“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” Matthew 5:15-16 NIV
C.S. Lewis, the author of a Grief Observed, did not doubt the existence of God but started to believe the wrong things about God. A toxic God. Condemning God. Did we get this toxic belief perhaps from our home? Church? School?
Stories. I did this too, after the death of my husband from Lewy Body Dementia. It was incredible the stories I told myself during grief, especially about the nature of God. I think everyone who grieves thinks, “How could God do this to me?” “How could God take this person?” “Why did God allow this to happen?” Common stories of the Black Sheep too. Grief is involved. I was no light of the world. More like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. And destructive behavior to prove it!
Then I remembered this in John 14:30, “I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me.” Who is the ruler of this world? Satan. And he tells me false stories about God, about others and about myself. However, he has no hold or power over Jesus, which means he has no power, true power, over me. Hope. Transformation.
Stories. We Black Sheep have been told false stories about ourselves since we were tots and it’s time to reject them with God’s help. Can you relate? “You’re a failure.” Find a time when you succeeded. I won a prize in the eighth grade for a short story. I was a very good skater. “You’re the reason for the problems in this family!” I told stories to my sisters at night. I bought a little Christmas tree for our bedroom. “You’re stupid!” I shared this with my high school counselor. She told me my IQ. It was quite high. “You’re ugly!” I wore the most despicable glasses in school. I cried nightly over this. “You’re fat!” You’re… fill in the blank. All lies. From the Father of Lies. The true Father considers the heart.
The hardest thing to do is to quit telling yourself these stories, participating in this brainwashing. I find it helpful to use the Serenity Prayer. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This won’t happen overnight but it’s helpful first thing in the morning and last thing at night to ask our Father to show us the real story. He shows us what we can change. He cleans out our Black Sheep closet.
How might I shine for him? What are my qualities that make a difference? Ask for help from someone you trust and knows you. If no one, ask God to bring you this person.
Sometimes it’s pure heartache as God reveals the untruths said about you. That heartache is healing. Let it make space for the good to come. It will come.
Thank you, Father, that you made me and I have a purpose for you and for me. Please remove my Black Sheepness with ‘courage to change the things I can.’ Show me in your Word, through others and prayer/meditation, new stories. Victorious stories. Help me to be transformed.
Whenever I hear compliments or encouragements, please do not let me say, “yes, but…” Help me to take in my good. Your good. Help me to help another Black Sheep. Help me to build new stories in my heart and soul.