Hello all! Sorry I was out last week. It’s life.
Speaking of life, I guess it’s just because I watch a lot of cartoons these days, but I started to think last week about what my life would look like as an animated feature by our favorite producer of all things animated, theme park, and mouse-like. I won’t say the name ‘cause I know we’re all thinking it and I’m not sure I could afford royalties if I mention anything specific, ahem.
So, as my imagination began to wander I thought I would write a “treatment” as they call it in the movie biz. Seriously have no idea how to do this, just really wanted to say “the biz” and “treatment”. In the midst of this “treatment” I began to realize some things about myself. So, here you go.
- It would begin with a little girl skipping through life with her loving family, winning pig tail competitions and formulating theories on life that make her parents smile knowingly and giggle just a bit. Enter a small speck of fear and perfectionism.
- Skip forward quickly through the “awkward” years because, let’s face it, there’s only so much awkward an audience can find endearing. Watch the speck grow into a shadow in the background.
- Find the young girl just out of college, searching for her place in the big world. There are happy dancing and singing scenes, because you need that, and many adorably minor frustrations where we can watch her make that quintessential “I’m so harried” animation face while she blows a stray curl cutely out of her face. But in the darker scenes we see her do battle with the fear and perfectionism that has now grown into a dark, inky, tar like mass of anxiety and depression that threatens to take her over. She uses her own talents to suck the power away from this mysterious dark mass and it works, for a time.
- We build to the Party. She wears a beautiful dress that makes her feel like a princess and gets the attention of the room, something she is not entirely used to accepting. But in the midst of this party there is a prince (cue the angels singing and the warm golden light), in a kilt. He’s too shy to say it, but he knows he will marry her.
- They spend every minute of the next music montage together and the dark mass is at bay.
- We exit the montage with a dreamlike wedding in the woods. And they lived happily ever after with rolly pink babies and laughter for days. The dark monster is slain.
Except…there are a few pertinent places where the real thing is nothing like the stories of our favorite theme park mouse.
Much of it is true. There is so much happiness in my story and my Prince really did come in a kilt the first time I saw him. I love that memory.
And it is also true that in my life there has been a dark presence made of fear, perfectionism, anxiety and depression that I have unsuccessfully fought with writing and acting and singing and being good at my job and food and entertainment and any number of things. But this thing was not made powerless by all of my efforts, and it was not vanquished by my prince, my wedding, or my happy babies.
The entire catalogue of animated princess stories will tell you that “true love’s kiss” or something similar will get rid of the bad in your life.
But, they have forgotten: True Love does not come from people.
True Love comes from the One True God who gave His Son’s blood to cover our shame (John 3:16-17) and sent His Spirit so that we would not have to fight all alone this darkness that accuses us (John 14:16, 26; John 15:26; John 16:7).
God is the only one who can conquer what I fight.
He is the only weapon that will be successful over the darkness.
There have been times when I have felt the darkness take over. These were times when I found it hard to breathe or sleep and relating to other people was not going to happen. I shared with you earlier about my anxious number obsession when I should be sleeping; all just a part of this darkness. It is in those times that I need to go to God, but I haven’t always done that.
I’m working on it.
WE are working on it: God and me.
Praise music helps. Reading His Word helps (especially the Psalms, they speak my language). Being with people who love me and love God helps me. Prayer helps most of all.
I share this now because I have realized lately that I am not alone in this experience. There are so many of us who have our own dark, inky, tar creatures lurking behind our happy Sunday morning smiles and photo worthy moments.
I want anyone else who is reading this to know, you are not alone. And not just because I have let you know I feel the same way, but because my God is for you.
To anyone who feels the darkness overwhelming them and whispering lies to them:
God hears you, He sees you, He loves you and He has given you GRACE. All you need to do is ask Him.