Good ol’ Halloween!
When people dress up for mischievous, mayhem and other shenanigans.
Seeing the latest costumes (I haven’t picked mine yet) and yard ornaments, I see manufacturers have really upped the gore game. More macabre than ever before. The obvious ghouls and goblins are so easy to avoid. But what about those seemingly innocuous monsters??
You know. Things like pain and grief, failure, unforgiveness, betrayal. What about those monsters called addiction, depression, shame, isolation, despair?
I’ve recently had to renew my massage license. Part of the requirements to do so is 24 hours of continuing education every two years. One of my classes was The Mind/Body Connection: Deep Feeling, Deep Healing; Mind/Body Wisdom for Bodyworkers. The premise is that the author, Andy Bernay-Roman, recognizes that past pain that has been repressed (consciously or subconsciously) manifests in the body in other ways. In order to heal or move forward, the body and soul has to FEEL that pain and work through it. “The ignored heart remains at the core of disease and the reclaimed heart remains at the core of healing,” Bernay-Roman says. “Suffering is the result of not feeling...Funny how allowing oneself to feel pain halts suffering.” He adds that we have within us all that we need to move past our monsters.
When I think about Christ, I often think of how He would go away for periods of time. He removed Himself from distraction in order to get close to His Father and find clarity and healing. I don’t know about you, but while this idea is so very appealing to me, it feels nearly impossible. My daily schedule seems PACKED! Between myself, my husband and our boys, how in the world do I have time to get away? Our society has become a go fast society and often the busier we are, the better. How many times do we stay busy in an effort to avoid difficulties?
But perhaps the question should be how do we not MAKE time for solitude to happen?
In the Bible we are told the importance of protecting ourselves: Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23
While we immerse ourselves in distractions (busyness, TV, work, social media, etc.) and numb ourselves from pain (shopping, eating, alcohol, etc.), we don’t seem to be taking very good care of ourselves. We certainly don’t seem to be guarding our hearts in order to fulfill what God designed for us.
Think about it for a moment. I’m as guilty as anyone of believing issues will just go away. Out of sight, out of mind, right? But in my CE class Bernay-Roman said, “When pain is repressed, it doesn’t just go away, it goes in.” In addition, he states “how paradoxical that the path of feeling one’s pain leads to the healing of the suffering heart.”
With this, it’s important to remember God is always with us. The Bible tells us 365 times to not be afraid. Don’t be afraid. Just have faith. Mark 5:36
God is greater than our feelings, and He knows everything. 1 John 3:20
In addition to my massage CEs, I’m also really learning the importance of being intentional in my walk with God. I’ve always heard that God tells us everything we need in the Bible. But through my reading and spiritual growth, I’m finally at a point that my experience is showing this is true.
In Ephesians 6, Paul tells us about the whole armor of God. He said putting it on allows us to stand firm against the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Ephesians 6:12-13
Both the apostle Paul and Bernay-Ramsey remind us that we have to be intentional when fighting the monsters in our lives. Preparing for and feeling them is the best way to guard our hearts so that we can live through our suffering. We prepare by growing our relationship with God and we get through them by feeling and facing them.
When we do this, then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
So, this Halloween, remember monsters won’t always come out where we can see them. Often, they lurk in the dark, within the deep recesses of our minds, souls and hearts. Don’t be afraid, God will give us all we need.
Oh! And I finally figured out my Halloween costume – gotta go put on the whole armor of God!
Peace and love,