It’s a war zone in here. The harpies are alive and well and they’re not going down without a fight.

And neither am I.


One day last week, I woke feeling anxious. Anxiety is not uncommon for me, but it’s been a long time since I woke feeling anxious. And it devolved from there. By mid-morning my heart was pounding and my hands were shaking.

There was nothing to be afraid of. No saber-tooth tigers lurking outside the door. No ugly emails in my inbox. No school, even. A day off!

Yet all I wanted was to curl up in a ball in my closet and cry.

You see, the harpies were shrieking ugly words in my ears—words like fool and failure, like poser and imposter, like greedy and grasping and hypocrite. And they were flashing ugly visions before my eyes—visions of public humiliation and everyone laughing at me and me too stupid to realize it.

I should have expected this. After all these years, I should know that every victory is followed by the harpies. This victory was my yes, my decision to start writing in this place again on a regular basis. The bigger the victory the nastier the harpies sound. And they still take me by surprise, every time.

They said, who do you think you are? They said, you don’t have what it takes. They said, you can’t do this you’ll never be a real writer no one values your words. They said, your writing is worthless no one will ever pay you to write and if you want them to you’re greedy and godless and it doesn’t matter what you want anyway you won’t get it God hates greedy people and wants you to fail fail fail fail fail.

And that’s where they went too far. Because I knew that wasn’t true. God does not want me to fail. God upholds me with His victorious right hand.

God never discourages. Take heart, Jesus said. Take heart means to have courage. The God who commands us to fear not, to take heart would never
dis-courage us.

Besides, God’s voice is never a voice of condemnation. Conviction, yes, but never condemnation. These accusing, condemning voices drive me into myself. God wants to draw me out of myself.

These voices scream and shrill and harp and ridicule. God speaks in a still, small voice. God is gentle and does not break a bruised reed or snuff out a smoldering wick.

God loves me.

And these voices definitely do not.

I cannot ignore them. They’re too loud, and they only get louder the longer I cover my ears and pretend not to hear. Which means the worst thing to do when the harpies are on the loose is to cower in my closet and cry. It makes them so gleeful, and when they’re gleeful, they’re even more spiteful.

So I took a walk instead and breathed the crisp cold air and noticed the frost-covered leaves lining the sidewalks and jaunted down to my favorite little park with a bench overlooking the Sound.

Even as I walked, part of me was still curled up in a corner of myself, cowering in childlike fear of the harpies. Part of me was holding the cowering child, crooning over her and cradling her the way I’d cradle Jane if she were scared.

And part of me was standing between those two and the harpies—a warrior queen defending her people from shrieking, fear-mongering, spiteful, wing-flapping hags. That part of me was wielding a sword—the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God—and slicing off the harpies’ lying lips.

I told you it was a war zone.

The warrior queen’s sword is my pen, the pen of a ready writer, because the only way to get rid of the harpies is to grab them by the throat and look them in the eye and fight their lies and and half-truths and less-than-half-truths with Truth.

Jesus is Truth, and Jesus loves me. Jesus died to save me from the harpies and their accusations. Jesus is the Prince of Peace—He does not stir up fear but exhales the Holy Spirit, the power to be and to do all that God asks of me. Jesus has thrown down the harpies and the Accuser who eggs them on. They are already thrown down; theirs is the desperate fight of the defeated.

No wonder they’re so nasty. They will kill me if they can—and God is not willing that any of His children should perish, including me. Including you.

So today, when the harpies start to hiss, cut out their tongues. They are not you. Cut them off. They cause us to turn inward, to live in fear. And God says, “Fear not!” God says, “Come forth!”

God says, “I love you, and nothing can separate you from My love.”

Say it with me, friends:

God loves me.
God loves me.
God loves me.
God loves me.

Say it till you believe it. Say it till you receive it. “God loves me.” Them’s fightin’ words. We might as well tell the harpies, “Draw. Your. Sword.” And they will. They’ll fight to the bitter end. And they’ll fight dirty.

But friends, we know the end of this story, and we win.
Photo by Bo Boswell, Creative Commons via Flickr.