If there is one thing, one theme, that keeps coming up again and again in all the stories I’m hearing, and the people I’m talking to, and all the difficulties so many of us are having right now, it’s this:
We have to stop lying to ourselves about what’s really going on in our lives.
That is the theme, the message, underlying everything I see going on right now, both at the micro and the macro level.
God’s seal is truth, and whenever we stay stuck in a ‘fantasy’ version of our lives and continue to live in ‘pretend world’, we become disconnected from truth, and from God, and from our own souls, and that has enormous implications for us, our family, and the wider environment.
God is saying to all of us:
“Stop looking away from the yucky stuff you know is really there! Stop pretending you don’t have a problem with food, with fear, with lust, with money, with jealousy, with anger. Stop pretending its ‘OK’ that you feel so unloved by so many of the really important people in your life! Stop making excuses for all your bad middot, and all the horrible things that you’ve been doing to people (for years…).
“Stop running away into fantasy land! Stop reading the news every five seconds, or checking your Facebook account, or logging on to emails again, to take your mind off that gnawing feeling of discomfort churning away in your stomach.
“Whatever it is, you have to turn around and face it down! Stop running away now!”
It’s so hard, isn’t it?
Because usually, we only pushed down and repressed those feelings and thoughts so much in the first place because they were too hard and painful for us to really deal with, and process.
But Moshiach is at the door, and God can’t take us all into that world of truth until we pry ourselves out of the world of lies – or to put it more accurately, until we pry the world of lies OUT from inside of ourselves.
This is really hard work, and it can only be successfully accomplished with lashings and lashings of self-love and compassion. And courage.
Because it takes a lot of courage to lift the veil, remove the filter, and to really look at how I’m acting and thinking, and why, and what good or damage that’s causing in the world.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by what I’m writing here – congratulations!
That means you’re a lot more connected to the world of truth than most people, already. It’s a short hop, skip and jump from that uncomfortable feeling to real progress and internal change.
But only with love! Only with understanding that our yetzer hara – and everyone else’s yetzer hara, too – is bigger than we are. If God didn’t help us to overcome it, we’d have absolutely no chance.
So there’s really only two things we can (and should…) justifiably criticize ourselves over at this point:
1) Are we asking God to help us get a grip on our yetzer (preferably every single day)?
2) Are we honestly trying to look at just how much of our behavior, belief-system and thought processes are actually yetzer driven, in the first place?
If we can’t answer ‘yes’ or ‘I’m trying’ to the first question, then for sure we can’t honestly answer ‘yes’ to the second one.
Because when God isn’t in the picture, facing ourselves down like this is just far too difficult, scary, upsetting and overwhelming.
But we’re now up to a stage in the process where there’s really no choice!
The world of truth is waiting, and the people who are continuing to lug around their own internal universe of lies simply can’t fit in to it.
But God really, really wants you there! And me there! And us there! That’s why He’s sending everyone all this incredibly difficult stuff to break us (or rather, to break our yetzers…) into pieces, because the real aim is to break us out of the world of lies.
God loves us exactly how we are. God (and definitely our teenagers…) knows our flaws even more profoundly than we ourselves do.
When we continue to lie to ourselves about who we really are, and what’s really going on, and what we really feel and why, there’s really only one person that we’re actually managing to fool, long term:
And that’s what’s really holding up Moshiach, and the world of truth.