This post is a continuation of a series I started last year where I review old posts and see if my thoughts have changed or if I have actually changed since my revelations. My original “Medusa” post came from February of 2019, when I was just beginning to understand how negative and toxic I had allowed my thoughts to get and how they were literally changing the way I behaved. In some ways, I was operating in fear and defensiveness for battles that no longer existed that I quite literally didn’t know I was preparing myself for all the time. Let me tell you, if I had a friend speak to me the way I was speaking to myself, I would have cut them out of my life in a heartbeat but I had grown so used to these toxic thoughts that I truly believed what I was saying and didn’t view them as toxic at all but logical. Crazy, huh?
Strangely, some of the most freeing and fun moments of my life have been while I was dancing, whether that was on stage, on the football field or in that one ballroom dancing class I took in college. I would practice and practice until every step was muscle memory. I could literally feel the counts in my soul because I had done them so often. Then when the music would start I would float across the floor lost in the melody without a thought to what came next because it was second nature. No thinking or worrying about the next movement because I knew I knew, you know? In fact, there are a few routines that I could probably still do a couple of eight counts to because they are so ingrained. That’s how thoughts work as well and it took me the last two years to truly understand that concept and to accept that in many ways I had been lied to by me.
See, in 2019 I became incredibly aware that my thoughts were poisoned and fearful but realizing that doesn’t mean you just stop behaving that way. Have you ever tried to give up looking on social media for a day only to find your hand grab for your phone instinctively? Or driven home from work and not remember a bit of the drive? Muscle memory works physically and mentally. What I came to understand is that I had to intentionally work to untrain those gut negative reactions I was having and that can be exhausting but just like undoing a bad habit or losing weight, with little steps it can be done.
I remember the first time I realized my gut reaction to an unknown situation wasn’t self-deprecating or anxiety filled but rather excited and optimistic. I couldn’t believe it and I literally had a “Good girl!” conversation with myself. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t choosing to look at life through rose tinted glasses but rather not allowing YOU to be your own worst enemy. And much like my health journey, it’s something I will always have to consider and be intentional about because those thoughts will always be the buttons Satan tries to poke.
Even if you don’t think you are a harsh critic of yourself, I want you to take a couple of days to process the thoughts that go through your mind in a given day. Are they feeding you truth or lies? Are you as gracious to yourself as you are to your friends? Do you allow others' skewed criticisms to plant roots in your thoughts? And most importantly, do your thoughts line up with the truth of who God says you are? Just because someone believes something about you doesn’t make it true. In fact, just because YOU believe something about you doesn’t make it true either. It reminds me of a beautiful moment in "Wicked" when Elphie and Glinda are sharing "secrets" and Elphie admits that she believes it's her fault that several terrible things happened to her family and it's why they hate her. Glinda, in an unexpected moment of wisdom, says, "That may be your secret but it doesn't make it true" and that concept really resonated with me the first time I heard it. Who knew that we could be hiding secrets in our hearts that simply weren't true. Lying to yourself seems stupid because you know your heart right? (Not according to Jeremiah 17:9.)
So as we continue on in 2021, let’s intentionally work to make the world a little more positive from the inside out. Remember, you don't have to believe everything you think or everything you are told. And for those wondering about the outcome of my original blog challenge… yes, my friends took my offer to heart and have truly held me accountable and pushed me out of my comfort zone for the last few years and guess what? I’ve not met one Medusa or turned to stone!