I don’t think I could ever be a politician.
I look at what politicians have to put up with and know I couldn’t handle it. Adulation one day, then a knife in the back the next.
All those negative voices. People wanting to tear you down, and being ready to do anything to achieve your destruction. It’s a dog eat dog world where the dogs are always on the scrounge for that tasty morsel they can trot out and display.
Then again I am in a world where I do have those incessant mockers. Words of ridicule knocking on the door of my mind. Pounding me with my past mistakes, errors of judgement and human failings.
Always asking me if I am enough.
Sometimes I put them in their place and agree with them. ‘Yes, you are right about that past event, but that was then and this is now’.
Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it – Doe Zantamata.
When on the rebuild and recovery work site there is always a pull to lay down the tools. It all becomes too hard. The words of the mockers get in amongst the dirt of the day and it just grinds you down.
Then you look around, and it seems like you’re the only one feeling like this. That everyone else is doing just fine.
Comparison is a cruel evil master.
Comparisons are cruel.
They leave you empty, envious, or both,
and therefore they ruin.
This is what the mockers want you to conclude. That you are the only one.
Then when you are isolated, alone and full of self loathing you are more easily torn down and away from what actually matters most. The mockers take a brief rest, but only for moment.
It’s so encouraging for me when I sense the presence of the Holy Spirit shovelling dirt alongside me.
As I go through my daily activities I mull over what I am writing about. It’s on the surface of my mind so I am open to the prompting of creative ideas.
So it happened that the other I was listening to the audio book of ‘Big Magic’ by Liz Gilbert. Her words landed perfectly on my soul.
‘Speak to your darkest and most negative interior voices the way a hostage negotiator speaks to a violent psychopath: calmly, but firmly.
Most of all, never back down. You cannot afford to back down. The life you are negotiating to save, after all, is your own.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” your darkest interior voices will demand.
“It’s funny you should ask,” you can calmly reply.
“I’ll tell you who I am:
I am a child of God, just like anyone else.
I am a constituent of this universe.
I have invisible spirit benefactors who believe in me, and who labor alongside me.
The fact that I am here at all is evidence that I have the right to be here.
I have a right to my own voice and a right to my own vision.
I have a right to collaborate with creativity, because I myself am a product and a consequence of Creation.
I’m on a mission of (artistic) liberation, so let the girl go.”
See? Now you’re the one doing the talking.
Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
The people of Jerusalem were on a ‘mission of (artistic) liberation’.
The city walls were being rebuilt. They had to be, because this was a violated city and had been a place of desolation and exposure for over 400 years.
They had begun the rebuild, the creative adventure, but now the mockers were stepping up with barrel load of rotten tomatoes.
When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”
Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!” Nehemiah 4:1-3
Note the tone of the questions. They were aimed to undermine and to gnaw away at confidence. Nasty nasty stuff.
It’s at times like these you want to throw a few rocks back, but that is not what they did. We will look at their response next time.
The answer to their questions is found within the questions. Particularly the final question of Sanballat.
Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?
The word that jumps out to me with startling thunderous applause is ‘RESURRECTION’.
Recovery and rebuild will require an element of resurrection presence.
The audacity of God to be able to bring something that was completely dead, in our eyes, back to life and then that life being something more glorious than before, shouts hope to me.
In every seemingly impossible situation we need to shout ‘RESURRECTION’.
The addiction, the trauma, the marriage, the violence all need the power of resurrection to turn stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are.
In the face of mockers I shout/ whisper ‘Resurrection’.
If you are serious about rebuilding yourself, or assisting others, then you will have to face the mockers.
They may not say anything to you face to face. They may well share their warped whispers only to those that they know will agree with them. Critics run with critics.
These mockers may well be in your head. Echoes from the past amplified and tuned up with sharp accuracy.
Go on and rebuild. Be creative, take up that stone and rebuild. Pray for resurrection presence to fill your thinking.
This artistic liberation is not about them. It’s about you, the rock and the master re-builder who is cheering you on with words of grace and mercy and love.
Quotes to ponder
- Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. Steve Jobs
- Measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures. Elizabeth Gilbert
- The less I fight my fear, the less it fights back. If I can relax, fear relaxes, too. Elizabeth Gilbert
Questions to consider
- What voices mock you and your ‘artistic liberation’ rebuild?
- Rewrite Elizabeth Gilberts ‘I’ll tell you who I am..’ in your own words. Be daring and write it in the comments section below.
- Why does ‘Resurrection’ change everything?