There is a word that has been stuck in my mind for about a week now. It is one of those things where it is as someone was whispering the word over your shoulder. It becomes so real that it often could make you turn to see if a person was actually standing there, but you don’t because you know this voice; you are quite familiar with this voice because you have heard it many times before. This week it repeats the word “chastise” and several months ago it was “sins of the father” and some time before that it murmured that “you weren’t worthy”. Who knows what this voice of negativity will bring next or what this bully will say in attempts to slow my pace. I will admit it does do that; slow my pace. In fact, it can often stop me in my tracks and pull me into a darkness that lingers for days.
This voice is cunning and has evolved from simple attacks of “no one likes you” and “you’re not good enough” to more sophisticated tactics of finding words that will cause me to wonder and even have to google to understand. By making me think about these words this voice is embedding the meanings further into my mind. This voice has developed these new tactics because he had to. The simple attacks don’t work anymore because I am stronger than I once was and more confident, but the strength and assurance that I build will never stop him because he too can develop and he has no other purpose in life. I have learned that he will not go away; he will not shut up or stop whispering cruel nothings in my ear. I have learned that I must deal with him and his taunting because the stronger I become the stronger he will get.
This word “chastise” is not completely unknown, nor is it often used because we have so many other words to use in its place. Chastise is to reprimand or inflict punishment. The feeling of being punished is not new nor does it surprise me that this whispering voice will say such a thing. We all go through difficult times and often feel as if we are being punished or even chastised. However, the thing that struck a chord was the matter of being chastised by God. The idea that God himself will chastise you because he loves you and as a Heavenly Father he must chastise you to help you learn from it.
This isn’t as one would say; the “wrath of God” this is more like putting a child in “timeout” well except I would rather sit in a chair than wonder if all my bad luck is God punishing me for something I must learn from. I personally have never been put in a “time out” chair, I really don’t think that would be very effective to me seeing how I grew up in the whooping generation where if we didn’t mind we would quickly find a paddle against our backside. I’m sure you can see how being in time out could seem insignificant to other means of punishment. However, I have seen children in time out and for that moment they are frustrated and they know that they cannot leave that spot. They have learned that they must sit there while everyone else is playing and having fun. They know that if they do not sit there and be quite their time will be extended and essentially they will have to stay there until they can sit and be quiet.
My life is not like sitting in timeout, such a chair would be easy to get out of. This life would seem more like a straitjacket whereas I often feel as if I am fighting to get a head in life and once I have exhausted all efforts I find that I am still bound and have done little to free myself. I am not Houdini, I have learned that I cannot escape this which binds me. This feels as if I am being chastised or as if I must sit here until I have learned to stop doing whatever it is that I did to receive such punishment. I believe that as a child I would have been the one child who would have just kept getting off the time out chair regardless of how long they made me sit there. Is this what is happening now I wonder. Am I not understanding the concept of his “time out”?
I look back at my life and see all the times that I have fought to get ahead and proved so many people wrong as far as if I was smart enough, strong enough, or good enough yet in the end my life isn’t any easier. Sure, I have more than I once had and I am grateful, but I have also lost more than I have ever lost and I know the pain of such. This voice that repeats the word “chastise” also speaks about how some seem to have been born with silver spoons and seem to find success effortlessly. Some were born into this world in families who could easily provide and give them a head start in life while others were born into poverty and must gain the strength and knowledge to crawl out of that hole.
Just imagine being in the bottom of this deep well and you can see the small circle of light that brings you hope. You begin to crawl and climb up the walls, which at first is easy but becomes harder and harder as the fall becomes further away from the bottom. It is cold, damp, and dark and your fingers are numb and the pain of each grasp is unbearable. Your legs and arms begin to shake as you try to rest and regain some strength. The circle of light becomes larger and larger as you near the end and you can hear the world around you become lively as you build momentum to reach the top. Emotions begin to flood your soul as you can see the sky and reach the edge of this hole you found yourself in. Imagine, sitting at the edge of that well just to find that the world wasn’t as good as you had hoped and that you must go farther way from that well to find whatever success really is.
This means of chastising isn’t like sitting in some damn time out chair. Nor is it as simple as withstanding a few swats of a wooden paddle. It is more along the lines of hard labor where you have a set of chores that must be finished and when you get done those you will be give more and once those are done there will be more to do. It is as if these such chores are never ending and there doesn’t seem to be any reward in sight. However, how often is there some reward offered after a chore is done. We do our chores not because we want to do them, we do them because we have no other choice but to do them. They must be done and if we want to do anything else we must do our chores first. The only true reward of doing your chores is a break from having to do them.
Okay little evil voice, I hear you. I am being chastised and you are just going to keep reminding me. You and your sinister whispering have proven time and time again that I cannot stop you from this annoying game you play. What you need to know is that those of us who have had to work hard doing our chores have learned that there are ways to make them easier to work through such as singing a cadence or song. By doing such keeps our minds from thinking about how much it sucks to have to work so hard. Oh, and Mr. annoying evil voice whispering the meanings of chastisement in my ear, have you also forgot that there is another voice who also whispers to me and tells me of all the blessings I have received and will be granted? Certainly, you can be louder and more persistent, but often when I work I think about the song that says, “count your many blessings.”
I don’t know if the Lord is punishing me or whether I am being Chastised. I know that I work hard and rarely seem to get ahead. I try to focus on building spiritual strength so that I will have enough faith to pull me through this chore and hope for a break soon. One thing about chores that I have learned is that I don’t have to like them but they still have to be done. That’s enough thoughts for now, I have work to do. I surely would hate to fall back down that well and have to start climbing all over again. That … that would certainly make me feel as if I was being chastised.