I am apprehensive to mention something so incredibly present day. Should I refer to something that is so current that years from now when my children are bored and have nothing else to read besides the words their mama needed to get out of her soul will they instead be completely confused because they have zero point of reference? I compare it to the sitcoms I love but know would make me laugh harder if I had any clue of the who or what they were speaking about. However, a line spoken made me think and while the person it came from will doubtfully be remembered 50 years past unlike other memorable characters, the thoughts he brought can be remembered even if the source never will.
Recently I saw a movie. It was not the epic, twenty years in the making, block buster we just got home from, instead it's another current favorite, the fourth part of a trilogy (yeah, it makes little sense but that's the trend nowadays) featuring a courageous woman, two men who love her, and thousands who will follow her anywhere. One of the men is damaged, brainwashed by evil, and struggling to make sense of what should be a world and people he understands. Unable to discern correctly what is going on around him he is constantly bouncing back and forth within his mind of who the real enemy is and causing grave damage to people he should be trusting. There comes a pivotal moment of complete brokenness and transparency when he shares this struggle with those around him. In this moment a friend extends a piece of advice, when encountered by a dark thought don't give into it, instead ask the question "is it real?"
I remembered this line from the book, and was anxiously awaiting it sitting besides my sister-in-law in the theater. The emotion it was delivered with far surpassed the emotion I had constructed while reading, and my imagination flies. In that exchange of words was an outstretched hand that produced peace. A moment of healing. A moment that began a road to redemption of a heart that was still buried inside. A moment where words were uttered that give us aid in our own times of battle and doubt.
Just like this fictional boy in his fictional mind, we are encountered with dark thoughts that lie to us and try to convince us of things that are not. In these moments we are forced to try to make sense of the swirling contradictions within our minds.
I, with very little effort, can invent grand schemes in my head. If Zach is late obviously there's been a tragic car accident. If one of the boys sleeps later than usual I am tempted to go check their breathing. If a friend has to cancel plans or doesn't call me back part of me wonders if I did something wrong. The suggestions come full force at times but usually slowly and secretly and systematically as if on a calendar. Lies are whispered in my ear, past hurts are brought glaringly back to the surface, and roadblocks are put up at methodical precision. I can not begin to count the number of times I have found myself falling into a pit of desperation at the fear that I am not truly loved, that the people in my life need me more than they actually want me, and that I am quite possibly superfluous.
Like all of us who struggle with something, I would just convince myself that I was alone in my thoughts, or crazy or just hypersensitive and needed to buck up. Lie upon lie upon lie. But then comes that milestone day, that day that we can mark in a calendar as the day that we become brave enough to speak our thoughts out loud or God grants us the ability to hear someone else's brave confessions and in seconds peace is felt. Thankfully I am loved beyond measure, even when I've convinced myself otherwise, and I was able to hear the honest words of another person as he shared his ability to convince himself that he too means nothing, was nothing and there, in fact I felt peace. It was not because I was miraculously healed of all doubts ready to only hold myself in the highest regard, It was simply that I finally understood that while there may be some sin of mine behind the doubt, because all our actions and thoughts are riddled with it, the words inducing my conflict, like his, were not real, they were not from Truth. It merely, and sadly, comes from walking in this broken world. This world full of false images, false situations, false struggles hidden behind false smiles.
I'm not saying the answer to the question is it real? will never be yes. But until you stop and search your heart, until you stop letting the words you feel consume you and start asking questions in return, until you take that moment to say out loud the words swimming in your head causing destruction to yourself for sure and to the others around you as well, you will be stuck in a place that God does not desire you to be, a place that is the opposite of abiding in the protective wings of a Savior. Our minds can wander of our own inclination, and our minds can be twisted through the plans of another, but a mind steadfast on God will be in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). So like my sweet Connor who during a bad dream hides under his blanket saying over and over it's not real, I will lift my voice to others asking for Truth and resting in Truth and giving the same in return, those first words of Hope that come from resting in the only One who is indeed always real.