There’s this game that I’ve seen people play growing up called Mercy. Basically, the point is to restrict the other person and cause them enough pain to make them say the word ‘mercy.’ Once the word is said, the pain stops. This game is so interesting because the person who appears powerless actually holds all the power. By speaking just one simple word, they control the other person. But of course, no one wants to be the one saying ‘mercy.’ It’s about pride.
Silence is key.
Silence is a tactic of the enemy. The devil tries to convince us that our fears, worries, and concerns shouldn’t be spoken aloud and that if other people knew these things, they would see us differently. He spits his lies at us, trying to convince us we’re less than we are. He disguises his voice as our own and makes us think it’s all our fault.
This fear is crippling. It’s what keeps addicts from admitting they need help, keeps people battling depression from seeking counseling, and keeps the lonely and broken from admitting we need Christ.
We make up all kinds of excuses for ourselves for holding in our feelings. What often holds me back is believing that my feelings are irrational. I see it as I shouldn’t be feeling this emotion; this isn’t a valid reason to be upset, so I’m just going to keep it to myself.
That’s a lie.
You know what makes an emotion valid? You are experiencing it. That’s it. It doesn’t matter what we’re scared of or upset about or what made us tick that day. Yes, we have the responsibility to not be enslaved to our emotions, but we have no reason to be ashamed of what we feel. Women are particularly attacked by the devil in this way and are often convinced that our emotions are something negative and broken about us.
What the devil wants most is for us to remain quiet and to keep the struggle to ourselves. The moment we come up for air and say ‘mercy,’ it’s over. But this time, we win. Speaking these struggles is what brings peace, healing, and truth to our lives.
When we’re tempted, feeling weak, struggling in prayer, doubting God or ourselves, or dealing with any other struggle we’re facing in our lives, the devil will tell us to remain silent.
He will tell us we’ll lose our job if we reveal our doubts, we’ll lose our friends if we voice our concerns, or we’ll lose the love of God if we tell Him our true feelings. He will try at all costs to keep us from speaking because when his schemes are spoken aloud, he no longer has any power over us. He must run and hide because he knows his plans have failed. It is speaking our fears aloud that frees us from the bondage of the devil.
This act of sharing our fears is an act of love. Love is sharing these vulnerabilities with others. Without sharing these things that scare us, we’re really not loving. This is true for dating relationships as well as all other relationships in our lives. If we’re not vulnerable in sharing our hearts and the things that bother us from time to time in our friendships and with those we interact with day to day, those relationships will become strained and eventually die.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Sharing ourselves is love. If we keep our fears and concerns to ourselves, we are doing the devil’s work for him. Share your heart, with those you love and with our God in Heaven who is just waiting for you to speak.