I walked in the door from work and immediately sent a text to my husband: “I received my demotion today.” The big sigh at the end of the sentence was, I assumed, implied. His response was kind but unsurprised: “And how do you feel about that?” Terrible! Horrible! Just really, really awful! I opted for a less melodramatic but still honest response, “It’s harder than I thought it would be.”
The truth is, we knew this was coming. In fact, we’d been waiting for it. My boss and I had been having endless conversations about my role over the past several months. I had been operating at a high level in the organization with more responsibility than I ever envisioned I’d have. I was experiencing an incredible amount of growth and yet the weight of the work was heavy on me. My boss and I had agreed that we wanted to get me into a position where I could operate out of my gifts, and we were all looking forward to making that happen.
Then, on this day, it happened. The theoretical became real—we found an incredible person to step into my role and, in what felt like a moment, so many things that had been difficult or unpleasant about my job were taken off my plate. This was the dream! So why did it feel so defeating?
It didn’t matter that I wanted this career shift to happen, it still seemed just a little bit personal. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I simply wasn’t good enough for the position I had held. There was a very logical place within me that knew I absolutely wanted the new position that allowed me to use my strengths without so much of my time being spent on duties that were so challenging and unfulfilling to me. The illogical, however, was louder and more convincing. I failed, I’m not good enough, I should have done better. And, in fact, I can’t actually do anything well at all. The illogical is not only loud, she works quick, too.
I hardly slept at all that night, wide awake with a sense of torment at how this “failure” was only the beginning of my assured demise. Tears soaked my cheeks as a narrative of my unworthiness continued to take shape. I was so deep in my sorrow that I couldn’t find my right mind to realize that I wasn’t just soaking in my tears while tossing and turning on the couch all night; I was actually in the middle of the battlefield.
Life and death are not exclusively defined by breath or a heartbeat. There are words and thoughts that bring life, just as the same can bring death.
It may not be literal life or death, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful. That night, when I laid on my couch in a sea of tears at 3am, death was invading. Ugly lies about my lack of worth and ability were so deafening and convincing that their legitimacy wasn’t a question.
Part of my life support these days is the community of people I am surrounded by; people who recognize that places like our offices and living room couches are all fair game for a battle—the invisible but very real kind of battle, where evil persists and its lies dress up as logic. My people fight with me and for me, reminding me that I am worthy and able (and not even because I can accomplish any number of tasks within or outside of my gifts).
Evil is real and it doesn’t hesitate to make things personal. If a message we hear, in or outside of our head, does not bring life, it is ushering in death. Much of my work these days is dispelling the lies I so easily believed before I recognized how much of life is a battlefield (and gaining the community to keep that perspective). What lies dressed as logic have you allowed to take up residence in your heart? Let’s do the work to fight the lies. After all, life is far too short to live with so much death.
Mallory Redmond embraces anomalies–she is an adventure-loving homebody who keeps a clean house yet always makes a mess while eating or brushing her teeth. She loves dry humor, clean sheets, and gathering around the table with friends. Mallory and her husband, Darren, live in Ohio with their beagle, Roger, and daughter, Evelyn. You can follow her writing here, where her stories are told with the hope of further uncovering the places of connection in our humanity.