In times of stress, I used to run away from reality, to a place in my mind where a certain imaginary person lived. This imaginary person was smart and pretty and talented, the kind of woman I wanted to be. She had exciting adventures and the freedom and self-confidence to come and go as she pleased. She was a version of “me” that I had created as an escape from my fears and troubles.
The problem with this woman, though, was that she was never the hero but always a victim. Whenever I visited her in my mind, she suffered some terrible physical trauma, a different pain-filled scenario each time. How strange that this person would get hurt over and over again, never finding peace and rest. She was my creation, but I had made her vulnerable and victimized rather than strong and victorious. Why would I continually run to this person and dwell on hurtful things? Was this “me” the embodiment of how I pictured myself, as a woman who deserved evil instead of good?
Before I started counseling, during my most depressing days, I often longed to go to bed early or to stretch out on the couch just so that I could go to the place in my mind where I could find this woman, this woman who was so real to me. With counseling, though, I retreated to this place in my mind less and less, almost to the point of forgetfulness. I no longer needed this place, so it was no longer real to me.
Then one day something happened to upset me, and in reaction I fled to this place and this person in my mind. And it was almost as if I were seeing them for the first time. I had forgotten about them, but here I was returning to them in my time of despair. What a shock! I knew that this was not what I wanted in my life. I was alarmed to think that what I had been experiencing might not even be normal. I was so confused.
Then God in His awesomeness gave me a clear picture of my predicament. He used one of my favorite movies, The Two Towers from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the character Sméagol/Gollum to illustrate what had been going on in my life. As Sméagol/Gollum waged war with himself, battling to determine whether the good personality or the evil personality would prevail, I recognized that the same sort of battle had been going on inside of me for years. It was a vivid image. In one scene, “good” Sméagol triumphed over his bitter nemesis, and his freedom was joyous. But in a later scene, when Sméagol/Gollum perceived that he had been hurt by a friend, the “evil” Gollum supplanted tender Sméagol. According to Gollum, he—and not Sméagol—had been right all along.
That had happened to me! I had been doing so well with counseling, having victories left and right until—Bam!—a bump in the road. I had experienced an emotional trauma, and I had gone running back to that other “me” in my mind. I had gone running back to bondage and hurt, where there was no peace and no rest. Why would I do that? Perhaps I did it because it was what I had always done. But finally, I saw that this was not good and not right for my life. But what was I to do? Oh, God, help me!
Once again God came to my rescue. He spoke to me through the words of a song on the radio. The song talked about how the very air I breathe is what it feels like to have God’s presence living inside of me, and how desperate and lost I would be without this presence. I realized that the other “me” was not who really lived inside of me.
Now, the other, very real person living in my life is the Holy Spirit, and He wants only good things for me. And I am lost without Him. Now, when bad things happen, I can run to Him.
How about you? People have hurt us and violated our lives, but we can run to the One Who loves us so much. Let’s do that today. Come with me. Let us find rest and peace in Him alone.
2 Corinthians 3:17 says it best: “Now the LORD is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom)” (Amplified). Only after we realize and believe that the Spirit is within us will we be truly free. Then, our freedom will be joyous!
Blessings – Lisa