The Battle Inside Each One of Us
There is a war going on for the souls of men. The battle is fierce and the casualties are high. The enemy is cunning, and the fiery darts of the adversary come at us from places where we least expect them. Many suffer from wounds that are deep, and don't know where to turn for the balm that will heal their suffering souls.
This battle is not being waged in the fields and streets, where blood is spilled by bullets, swords, and grenades. Rather, it is the battle each of us fight within our minds and hearts. The weapons are words and they are coming at us from everywhere. Our only defense is the shield we create within our own selves that allows us to process the information we receive and keep it from wounding our precious hearts.
Should we fail in our mission, the deadly dragons of depression, rage, anxiety, guilt, and other negative self-esteems will take over our lives, and we will become just another statistic that graces the annuls of history. These dragons are big enough to swallow us whole, and the fire they breathe sears our souls, stealing from us our very sense of worth.
The world can at times be a frightening place in which to live. The moral fabric of society seems to be unraveling at an alarming speed. None—whether young or old or in-between—is exempt from exposure to those things which have the potential to drag us down and destroy us.— Thomas S. Monson
Words feed the soul. From the time we enter this cold, cruel world to the last breath we take, it is words that come from the mouths of our loved ones that create within us the desire to do and become.
The sweet lullaby from a mother soothes us to restful slumber as we are rocked in her arms. The encouragement of a father when we take our first steps keeps our hands outstretched, waiting and hoping to be encircled in his fond embrace. The whispers of romance caressing our hearts from the lips of our beloved brings us peace and happiness, in spite of the troublesome circumstances that surround us.
Words are the stuff of which our thoughts are made. They are the product of our past experiences with those in our world. If the words we heard as children were spoken with kindness and love, most likely, our thoughts will mirror them. If we heard harsh criticism and condemnation, our inner voice will rail us with accusations, belittling our every action.
Self-talk is a large part of our emotional health. Our modus operendi or our default thought patterns become the very desires of our hearts. The war waged within us determines whether we will become what we are capable of according to our divine heritage as God's children, or succumb to the cacophony of a fallen world, steeped in misery and endless woe!
According to Lissa Rankin, MD, in her book, The Fear Cure, we all have dual selves. We have our "Small Self" and our "Inner Pilot Light." She notes that our Small Self is prone to fear, anxiety, and negative emotions, as it focuses on reality, as well as our physical, mental, and intellectual limitations. In contrast, our Inner Pilot Light sees from the more idealistic perspective of what we can become if we rely on our intuition, our strengths, and our positive attitude.
Our Small Self tends to be afraid, filled with doubt and uncertainty, and tells us that we are not good enough or don't have what it takes to be successful. In order for us to overcome these feelings, we concentrate on helping our Inner Pilot Light give our Small Self encouragement, strengthening resolve, and providing incentive to move forward. The table below shows this contrast.
Inner Pilot Light
The problem occurs when our Inner Pilot Light is drowned out by negative scripts from our past experience. Rather than giving us the love and encouragement we need, we are pelted with derogatory remarks that drag us down. Like a hailstorm of negativity, it beats us to the ground, robbing our tender souls of the life-giving unconditional love we need for our growth and development.
In order to change this negative self-talk, we have to recognize what is happening. We look for the following irrational thought patterns: criticism, assumptions, exaggeration, doubt, fault-finding, expectations, perfectionism, and complaining.
Our ability to deflect the fiery darts of these thought patterns and keep them from penetrating our inner feelings of self-worth comes from connecting to our power source. Once we realize that we are the literal offspring of a Heavenly Father who loves us and will give to us in our time of need, we build a shield around our inner core of self-worth.
Our identity is protected from the howling winds of circumstantial change when it is built on the unconditional love of God. It is the only sure foundation available to us. Building our identity on what we do, where we fit in, or how we feel is like building a foundation on sand. These things are transient and do not provide us with any kind of stability.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.— Ephesians 6:13-16
What thought patterns give you the most difficulty?
Once we connect to our power source, our bodies are infused with strength. We see the irrational thought patterns for what they are, lies meant to destroy our peace and happiness. We recognize them and refute them with truths that we feel and know in our hearts.
We are able to break off the shackles of pain and misery, and go forward with our heads held high. The dragons fall by the wayside. We are no longer susceptible to the fiery darts they send our way. Our personal power is strengthened with each choice we make for the good.
Unfortunately, life happens. For one reason or another, we are knocked down. Our shield looses its power, and the dragons once again come out of their lairs. Time and again, it is necessary to rally our strength, rekindle our faith, and take once again our sword and our shield in the defense of our souls.
We cannot be lax in this effort. There is no end to the wiles of the adversary. He attacks when we least expect it, when we are in a weakened state and our guard is down. We cannot afford to set aside our faith, even for a moment. Time is of the essence, and our souls are at stake.
If we are not careful, we become our own worst enemy. The thought patterns we allow to mingle in our minds and hearts determine what we become in the end. They feed our desires, feelings, and actions. Every effort we make to keep our focus turned up strengthens the armor that protects us.
© 2015 Denise W Anderson