About 6 years ago I found myself really struggling to just keep my head above water. The workings of life gave me every reason to be happy, but I just wasn't! And I hadn't been for quite some time.
After being punched in the nose by the 2nd grade bully in 1987, my thoughts took a toxic path and made a mess of my perception of myself and others. By the time I was a senior in high school I was feeling pretty dark inside and wondering if anyone even cared I existed.
One night, after an especially hard dance at school, I called up a friend and told him I wasn't going to make it. He asked me "Who are you fighting?"
I listed off all the people who had made fun of me, teased me, mocked me, or just plain ignored me for the past 10 years. I was angry, hurt, and discouraged beyond what I thought I could handle.
After I had sufficiently cried myself into a headache, he finally said, "That's not who you are fighting. You are fighting Satan, and you are letting him win. He knows he won't tempt you to do drugs, be immoral, or even slough school. So he's going to get you another way, through your mind. And you are letting him win."
Now, them's fighting words.
There was no way I was going to sit back and play on the team of some who loses the fight in the end. I was angry. Angry at myself. But even more angry at Satan. From that day on, I realized that all the things people were saying to me were just his lies that he wanted me to believe.
I wrote down on note cards the phrase "Don't let him win!" I posted them all over the house, in my car, my saxophone case, my locker. Anywhere I could be reminded of who was trying to destroy me. And I used my anger and hurt to fight back against the real opponent. And I learned something very key.
It's not what people say to us that hurts us. It's what we say to ourselves after.
Satan plants a seed of doubt and we decide whether to let it grow.
That night, on the phone with my friend, was a turning point for me. The beginning of a 16 year journey to discover who I really am. Who God designed me to be. Who He believes that I am. Not what Satan wants me to believe.
It took me another 11 years of struggling, praying, and trying every solution under the sun to gain control over that mess in my head before I was led to an answer. And that answer came by way of learning how to control my thoughts, get my Spirit in charge, and learn to listen. To God. To what HE wants me to know.
And my life has changed dramatically. Is it easy? Nope. I still have my daily challenges to keep my head and heart in check. I still have many moments when I want to doubt my divine worth. Daily I face thoughts that want to destroy me. Lies. Lies that try to tell me that I am still nobody special.
And then...I tell myself. "Don't let him win."
And I am able to stop the negative cycle of toxic thoughts and get myself back in check with God.
It has taken me years of consistent and persistent work. And some days I wonder if it was really worth it.
And then, I gut check with myself, tune into my heart, and know.
Know that God needs me to be THIS person. God needs me to know what I know and help others with what He has taught me.
God needs me to shine my light so others can know that there is hope.
Hope to get out of the dark hole we often find ourselves in.
Hope that if you could get just a glimpse of light, you would see that leaning against the dark wall in your hole is a ladder. A ladder which leads to a happy, peace filled life. Where your Soul is in charge. Where God is guiding you. Where you are living as the person God designed you to be.
And it's a wonderful place.
It's time to get out of the dark hole. And you can do it.
And if YOU are the person God wanted me to reach with my book, then I thank you for asking Him for help. Because I have learned so much more than you will ever know by doing what God asked.
To find out more about the book visit www.jimmyandshelly.com/mymbook