Deny First! No No No couldn’t happen! Living in a sea of denial! He denied Christ three times. The first stage of grief. Why in the world do I deny first?
I think it’s because Milly girl is human. When something bad happens I just don’t want to believe it. It hit me on Monday morning when I heard about the horrific shooting in Vegas. “No!” I said to the radio. “Not again!” As I listened to the fragmented reports come in, my heart sank. I was forced to face the reality I did not want to accept.
I was the same way after my sister’s death. The days between her death and her funeral I was deep in denial. An Aunt asked me what flowers I wanted for her at the funeral. I literally looked at her a said “What are you talking about?” Sometimes the hurt runs so deep my mind protects me from my reality. Of course the day of her funeral came and I could not deny my beautiful teenage sister was the center of attention. I wept when my denial was swept away. Reality truly does bite!
That’s pretty intense. Lucky for me it hasn’t happened often in my life. Most of my denial is the everyday kind. “That’s not gray it’s blond.” Or how about; “O My! I would never say something like that!” and “My Princes! Oh no they’re angels, aren’t they?” Yeah right, just keep those rose-colored glasses polished and pretty Milly.
Even the Apostle Peter, the rock upon which the Christ built his church, denied Jesus three times. In a row! (John 18:25-27). Peter watched what was happening to Jesus and he was afraid. So much of my denial is rooted in fear. Fear of getting in trouble. Fear of what people think of me. Fear of being hurt emotionally or physically.
In John 21:15-18 Jesus asks Peter three times if Peter loves him. Each time Peter says yes. The scripture says Peter became distressed. He knew Jesus knew his heart. Each time Jesus tells him to feed and tend his lambs. It makes sense to me that for Peter’s sake, he needed to affirm his love for God to blot out the shadow of each denial. Then Jesus gave him his path forward. “Feed my Lambs.” Jesus’s forgiveness is implied.
Psalms 23:4 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (KJV).
Right now as I peel away the layers of my life I think of all the denial I have used to protect my tender heart. I am envisioning denial as a shadow over my eyes shielding me from the glare of reality. Kinda like sunglasses. It makes it hard to follow my Star.
My God understands the very human need to deny reality. As my Shepherd, he understands my struggle to accept the realities. He forgives me when I stay in the shadows too long. Once I accept the facts he can guide me forward. Just like the Apostle Peter.
As a nation we are mourning our losses in 2017, we may have lost everything we have in a storm, fire, or shooting; or we have been impacted with empathy for our fellow-man. Remember to be gentle with each other. Be understanding when someone is clearly in denial. Lift them up in prayer. Support them as best you can. Most of all let’s love each other. The enormity of the natural and unnatural disasters throughout our world is hard to take. Once we heal a bit we will face the future one moment at a time.
You are in my prayers. Love,
P.S. I don’t usually respond to prompts. This one spoke to my heart today as I struggle with my own denial.