Living in the Light

By Abby Elam Counseling Center Director

In recent weeks I have found myself repeatedly saying “we were not created to live in the dark.”   As counselors at The Joy House, there are moments when we recognize the darkness, we see it rear its head or just peak out behind the veil for a brief moment and we must call it out. This is true of physical/external darkness as well as spiritual/internal darkness.

Anxiety, depression, and negative intrusive thoughts are a constant in our day to day with clients. This internal darkness can be all consuming. Many people feel like they can’t turn off their brains. They can’t stop thinking about how others perceive them, or they are living in constant fear of possible but highly improbable scenarios playing out in their life. Another example may be the inability to make peace with something terrible that has happened. This of course leads to deeper and darker thinking, continuing the unhealthy cycle of thought. And so often this cycle begins to appear in our outward or physical lives and behavior.

Dealing with external darkness is often a manifestation of the internal struggle. When someone stays up until 3am every night, binge watching a show, scrolling TikTok or Instagram reels, or playing video games because “my brain won’t turn off. “. What they don’t realize is that they are creating a physical cycle of groggy daytimes and agitated nights, of extreme apathy and hypersensitivity. These behaviors tend to lead to isolation, more destructive self-thought and darker behavior. Do you see the cycle? We were not created to live in the dark.

So how do we change this? How do we break the cycle, stop the thoughts, and get out of dark? I want you to imagine you are in a room, in total darkness. You see nothing but black. From somewhere outside a small bit of light begins to creep in like a line on the floor and up the wall. Slowly as your eyes adjust you realize it’s a door. Just that small bit of light is soothing but eventually its not enough. You need more. The door cracks open slowly, more light flowing in, and then the door bursts open and fills the dark room completely with light.

The first step to living in the light is simply to turn the light on. We do this by exposing what has been kept locked away by shame, guilt, fear, hurt etc. and TOGETHER we discern truth from lie – darkness from light.   We must expose the lie, deal with its consequences on our life and then repetitively apply the healing truth to the wound left behind by the lie. The details of this process look different for every person depending on their own individual story.  But here is what I know with certainty… We are sinners, Satan is a Liar, Christ is our Savior, and God is the Truth.  As counselors at The Joy House, we see it as our duty to lean in and listen, to expose the lie and speak the truth gently, lovingly, compassionately. We realize change takes time and effort, but you shouldn’t have to go through the process alone. We are here to help, one small bit of light at a time.