With the stress of holidays, end of the year reflections, as well as attempting and struggling to start the new year off on the right foot— there is one word that encapsulates it all: Chaos.
Lately, life has felt like nothing but chaos. My mind races frantically at one million miles per second trying to calculate all that must be completed and hasn’t been. Even at night with eyes closed, these thoughts cause me to feel like I’m drowning in darkness. With all that must be done, I find that my typical reaction is to first, decide I will do this daunting task, try for a minute and then give up completely. I lay it down feeling as though it will be too difficult to accomplish. I say to myself, “I thought I could, but this is too much.” Then without warning, a giant rises up out of the chaos to tell me exactly what I am: A failure. Not good enough. A mess. For a moment, I believe it. And in that place of belief, I choose to give up completely and retreat to a place of hiding.
I remember that a friend once told me, “You know, sometimes our biggest obstacles are ourselves.” Lately I have experienced this as I struggle to face this giant that tells me I am a mess and a failure. The more I hear this taunting voice, I realize that the enemy is actually a product of myself.
The giant is an accumulation of years of negative-self talk that I never once checked with the truth of God.
For years I have looked at my mistakes and failures and figured, “I am a failure.” I have compared myself to my friends on social media and thought, “They are doing far better than me. I’m nothing next to them.” I have become aware of my inability to complete both large and minuscule tasks on time and have told myself, “It will always be this way.” Every thought I’ve declared in my mind has fed the giant of my own negative self-talk to grow into a monster that seems impossible to fight. That giant is a reflection of myself— a mess that I have allowed.
In 1 Samuel 17, Goliath stands and shouts at the Israelites calling them mere servants of Saul, thus reducing them to identities of insignificance and weakness. In the same way, I have given permission to my own giant of continued self-deprecation to stand before me and shout out all my areas of weakness. When Goliath taunts the Israelites, it says that “Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.” In the same way, when I hear the words in my mind shout that I am a failure or that I will always fail, I fall into a deep frenzy of fear and depression. Then, I completely refuse to stand up against the task at hand.
And the truth is that the people of Israel were servants of Saul. Goliath’s words were not a lie. This reality reflected back onto the Israelites and I imagine they must have thought to themselves,” This Philistine is speaking the truth about us. We are mere servants. What then can we do?” Yet in contrast, David stood against the giant and and declared, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you defied.”
The rest is history. David defeats the giant.
I’ve learned that in my worst times of failure where I actually ruined a situation, dropped the ball on jobs that were mine to complete, or times in life when I’ve made goals and did nothing to achieve them— the thoughts that I think about myself are like sword and spear and javelin. Every time I think even briefly that I am a failure or that I will never amount to anything, I become a little more wounded. In response I retreat deeper into myself and cower at the giant God has called me to defeat.
But I believe the biggest piece of wisdom I’ve learned so far is this: God’s truth will always supersede facts.
Meaning this: I may in fact be in a state of chaos, but God has called me to Himself and declares that I am secure in Him. I may in fact have failed, but God still calls me a conqueror. I may be a mess in my insecurities, but if the God of peace lives in me, then there is peace within me that I can grab hold of until it’s completely manifested in who I am. Even when I feel I cannot do anything to conquer what stands before me, God tells me that I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
Yesterday, I told God that I could not overcome my feelings and He said, “My child, do not give the enemy credit for what I have already given you the power to overcome.”
Now because of His truth, I can have confidence in that no matter what “fact about who I am” is thrown at me, it is okay because God’s word will always supersede it. I am not who I think I am or what someone says I am. I am God’s, and that is enough.
About The Author: Sarah Michelle Cruz
Sarah Michelle Cruz is a Whitworth University graduate and studied psychology and English Writing. Her heart beats for creating music and telling stories, while giving a voice to the voiceless. She currently serves with The Collide team and is completing her first fantasy novel and while also studying to be in full-time ministry. She has a call to missions and has been to Hong Kong, Colombia, Brazil, and the Philippines to serve and is currently preparing for Africa. She lives for the prayer, "Here I am, Lord, Send Me..." whether that is here or abroad, she will follow His call.