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  • Writer's pictureKristen Hepner

An Unexpected Visit

There was a knock on the door and as any good Southern woman, you opened it and let them in. You told them to excuse the house, the one that you had spent all day cleaning. You offered them some water, coffee, or tea, making sure they felt at home, yet having no idea that havoc was about to be wrecked in your heart. You kicked off your shoes and settled into an evening with a “friend”.

It all started with small talk. This was for the purpose of getting your ears ready for the tangle of lies they were about to weave. They knew enough to throw in a few truths, just to throw you off from identifying their true identity. Implanting the lie came in fertile ground once you gave them a seat at your table. You let them in, welcomed them, felt comfortable in their presence, fed them, and listened to their voice.

You did not hear their lies, only became small as they spoke what you falsely perceived as truth. They came to tell you that you are not enough. They came to convince you that others will laugh at you, or worse yet, think you are haughty if you try to live out your callings.

Shame and regret are the appetizer they want you to nibble on. Lies of self-sufficiency and isolation are what the main course consists of. And by now, they have you on your back, fully convinced of their sales pitch. Once they know you're all in and just to make sure the nail is in the coffin, their dessert is to make sure that you believe their lies as truth.

You have yet to identify them as your own inner critic as they leave you feeling hopeless and strip all your passion and ambition away. A small voice in your head and heart that you’ve given control to derail your purpose.

Sound familiar?


I recently had a visit from my own inner critic that left me incapacitated to be who God created me to be. I am yet to identify the door in which they entered. Maybe it was the door of pride, or the passageway of “numbing”, or even the carelessness of not being on guard. They stayed far too long and convinced me that I “can’t”.

I can’t write.

I can’t lead.

I can’t speak.

I can't change.

I can’t.

I can’t.

I can’t.

And I submitted to their lies and agreed. That was a mistake on my own part. Having the ability to identify lies and replace them with truth has been a part of my journey in the past. But, here, in this new country, with these new people and places; all of these new roles and rhythms, here, I came to believe that I can’t. It made sense. Lies twisted into reality created a fog of unbelief in myself and even worse in my God who promises He can.

There were days that I wanted to get up from the table, but it just felt like too much work. I was comfortable making excuses and feasting on their lies. I wanted to become small and not let others see me, forgetting that I was created to be a light on a hill. 

Other days, I began to see through the fog, just barely, like when the rain stops and the sun comes out, but the clarity wouldn’t last. It felt easier to remain with my head in the clouds, staring at the 2-inch screen attached to my hand.

People close to me could see that I was preoccupied. Maybe they didn’t know about my dinner guest, but they could see that I was not living in the freedom I had once found. They would make comments or ask questions that would make me feel defensive and bottle up. However, over time, their concern helped me to look up and really question the unexpected guest sitting at my table.

Finally, it was time to get them to leave. Once they realized that I was becoming aware of their lies and facade of self-preservation their exit was fairly swift. However, they left behind some things that I am left cleaning up. Maybe a little regret and embarrassment is remaining, a few habits of numbing that I will have to strive to undo, and lost time that I may grieve. However, another thing they left was a knowing of how unwelcome and unsatisfying their presence has become and an overwhelming inner strength, that is not my own, to fight against welcoming their presence again.



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