Are You Hooked?

My sister (Age 5) left, and I (Age 3) right.
My sister (Age 5) left, and I (Age 3) right.

When we think of someone being hooked, we may think about people who struggle with food, drug, alcohol or sexual addiction but what I am thinking about is more subtle and may even seem like something safe and benign i.e. our thought life. Our thought life is a huge factor in how we view our self and others. And how we view our self, very often influences what we choose to do or not do. In my own case, when I was born, my mother tells me all the hospital nurses in the maternity ward came to see me and nicknamed me “Rosebud” because I was pretty with cute pink cheeks and a headful of thick, curly hair.

On my way to school (Age 5)
On my way to school (Age 5)

Growing up, I was a very normal weight, happy kid who made friends with everyone in the small community I lived and played in. Then at the age of ten, my mother’s older sister came to visit us from Great Britain with her Aussie husband. My two sisters and I were delighted at her visit because she came laden with the latest in clothing, shoes and fun stuff for each of us. We also looked forward to meeting her because she had left when we were too young to remember her.

My Siblings Age 12, 8 and I (Age 10 on right)
My Siblings Age 12, 8 and I (Age 10 on right)

I will never understand why or what prompted my Aunt to do this on that holiday but one day she called me “Fat Lady at the Circus (FLATC)” and suddenly other voices were stirred in joining in and laughing and joking as she called me this name. No one challenged or questioned why she was calling me this name and they certainly never understood what it did to me. After that, when I looked in the mirror, I no longer could see the beautiful, healthy-weight child that I was.

Bridesmaid for a Singhalese Wedding (Age 14)
Bridesmaid for a Singhalese Wedding (Age 14)

Today, I am not sharing this story to slight my Aunt. To her credit, she asked my forgiveness 25 years later when I was recovering from the world’s largest pituitary brain tumor  and I forgave her. I share this story to bring awareness, once again, to the power that words we speak and think have. With our words we sow life or death. With our thoughts we sow serenity and peace or fear and anxiety within us. In the book of Proverbs in the Bible, we are admonished to:

Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.  Don’t use your mouth to tell lies; don’t ever say things that are not true.
 Keep your eyes focused on what is right, and look straight ahead to what is good. Be careful what you do, and always do what is right. Don’t turn off the road of goodness; keep away from evil paths. (Proverbs 4:23-27 NCV)
The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the church in Philippi:  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Phil. 4:8-9 ESV).

The Good News is that in my twenties I began a fearless journey to unravel the effect of my family dysfunction along with the thought that had been sown in my life at age ten. I can only thank God for giving me the strength to go on this journey. Two years spent with a great Psychologist, prayer and God’s word, and I finally became free to see myself as God sees me!

In closing, I encourage you to be a Watchman of the way you think and speak. What word or words is your life hooked on? Are your thoughts affecting how you view life and interact with others? Be fearless in seeing yourself as you are, because revelation is the first step to begin the journey of healing that unfolds a whole new and beautiful way of being.

If your words have hurt someone, be fearless in asking for forgiveness even if many years have passed and/or there is a possibility of rejection. Don’t live life blaming someone or something for what’s not working. We are not accountable for the reaction or action of others but only our own actions and reactions. With God, nothing is impossible!

Elizabeth Ellis