a friend emailed me yesterday and told me she had been hanging out in the flogging machine. in my earlier post i referred to it, but i realized that my friends from the refuge and some others may know what i am talking about but others might not have any idea what it means. i did recently have someone ask “do you mean a fogging machine?” and i’m like, “no, those are in concerts (and sometimes churches).”
here’s the definition of flogging: to beat with a whip, stick, etc. especially as a punishment.
a flogging machine is the place i go in my head to beat myself up after i do or say something that makes me feel uncomfortable, when i make a mistake (for me, mistake-size doesn’t necessarily matter), when someone gives me negative feedback, when i have a conflict, or sense disapproval. whenever these things happen, my first inclination is to go into the flogging machine and waste some time in there for a little while. here’s what my flogging machine consists of:
a bat – to beat myself up with. i always say my right arm has a huge Popeye muscle.
a megaphone – it’s loud in there, the voices aren’t quiet, more like blasting.
all of the people who have said negative things about me in the past (or at least i think they have)–it’s kind of a combobulation (not sure if that’s a word?) of voices i’ve heard–past relationships, condemning people, people who have been mad at me or didn’t like me.
a tape recorder – the conversation, the voices in my head, keep getting played over and over again, kind of like torture. rewind. play. rewind. play. rewind. play.
special earplugs – these earplugs tune out anything good. in these moments, no positive voices come to mind. i can only hear the bad.
i think we can all agree, the flogging machine is a nasty place to stay. it certainly isn’t God’s heart for us, and it’s not good for our souls, our minds. it is an energy drainer.
here’s what i’m finding: i am staying in the flogging machine less and less and less. the time keeps getting shorter that i will waste my time in there and i am finding that very healing. who knows, maybe there will be a time it will be completely destroyed, demolished (i’m not betting on it) but i can cut down its use. i told my friend yesterday: step out of the flogging machine and into the arms of good friends and safe community who love you and will remind you of the real truth about you. romans 8:1 are not trite words. we are screw ups, we make mistakes, we don’t hit it right, we say and do stupid things, and we wish there was a rewind button on a lot of the things in our lives so we could re-do it better. this is why i am still a Christ follower. i need Jesus’ grace, mercy, hope, redemption, healing, love. it’s so hard for me to take it in faster, quicker, but that’s what i long for.
sometimes when i leave the refuge my friend mike texts me “don’t go into the flogging machine tonight” and it always makes me smile and remember…dammit, life’s to short to hang out there for long.