I attended a conference once called Shattering Stigma: Mental Illness and the Church. In a session about anxiety, the presenter said one phrase that has stuck with me: “Don’t believe everything you think.” Just because a thought enters your mind doesn’t mean it is true. For me, that is especially the case when Darker Me decides to throw her hat in the ring.
I wrote this poem, a letter to Darker Me, after I’d spent a few days believing her lies about and interpretation of something someone else said. Thankfully, upon closer examination, the lies were exposed. I hope this poem encourages you to examine each thought, especially if it is negative, to determine whether it is true.
Dear Darker Me,
I tumbled like Alice as I followed you
down a rabbit hole
but entered no Wonderland.
I found no Mad Hatter,
though I found I might be mad myself
for listening to you.
You are no White Rabbit.
Like the Cheshire Cat you
point me in the wrong direction.
I lost my way in my own twisted mind.
You are no Queen of Hearts to insist
I cut off my head or stay stuck in it.
Lost for days wandering among
thoughts that made no sense.
You interchanged truth and lies!
Nothing was what it seemed to be
as I followed you into
an Unwonderland of dredged up
hurt feelings and wrongs recorded
on an endless loop.
I must find my way out,
back to the surface where,
Truth is truth
and lies are exposed by the Light.
But everything exposed by the light
becomes visible—and everything
that is illuminated
becomes a light.
I’m afraid I must expose you,
dear Darker Me,
that I might live without
your control over my mood.
I suppose we’ll meet again,
but for today I bid you adieu.
I know this light is not for you.
I choose to awake from
the nightmare you’ve drug me into
and rejoice in the truth,
in the Light.
Christ in Me
This poem is written in the pantoum form and is based on Psalm 116, which is my favorite Psalm. I find that the repetition of lines in this form lends itself well to Christian poetry of lament and praise. I hope you are blessed by this offering.
Psalm for My Savior
For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death The anguish of death and darkness entangled me I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, save me!” Praise my God, my Savior who came to my rescue
The anguish of death and darkness entangled me My eyes filled with tears, my feet stumbled under me Praise my God, my Savior who came to my rescue Rescued me from my trouble, sorrow, and darkness deep
My eyes filled with tears, my feet stumbled under me The Lord, my God, heard my cry for love and mercy Rescued me from my trouble, sorrow, and darkness deep Now I know His grace and mercy are mine to keep
The Lord, my God, heard my cry for love and mercy He saw the anguished turmoil of my broken soul Now I know His grace and mercy are mine to keep I will forever praise His glorious name, Jesus
He saw the anguished turmoil of my broken soul I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, save me!” I will forever praise His glorious name, Jesus For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death
Living in darkness no color I see a hint of deep blue maybe red– but no, only blackness
Tears flood the darkness trying to wash away the blackness to reveal the color I know must be near
I’ve heard stories of vibrant yellow sunshine smiling green trees happiness in rainbows streaming across a pale blue sky
But in the darkness these colors are but myths draped in blackness obscured by the pain I feel
Then suddenly the Light comes dim colors revealed to my eyes for my heart to see
The Light drawn by my tears came to wash away the blackness tears alone could never heal
The colors of my world brighten day by day as the Light illuminates the truth of colors that were always just outside the darkness
“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
Matthew 4:15-16 (NIV).
This poem was originally posted on my blog, Linda Kruschke’s Blog, about my own struggles with major depression and the Light who has helped me see the beautiful colors depression had obscured.
Landmines are a very interesting form of warfare. Buried and essentially unseen, they lay waiting for the enemy. Trained as a Combat Engineer at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, I was taught that there were things to counteract other things like mines. I knew how to operate a ‘minesweeper’. I was also taught how to probe with a stick to find mines that could not be detected. In the heat of an Ozark summer, I would be coated with a red mud after crawling on my belly through the Missouri dirt.
There are landmines in the Church.
Buried they simply wait on a believer to step on it. Wisdom would tell us to advance with caution, but the counsel is not always taken. They only await our careless step. We can know they exist, yet we can step on them without thinking. It is a definite form of deception. There are definite things which can cripple us spiritually.
Mines such as fear, doubt, unforgiveness, jealousy, lust, pride and selfishness lay waiting for us. When you step on a mine, you’ll hear a distinct click. This is the downward signal that you have engaged the mechanism of the mine. At this point it gets grim. It is highly unlikely that you can move quickly enough to get away from the explosion.
We are incredibly vulnerable to the mines of our walk as a believer. However, the Holy Spirit holds the maps that can enable us to transverse that which is ahead of us. His presence gives us a safe awareness to progress difficult ground. He is there to direct us to pass through the danger.
Too many people are getting blown up.
They make a misstep and the resulting blast is awful. Unless we listen to the Spirit’s direction we will find ourselves in a very hard place, full of difficulty and danger.
We need the Holy Spirit to help us navigate difficult places.
Without Him present we will step in places that are extremely detrimental, and very dangerous. He must guide us, step by step, through the danger that surrounds us. He will do this, if we only ask.