I had a dream a few days ago.
There was an activity called “The Hotseat” that our youth group did a number of times back in the day. It consisted of one person sitting in a chair at the front of the room (or top of the circle) and everyone else giving them positive affirmations. No one was allowed to say anything ugly and EVERYONE had to take a turn. The comments couldn’t be anything shallow, like “I really like your shoes.” All the comments had to be sincere about what we truly appreciated about that one person. Some days were more challenging than others. Some people were more challenging than others. But we all did it and it made a huge difference.
In my dream, I was sitting in the “hotseat.” I was sweating. I was nervous. My heart was pounding against the walls of my chest. I could feel tears streaming down my cheeks in the dream. Why would I feel such a way when faced with such a positive affirming activity? Well, it’s because I always found this activity to be challenging. Not because people said ugly things; there were only good things said about how I excelled in what I was doing and what I did for others. Nope, it was because I had to hear people say nice things about ME. I had believed so many lies about my self-worth – that I was unworthy to be loved, that I was too damaged and too broken to be anyone of importance, that others were better off without me – it was challenging to hear anyone say anything besides the lies.
Most of the time my internal turmoil made it difficult for me to hear the actual words that came out the other peeps’ mouths. More importantly, I couldn’t hear God’s word and that stalemated my faith and I found it a challenge to obtain it’s life. My friends knew this so they did whatever they had to do to shake me up & get my attention when it was my turn to sit in ” The Hotseat.” While some told me things like “You inspire me to love people & life as deeply as you do” and “I admire your unwillingness to compromise what you believe in,” others said “If you get out that chair, I will hit you so hard Ann will feel it” and “I don’t care if you sit there and cry all day, you’re gonna let us love you; you’re gonna hear us say these positive things to you because you need to know that we don’t believe you’re the abandoned, “piece-o-trash” you think you are.” And that’s what used to happen & that’s what I did in my dream – I sat in that chair, cried and listened as they told me everything EXCEPT the lies I’d told myself. It made all the difference in my young life – my faith increased and it gave God, Christ and Holy Spirit the access they needed to begin healing me.
When examining my own testimony, I’m reminded that our society today is in serious need of healing in the “self-worth” department. Some of us were abandoned by our parent(s) and/or loved one(s). Even if they were there, some parents & guardians weren’t emotionally available to us. And, maybe for some, years of neglect & abuse took its toll. No matter what the trauma was, self-worth was damaged and it changed how we saw ourselves. We even add nicknames, like “The Outsider,” that continue to echo the damaged self-worth and our ability to hear is compromised.
In the name of transparency, that is my walk of faith with God: to tip the scales daily by trusting & accepting His words MORE than the lies. “The Hotseat” interrupts the cycle of feeding ourselves lies and provides opportunities to replace them with God’s word, truth & agape love. I’m so grateful for those people who sat in those circles years ago. Those words, even echoed in a dream, have been such strong reminders to increase my faith and strong motivators for me to continue being healed, especially when I find myself in faint-hearted cycles.
There are 101 lessons to be pulled out of this Sustah’s dream. For now, I would just like to say: look in the mirror, put YOURSELF in “The Hotseat” today, receive more words of Love & life than the lies you’re accustomed to! I promise you, despite what lies you may believe about yourself, you’re not the worthless, abandoned, “piece-o-trash” you think you are.
~ Vickie Bowman
Image Credit: Spotlight Chair © deafstar via freeimages.com