I read a book lately... The author talked about soul bullies. I've known about the soul bullies for years. Mom and I just call them the voices.
Like, "Did you sleep OK?"
"No the voices were really loud."
Or, "You'll be OK. It's just the voices. Don't listen to them."
But soul bullies. What a good name! It makes me think of that red emoji with the wicked-looking beard and horns. Then white arms and legs like are on the m&m bag... The arms, of course, are for choking your throat, tapping you on the shoulder, or for when hundreds of the soul bullies swarm you in the night... Little hands pinching, prodding, pointing at you with their derisive smirks. Yes the soul bullies love the night.
One of their favorite questions (they love haunting little questions), "How dare you?"
"How dare you look in the mirror and think that new dress brings out the color of your eyes? How dare you talk in Sunday school or volunteer for a song in church? How dare you offer your talents to the world? How dare you say you love teaching school and are inspired with it? How dare you pursue that one thing that lights a spark in your soul? WHO do you think you ARE? Who. Do. You. Think. You. Are. Do you really think you could train a horse, write a book, or anything else remotely out of the ordinary? Who do you think you are that God should give you gifts... A secure, happy home and family... The gift of loving and being loved... Really? How dare you?"
You get a compliment. Soul bullies flock to the scene. "They don't know you! Good teacher? Ha! They should see what happens when the door is closed. They don't know how many times you've been late, how many times you've skipped having people correct work because it's just. Too. Much. Work. To keep erasing and explaining. They don't know when you overlook sloppy writing or don't go out for recess with the kids. They don't know you. No one knows what a wretch you actually are. They wouldn't like or appreciate you if they knew you."
You make a mistake. The soul bullies cackle. They tell you that you are defined by your mistakes. So you eat Resses and drink coffee while playing candy crush after school? "You are a sickeningly unself-denied pig. You are drowning your bad day in technology and food addictions." Late for church? "You are a lazy and inconsiderate slob." Obsess about your problems? "You are a discontented and unthankful person." Thoughts racing from hither to yon? "You are so mentally unstable?"
And then their punch line... "You will always be this way. You will always be scatterbrained and lose your keys and phone. You will always be a people pleaser and not say no. You will live most of your life on a emotional roller-coaster because that who you are. Don't you wish you were someone else? Ha. I bet you do but you're stuck where you are. Sorry!"
And where is God, the Creator of our souls, the one who brought us into the world for a reason? Blame and shame are not his game. He draws us away from failure instead of driving us by shame and self-loathing. He is ready to pull loose the skinny white arms of the soul bullies that attach themselves to our throats and throw them far away. Let him do it and just enjoy the peace that the soul bullies have been keeping you from experiencing.