As a child, I counted the days when The Wizard of Oz would come on TV once a year. We didn’t have internet and couldn’t stream movies as we do now. Instead, every film was seasonal; If it were on a school night, I would rush home, do my chores, and hope my grandfather didn’t have a game to watch on t.v.; we only had one television. As I watched the movie, I imagined myself as Dorothy running away to a far-off land where I felt free and safe. I imagined the wizard to be a great king who would save her from the wicked witch. However, in the end, I was disappointed that he was a little man hiding behind a curtain. Then, the reality hit me like the tornado that sent Dorothy and Toto to a far-off land; the land of Oz and the powerful Oz was not as powerful as all believed he was. The kingdom of Oz was delusional, like the little god I looked for in my grandmother’s statues she prayed to every night. But every year, I followed the same customs and expected different results; however, the ending was always the same.
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.”Albert Einstien
I was a child, and regardless of my traumatic experiences, I was still hopeful, and my imagination took me to safe places; now I know it’s called dissociation. Children cannot physically escape abuse, so they learn how to survive, and one way of survival is by dissociation while following the illusion of family ties. However, as an adult, I detached myself from the toxicity. Unfortunately, family loyalty and traditions kept people stuck— the commitment to family ties remained hidden behind the curtain. Afraid of abandonment or exclusion, we hide behind the curtain in our little city of Oz; it is the denial of reality. Yes, we all live in the little town of Oz, and we follow the road our ancestors walked on because it is effortless and familiar, or we are afraid of abandonment like the Cowardly Lion.
One of the hardest things to do was face my truth and own my story; I did the same repeatedly, but the results remained the same. Then, one day, while conversing with my granddaughter, I said flies are attracted to manure; ouch, that hurt! Don’t ever think God is ministering only to the other person. Sometimes He ministers to you through you. The Israelites continued doing the same things, and they continued for forty years around the same mountain; it was time for me to get off this road. However, the only way out was through education. I grew up believing I was stupid because I was told so much it seeped into my core. After I was married, my ex-husband solidified it with his constant criticism, micromanaging, and dehumanizing.
One day, I started singing loudly, “If I only had a brain!” I wasn’t degrading myself; I was making a loud statement that I did have a brain, and God gave me the ability to learn, think, and make decisions. I sang this song so much over my life, and eventually, I returned to school and attained a degree. It’s funny how your brain can bring humorous images into your mind. So I chuckled when I walked on the platform to receive my diploma because I saw the Scarecrow in my mind receiving his certified brain/degree.
I thought there were a few things I needed to work on, and my inner child and I could happily skip through life singing “follow the yellow brick road.” However, once I mastered one thing, another showed up unexpectedly. In real life, we journey on the same road our ancestors traveled; sometimes, we must return to the past to heal the little man hidden behind the curtain of shame so God, the real King, can redeem our future. I thought I was getting closer to the great city of Oz, and I dreamed of dancing down the yellow brick road like Dorothy and Toto to my happily ever after here on earth; we all want that, but that is unrealistic. We want to wear rose-colored glasses and pretend all is well when it is not; we want to be a Polly Anna; look her up. Life is the hard truth that death follows if we continue living a lie. Death doesn’t have to be physical. The end of a marriage, family relationship, friendship, dreams, etc., is as devastating as losing a loved one because everything attached also dies.
Like a tree, the leaves begin to discolor and eventually fall off if not treated from the root. So before giving the devil undeserved credit, we need to ask God to search our hearts and show us our hidden faults. We also need to ask Him for help to change our behaviors. Self-control is a fruit of God’s Spirit, and manipulation, abuse, and controlling others are the fruit of the devil’s spirit. The Bible says to test the spirits (1 John 4). Test the heart within yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to remove what is not of His Spirit but remember, something has to fill that hole. For instance, we need to fill that space with gratitude to stop the negativity and complaining. We can deceive ourselves and be false prophets in our lives by the lies we believe and speak over ourselves.
Fortunately, Jesus did not tell His follower’s life would be peachy; in fact, He said to them that life would be challenging because of Him; we live in a fallen world filled with fallen angels and their leader, the devil. He is the puppet master, like the wicked witch who uses flying monkeys to do his bidding of destruction. Our battles are spiritual warfare; if you think you are not affected, think again. The devil doesn’t bother those who don’t do the work because they are already self-destructing; Proverbs says a lazy man will not lift the fork to feed himself. Instead, the devil messes with the people making changes in their lives; they are change agents for themselves and future generations.
Change agents threaten the devil and disturb his plans for you and the ages after you. One day my Pastor said if we are not experiencing adversity, we should be concerned. We also need to consider if we are the agent of our suffering. For example, we can be agents in our misery by our choices; we reap the consequences for everything we choose, both good and evil. Jesus promised He would never leave us; He would be with us as we face the challenges thrown at us by the enemy if we choose to follow in God’s ways, which He says to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him. We can ask Him for wisdom if we don’t know how. He said, fear not; I have overcome the world.” It doesn’t mean He prevents us from having some troubles; some troubles help us grow and mature no matter how painful. I now know how painful change can be, but it was worth it. However, Jesus promises He will help us through our pain and circumstances.
Dorothy had a dream, but it was over the rainbow; it was impossible to reach. It took a tornado to move her like so many of us; sometimes, it takes a storm in our lives to move us. Like Toto, we can ask the Holy Spirit to pull back the curtain and expose the little man we need to change inside ourselves so he can be free and move forward. Like the Scarecrow, we can educate ourselves with the truth and knowledge through discovery; ask the Holy Spirit to give you a teachable spirit and return to school. Lastly, the Lion was a coward; ask the Lord to give you a heart of courage to make the necessary changes.