Yesterday, an old memory glided from a faraway corner into a more brightly lit place. It stayed for a while, so I entertained it. As I did, it impressed on me a new gist I’d never considered concerning words.
Have you ever had your feet fly right out from under you? As I think about my airborne experience, it seems more like an episode of The Three Stooges meets Road Runner and Wiley Coyote – a slapstick cartoon portraying an inhumanly possible feat. I’m sure the Acme Company was somehow involved.
I was wearing a tunic, stirrup pants and flats (welcome to the 90’s) and the floor was wearing a fresh layer of mop water. When flats met floor, my legs went flying and my back fell flat. I’m not a gymnast, so outside of a recliner, I’d never been parallel with the ground until then.
How do I describe the time between slipping and splatting? Maybe that it flew still. Or maybe it stood flying. Or maybe it stood still while I went flying.
If I ever needed a better perspective on time, it was then. Those seconds were absurd. And I felt very heavy within them.
ADDING INSULT TO INJURY
When the paramedics arrived, their focus was stabilizing my neck and spine – and rightly so. But all I could feel was the throbbing pain in my arm. The test results convinced the doctors that my back was fine, and they FINALLY heard my pleas to check my ever swelling elbow.
If they had only listened to me from the start. The x-ray showed a little round tip floating around in elbow space. Sort of like a cherry on top.
I would need surgery to repair it.
With screw tightly in place, I was discharged from the hospital the day the Winter Storm of 1993 hit the Birmingham area. My husband and I had just enough time to pick up our daughter from family members and make it home, slipping and sliding along the way (nature was poking fun at me).
Soon after we arrived home, the power went out. But we had plenty of firewood and food to make it for several days, so all was well. Except for the fact that we weren’t able to stop by the pharmacy to fill my prescription.
For Pain medication.
Did I mention Punkin’ Head, my girl, was only eighteen months old at the time? Do you know that littles this age like their mommies to tote them? Everywhere? Constantly? And did I mention that Punkin’ Head’s mommy had just had surgery, but didn’t have pain meds?
You can see how this event would rank high on my brain’s memorability scale.
Honestly, it really wasn’t that bad. We did survive that week in our Little House on the Suburban Prairie, depending on our wood-burning fireplace for food, light and warmth. And my husband was a trooper how he helped keep me comfortable and took care of our girl.
PROTECTION FROM WORDS
After six weeks of physical therapy, my elbow was as good as new. But that may not have been the case had I known the doctor’s prognosis.
Following the surgery, he said I would never regain full range of motion. He said due to the nature of the break, they did not expect full use of my arm to return.
My husband kept this from me thinking it might hinder my healing and progress if I knew. I was a pretty determined 22 year old, so I’m not sure it would have had a negative effect on me. But I’m glad he protected me from what I now recognize as mere people-words.
Nearly every day we hear people-words and allow them to define us, shape our thoughts and hinder our progress. We hear things like, “You weren’t cut out for this,” or “You’re setting yourself up for failure.” We believe jab-lies like you’re too big, tall, skinny, fat, average – fill in the blank – and we receive it into our souls.
And sometimes, we’re the ones speaking these lies to our own selves.
In this life, we can’t avoid these poisonous proclamations. Whether spoken by a well-meaning workmate, sullen stranger or frank family member, these syllabic slights can skid right into a place of normalcy if we make ourselves vulnerable.
Have you ever had a deep passion to take a leap into something new but ended up talking yourself out of it? Yep, that’s a tell-tale sign you’ve welcomed those fibbers in and allowed them to confiscate your thoughts, leaving no room for the Truth Teller.
How do I know this? Because I’ve done it. Many times. And if I’m not careful, I could do it again.
My broken elbow memory reminded me of how we must protect ourselves from the onslaught of lies we face daily. Just like my husband shielded me from people-words, we must choose to allow the Shield of the Word to protect us.
So what do we do? Well, we slink out of that old self and shimmy into the new one Jesus gave you.
We give up our old mindsets that allow lies to penetrate and control our thoughts, feelings and emotions. In their place, we receive the mind of Christ that gives us wisdom and discernment to weed through words and receive His truth.
In Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, He shares these instruction:
Be careful to maintain strenuously God’s point of view, it has to be done every day, bit by bit; don’t think on the finite. No outside power can touch the viewpoint.
God’s point of view. That’s what we must allow our mind to see. And know. And believe. Strenuously.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV).
If you’re like me, thoughts are constantly breaking line and demanding access into my spirit. So I say give God authority over your thoughts! Let Daddy God be your brain bouncer and deny access to those pretentious punks masquerading as truth!
Let’s no longer allow thought trespassers to hijack our beliefs. Allow Christ to stand at His post in the forefront of your mind while you hand off every entering thought to Him.
If people-words of doubt, insecurity or uncertainty in the form of a diagnosis, an opinion or a financial bottom line have settled in to your thoughts like a bad renter, boot ‘em out! Reestablish holy authority over your thoughts and begin a never-ending word exchange with the One whose Word speaks Truth straight into who you really are.
I leave you with this truth-word:
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32 NLT)