(Photo/Artwork Credit: Jordan Chastain)
“Lie awake in bed at night
And think about your life
Do you want to be different?
Try to let go of the truth
The battles of your youth
‘Cause this is just a game
It’s a beautiful lie
It’s the perfect denial
Such a beautiful lie to believe in
So beautiful, beautiful it makes me”
30 Seconds To Mars, “A Beautiful Lie”
We all are haunted by the battles of our youth, in all our broken hearts and broken dreams. Maybe you’re haunted by abuse you suffered when you were young. It might be your battle with depression, anxiety, or addiction that haunts you in your dreams. Maybe you’ve lost those you hold dear, haunted by their memory.
Like darkened rooms in an abandoned house, our thoughts are often haunted by the ghosts of the past, echoing lies that lead only towards decay rather than life.
My wife and I have a friend named Jordan whose story probably resonates with many broken hearts. She’s honest, authentic, and a broken soul haunted by a broken past. Furthermore, she’s an incredible artist, designing the photo for this post.
Jordan has been through many difficult experiences, from her Mother’s drug addiction to her struggle with self-harm. When she was a little girl, she had a regular tradition of waiting for her father to return home from work, standing in the hallway by his old work boots. One day, he never returned…She stood there, by her Daddy’s boots, only to feel the stab of rejection from the most important man in her life…When we recently talked, she told me that she often feels haunted by that memory, as if she is still that little girl waiting for her Daddy to come home. It simply continues to reverberate through her memories, as a ghost haunting her childhood.
We all, in one way or another, are haunted by the brokenness and scars from our past. And yet, we must choose not to exist in the haunted remains, constantly suffering from the pain of a former time. The answers aren’t easy, nor are there always simple steps to healing, but the scars do not have the right to define us.
Much of my own life has been consumed with fear, haunting my past, my present, and my dreams for the future. And yet, through it all, I have gained absolutely nothing but heartache living in that haunted space. Each day, I must deliberately choose healing, pressing through the pain and towards life.
What haunts you in the silence, in your dreams, and in the darkness of your deepest thoughts?
I’m not saying that scars won’t remain from our wounds, especially the ones that cut deep. And yet, we have a choice between healing and self-destruction each breath we take. Maybe healing looks like professional counseling. Maybe it’s forgiveness for the person who left you broken and shattered. Maybe it’s forgiveness for yourself for failing at your dreams. Whatever healing may look like for your life, I can honestly tell you that hope is always there, reminding us that we must fight for our lives.
“Your battles inspired me – not the obvious material battles but those that were fought and won behind your forehead.” – James Joyce
Tim Howard is a follower of Jesus, as well as the goalkeeper for the USA men’s national soccer team and Everton in the Barclays Premier League in England. He has been one of the most successful American soccer players in history, electrifying millions with his heroics in the 2014 World Cup.
Tim Howard also suffers from Tourette Syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
For those unacquainted with Tourette Syndrome, Wikipedia defines it as “an inherited neuropsychiatric disorder with onset in childhood, characterized by multiple physical (motor) tics and at least one vocal (phonic) tic.” – wikipedia.com (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourette_syndrome).
Tim Howard is one of my heroes, not simply because he is a phenomenal athlete, but also because he has overcome so many odds, showing that hope is possible even within the wounds that have haunted him for most of his life. The ghosts of our past may haunt us periodically, reminding us of darkened days, but we can always choose the path of healing. Tim Howard is my reminder that better things are on their way.
Have you suffered great pain, loss, and failure in your life? Seek help and healing. You’re alive, you’re breathing, and you are invited to create a better future within the choices of your life.
There are no shadows absent of light, for without it, darkness could not be measured. In the lonely nights, never stop seeking the sunrise.