The Dark Voice has been talking to me a lot lately. The Dark Voice is the name I have given to the voice inside me that has been telling me lies for most of my life, lies that I have so often believed. The Dark Voice tells me things like:
- You are worthless.
- You should have known better.
- People only like you because they don’t know you well enough.
- You have caused far more hurt than help in your life.
You know, fun stuff like that. He’s a part of me, so he has access to all of my memories, and all of my intellect, which means that he and I are very evenly matched; beating him in an argument is very difficult. Something I just realized right now is that he never seems to get tired, and that puts me at a great disadvantage. When I do get tired (and I am tired right now, partially thanks to a very busy week, with a funeral and Ash Wednesday on top of normal pastor busyness), he gets stronger. When I get stressed out, he gets stronger. When something happens that makes me feel guilty, he takes advantage of the situation. He’s always there, but lately he’s been very talkative.
And I’ve been listening. Some of the stuff I’ve been journaling about has been very strange and rather disturbing. I think I let him just take the pen for a while — I was too tired myself.
And it’s about time I stop listening. It’s about time I start talking back. So I’ve decided that my Lenten discipline this year will be to journal, hopefully every day. And in that journaling, I will talk back to him. I will respond to the lies he’s told me during that day, and tell him why he’s full of crap.
I’m not planning to blog these discussions, although I might blog some version of it. Either way, I’m taking a break from the “Number Blogging” for a while. Hopefully at some point in the future, I’ll come back to it. It was fun for a while, wasn’t it? When you least expect it, #58 will arrive. But for now, it’s time to spend the season of Lent wrestling with a demon.
By the way, I think I’ve mentioned this before, but in case I haven’t (or you missed it): when I talk about “hearing voices,” it’s not schizophrenia or anything like that. I don’t literally hear voices. It’s more a way of describing my own internal monologue. Maybe we all have conversations in our own heads; maybe we all have negative self-talk sometimes. Mine gets vicious, nasty, downright evil. I have found it helpful to think of the negative self-talk as a separate voice, a Dark Voice; and I call it a “demon” in the vernacular sense of that word, that “we all have our demons.” He will never leave; I just have to learn to live with him.
So that’s where I am right now. Any Lent plans for any of you?
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2 thoughts on “Lent with the Dark Voice”
Mike – I know you struggle but I can tell you that you hold a very special place in my heart. When Jack died you were there. You didn’t presume anything. You asked if you could read scripture and you picked the perfect passages. I didn’t know how to feel. Glad that he was free of pain. So sad for myself no matter how selfish that was. But the scripture YOU chose helped. I am so thankful you were there. You do so much more good than you could ever imagine and I thank you from the bottom of my heart and yes 13 years later —- I think of everything you did for me during this difficult time. Thank you.
Thank you so much for saying that. I have never forgotten that moment. It was one of the holiest times of my life. I didn’t think I was much help…but I’m very glad that I was.