Basements are funny things. As kids, we are usually scared to death of them. As adults, they become a safe haven of sorts as they are the place you go when seeking shelter from storms.
When I was little, I thought if I could somehow have all the lights on when I descended down the basement stairs, that place would become a lot less scary. And less scary it became. Because the darkness was eliminated, I knew what was around each corner and could see what was in each room. But without the lights on, I was freaked out and hated more than anything being in that space alone and in the dark.
We all have our own proverbial "basements": the places, the tendencies, the behaviors we go to when the bottom falls out. We run to these efforts for comfort, for numbing, for security, but the reality is, these are the most unsafe places we can be. But for most of us, it is the only place we know to go.
A few days ago in counseling, we were talking about my own basement. For me, it is a place I can control the elements and truth be told, I find a lot of comfort down there. It is all fake of course. Comfort is never found. Instead severe anxiety is birthed. Fear is amplified and I come out of that place more paralyzed than when I had entered.
For me, my control is demonstrated through control of food, image, and exercise...but as I've mentioned before, it has nothing to do with being a certain size. It just means these things take the edge off. They numb out the pain. So when the chaos comes, they are always my go to.
My counselor asked me to imagine that moment, when the bottom falls out. He asked me to go to that place, the worst case scenario place.
The place you go to internally after the phone call, the diagnosis, the accident, the heartbreak, the loss, the unmet need. He asked me to settle there, to get comfortable with the uncomfortable...and then He asked me to invite the Lord into that space.
My mind started to see the picture. To see the walls, the darkness, the fear, my own basement if you will, and I hated all of it.
I could not fathom how the Lord could actually be invited into this space. I had been in that location too many times to count and never once felt His presence. He did not come to these kinds of places in my heart. The kind that were broken and isolated and breaking with pain. He was usually found on the good days; that's when I knew His presence. When life was going right and the plans were working out.
But then I heard this faint whisper in my heart, a command really:
Look up. Just look up and reach up.
And in my mind I did. And what I found was one of those old school, pull the string and the lightbulb comes on kind of lights. It wasn't bright enough for me to see what was lying ahead or around me but it was enough for me to see His face. To see that this whole time down in that basement, I was never alone. That light had been there all along, just waiting to be lit. Just waiting to shine light on the reality my heavenly Father was sitting right by my side even in the complete darkness, even in that locked up basement, every single time I had gone down there.
It was this crazy reminder I hope to carry with me for the rest of my life. And it is one I hope you can use too. Whatever dark corner you may find yourself in, may you have the courage to reach up, look up, and when you do, may you be reminded too:
The creator of this world is sitting right by your side.
You. are. never. alone. ever.
Reach up, look up, and proclaim to the darkness, there is light here. There will always be light here.