Tune in to the Drama Within
Many of us have more or less sworn off “drama.” We realize some people manufacture torment in their lives and relationships because it gives them something to do, enemies to fight, problems to gnaw on. We know there’s no need for such creative pursuits. There’s genuine drama in living. We inhabit a world where life and death decisions are sometimes demanded, where people fall in love, become gravely ill, choose between good and evil. It’s not an uneventful, boring life! So we can say “no” to unnecessary theatrics and live in (relative) peace. And we’d be wise to limit our contact with drama-kings and queens lest we become an actor on their stage.
But to secure real peace, we need to tune in to our interior drama, the conversations, confrontations, and battles within us. We may need to participate in this drama until things quiet down inside, in our minds. Exterior peace means little if, interiorly, turbulence reigns.
We earthlings grew up in an imperfect world. Our siblings and classmates weren’t saints, and our parents weren’t perfect. The voices of those early influencers still pipe up in our minds unless and until we’ve done some inner work. According to psychologist Donald Weaver, Ph.D., “We are each a committee of persons.” In our thoughts or self-talk, unrealistic demands from childhood are often still echoed by certain committee members. Many people have a relentless critic’s voice within, broadcasting their shortcomings.
More significant than the danger of feeling oppressed, stressed, and depressed is the danger of thinking the voice of the demanding bully is the voice of God. A careful reading of the whole of Scripture tells us that God is compassionate, not a judgmental tyrant. God is love (1 John 4:8 NIV). Spending time with God confirms that message in our minds and, more importantly, in our hearts. Surely God will challenge certain behaviors, but the voice that says, “You’ll never measure up!” is not His. Ask for God’s grace to discern what is of God. (Grace rains abundantly.) The inner voices need to be heard and some dissolved.
I had a reasonably good childhood, but (I tell myself) I’m sensitive. I made normal family dysfunction go a long way. At one point in my life, I discerned that I needed to be an involved, intervening parent to my somewhat trampled inner child, to stick up for the downtrodden within. I’d been more compassionate to other people in my life, a much more vocal advocate for them than I’d ever been for myself.
If you adopt the role of self-advocate and listen to your inner dialogue, you’ll become an encourager, a comforter. You’ll perform better when you’re not abused. Decide to give the heckled and harried inner person a break. Actively stick up for your harassed committee member(s). Make sure a new, kinder voice rings through and rings true in your thoughts. A time will come when just awareness of what is going on inside your skin will be enough. You will find the bully or bullies are full of hot air, and even a look their way is enough to deflate them.
The more time you spend with God, the Source of all compassion, the easier it will be to be loving with yourself. The human predicament being what it is, sometimes the “least of your brothers,” the one you need to have mercy on, is yourself.
When you have compassion for yourself, there is more serenity inside, a peace of the Holy Spirit that is greater than the peace this world can give. It’s time to bloom in the sunshine of self-love.
My prayer for you–today, be aware.
God’s Life floods your heart.
It’s always Raining Grace.