Hello everyone and welcome to Part 2!
You are probably looking at this title and thinking to yourself, “What is she talking about? What is a city in our head and what does this have to do with names?” I will explain in detail exactly what I mean so my words add value and not confusion. I had another title in mind for this blog, but I think we will all understand the metaphor of the city much better. You've heard it said that “we are what we believe” or “we are what we think.” I am hear to tell you, we build our identities, our sense of self worth, and our value directly from of what we think of ourselves. These ideas of self and identity are the building blocks of the mind if you will.
What do you typically do with blocks? You build things. What are those things in the real world? Buildings, sky scrapers, homes, etc. Our minds and thoughts work the same way. Our thoughts are our bricks and we build those bricks on top of one another until we have solidified collection of thoughts called a belief system - like a brick and mortar “building.” This “building” represents how we see ourselves and our world. This takes years, it doesn't happen over night and many influences. We don't just build one belief system or “building”, we build several. In essence, we build “cities” in our heads of belief systems - thoughts all interconnected to one theme - just as an actual city is interconnected and given one name.
The “cities” within our heads have different names – most are not good or life giving for us. These “cities” are built upon pain, suffering, and many lies. Some are called Ugly. Some are called Unworthy. Some are called Never Amount to Anything. Some are called You are Just Like your Father. Some are called You are Just Like Your Mother. Some are called You Will Always be This Way. Some are called Slut. *Some are called Addict (take your pick). **My “city” was called Unlovable. Many times, these “cities” are built from the bricks of those who had no right to speak into our lives. Other times they are built from the bricks of those who were supposed to care for us but instead betrayed, abandoned, or abused us – not just speaking evil to and over us but doing evil to us. Brick upon brick, thought upon thought, we build these “cities” and then we fortify them – convinced that we know who we truly are or that others (even those who have done evil to us) know us better. We call such “cities” with fortifications strongholds in Christendom.
A stronghold is defined as: a place where a particular cause or belief is strongly defended or upheld. Yes, the “city” you have built in your mind about yourself (your belief systems) can be a stronghold. You defend it because you don't know it is a lie. You defend it because so and so told your so such and such it must be true. You defend it because you loved (or still love) the person who helped you build it and you don't know what else to do. Whether you ascribe to the idea of strongholds or not, many of you can identity with some of the names I mentioned because you have been called those very names and/or given those very identities – either by yourself to yourself or by someone else. The effects of these names and identities have been devastating to you. I know because I was there too.
So is there any hope for us? Can the “cities” we build within our heads, our belief systems, be changed?
I am here to tell you that yes we have hope, and yes we can change our belief systems! We can tear down the “cities” that are hurting us, holding us back, stealing and killing our dreams, and in some ways, even killing us both figuratively and literally. It starts with our choices. We have to decide that these belief systems, theses fortified “cities” are no longer serving us. We have to choose to believe that there might be more to us than some people have told us. We have to choose to believe that those who have helped define us may not have had our best interest at heart. We have to choose to no longer let evil people have a place in our lives – even if this includes friends and loved ones we've had around us for a long time. We have to choose to do the work of healing – it's hard and it might take of while but I can tell you it's worth it. We have to choose to believe that maybe there is a God who knows us better than we know ourselves. A God who loves us and longs to let us see who we really are without any pretense or conditions (contrary to what you may have been told). I have found this to be true in my own life. Test Him in this and see for yourself, don't take my word for it. You have already lost so much. I lost much too before I decided that my “city” was no longer serving me and it needed to be torn down. **I know what it's like to be slowly dying on the inside – my “city” was killing me, hurting relationships, and affecting other areas of my life. I was a slave to my "city" in so many ways. What do you have to lose except more time? What do you have to lose except evil and the words and thoughts of those who have harmed you? Choose differently my friends! Choose life! I did and I am finally at peace! My “city” is torn down! I am no longer a slave!
I want to close with this:
John 8:32 ESV; ….And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The truth will set your mind free, and in so doing, you will finally be able to be everything you were meant to be and more!
*Addiction is more than about thinking. Addiction is an actual brain disease and many addictions (not just drug and alcohol addictions) are coping mechanisms for intense pain. I wanted to be sure I emphasized that addiction is neither simple nor black and white. If you are an addict or you know an addict, there is help and support for you and your loved one! Please reach out via 988 or through a trusted support network you have locally! You are loved with no judgement and your life can change for the better! You can truly live again! You can dream again!
**I will detail the “City of Unlovable” in Part 3 of this blog series. I have so much I want to share with you. My “city” was built upon many lies and the pain of abuse. My healing has been a long time coming. I have recognized so much that I did not even know was going on in my head and heart. If this part of my story can keep one person from pain, then it's all worth it!