transparent, that being married to him is like seeing him out in the deep end of the ocean, while I am still on the shoreline. His faith and trust goes as deep as the ocean is wide. His belief system and personal experiences have contributed to that, whereas my experiences have not. This is where I become quite envious of my own husband. I crave to be able to trust like he does. And, that is precisely where my thoughts hold me prisoner. They are rooted in the inability to trust, which spits out thoughts of rejection, worry, fear, and questioning God’s goodness more often than I care to share. But, because I do at least believe in His grace, His creation, and His authority, it makes me hungry to want to believe in His goodness. Not just when I am at church, or in the “feels” of a praise song. I want to believe and feel His goodness all the days of my life. And that is where I become the most angry. Because it is the result of the robbery of my childhood, the choices I allowed myself to make because of that, what I believed about myself, and most importantly, how it skewed my ability to trust, is why these closet visits have become more and more frequent. I suppose you can compare these seasons of distrust to waves of grief.
He never promised life would be easy. But, to some of us, we are convinced that He did and He just forgot about us. I promise life is hard for all, despite what we see and what we believe. We are only shown the “easy” through social media highlight reels and what they allow us to see. And, if we can be real with ourselves about what seeing that nonstop, it can ignite a downward spiral of thoughts, which ultimately leads to draining emotions Because then we can get stuck in comparison. It is such a vicious cycle that infests our self worth. .I just happen to have a desire to use the chaos and clutter of life to meet others where they are, so that we can hopefully find hope in each other’s hiccups of life.
What is your closet story?