I have been reminded of it a lot lately. Like the recent deep freeze that lingered long, holding on for longer than we are used to, it’s something that enters in, digs in, gets rooted in, and claws itself deep inside. It takes a mighty pull to get it out, like a weed that is willing to yield part of itself, but leaves the roots intact. I was spreading fertilizer (rabbit poop mixed in hay) when I came across a Burdock plant. It needed to be yanked out, and as I reached in to pull out, the burs stuck on to my boots and on my sleeve and the waistline of my sweater. What a long picking and tedious removal of them, bunching in, stuck on like no glue could better! Such is this of which I write.
The first time I became aware of it, was when my sister told me her story. When she was younger, she took great delight in drawing and painting and doodle-ing. As little ones do, in her eagerness she showed her work to an adult. Children don’t bring such because they are sure it is the best, most beautiful, most bold thing out there. They do it for connection, clueless to the quality. This adult carelessly criticized her effort. It was not until my sister was closing on middle age, that she dared to start extracting the lie that kept her hands off pencils, crayons, paper. She believed she wasn’t good enough. She believed she didn’t measure up. It never occurred to her to ignore the doomed report that told her she might as well not even try for improvement.
Words do that, digging in, and spreading the deception like fertilizer, helping the lie expand and crowd out the possibility of trying anyway. It keeps us captive, in the prison of the mediocre. It gets us giving up, as though it was the better choice to make. It keeps us captivated in the can’t, so we won’t.
How hard it is to get untangled from the deception that gets dug in! The lies that lurk and hold on tight, seem incapable of losing their hold on our hearts. What can be done to break free?
It’s one thing to believe the lies we hold on to, as though they are stuck in like an arrow. It’s quite another to realize there is someone else who seems to take delight in helping us continue to lie. He lives in darkness, has a language understood by all others, and speaks deception destructively and convincingly. He is a liar and the father of lies. He’s good at this. He has more influence than the heat of the sun on June 21, except his heat freezes us out, shrivels us like a paper we take and crumple up. The trouble is, when we’re being deceived, we notice nothing out of place.
The trouble with deception digging in is that in order to unravel it, light and truth need to shine on us. We might think that to be worthy of stepping full into, and then the pain punches sharp shards of deep oozing puss (called raw emotions), numbing, freezing, frightening, and terrorizing us. It seems much wiser to avoid picking that deep hole of hurt. Better to walk away and make the best of it.
Yet the truth really does set us free. Just as we need to take the time to heal following going under the knife for minor or major fixings, so it takes time to move through what sometimes seems like murky mud. We need not do this ourselves. For all things we need a power outside our own, a person like Jesus. And, with family or maybe friend, we can close in on becoming all we are meant to be (probably good to let them know the process involves sorting through piles of anger layered on).
What lies about us need undoing? Who can help us discover them? Are you really free, or are you willing to make do?