The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Have you ever stopped to think about just what goes on inside your head throughout the moments in your day? In the morning as you stumble out of bed, running late because last night you thought it would be a grand idea to get in one more episode of your favorite show on Netflix . You get to the pharmacy to pickup your medication and there’s one person at the front who should have just gone into the store instead of holding up the entire drive through. Next you miraculously make it to your favorite coffee shop in time for your barista to make your coffee. Stop and pause for a moment to take notice of what you tell yourself and the thoughts which so quickly run through your head. These thoughts, the things you say to yourself, and the feelings buried within the thoughts are what I would call internal dialogue.

Stories

Now take a moment to stop and think about this internal dialogue. What type of things do you tell yourself each day? Think through your day-to-day and examine what type of fears cross your path. Have you ever left the house for work or to head off to school and you start to think things like, “Did I turn off the oven when I left the house?” Or maybe it’s not the oven, maybe you wonder if you locked your car or closed the garage. Your question could be a number of things. Maybe the questions for you are different.

Do you ever pray for things and you do not get the answer you were seeking? Maybe you did not get an answer at all. This lack of answer can cause you to think or feel things about God or about yourself. What I have begun to study in these scenarios are the thoughts, feelings and assumptions which surround these moments. These collective thoughts, feelings, and assumptions are what I will call stories. Individually, these seem like small, insignificant, unrelated things, but collectively they tell a story.

Defining Our Reality

These stories we tell ourselves quickly become our truth and ultimately our reality. They shape what we believe and ultimately how we live or what we do. Take the unanswered prayer scenario. Out of hurt, the lack of clear answer might cause one to think, does God really care about these small things? Do I really matter to God? Out of hurt or disappointment we tend to think some pretty crazy things. If we are not careful, these feelings or thoughts can gain a foothold in our lives. Before we know it, our brain is doing what it was designed to do. It is looking for confirmation to reinforce these thoughts or feelings.

Let’s Get Practical

So what can we do to address these things practically?

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Seek God.

I would start by seeking God asking questions like, God show me thoughts or feelings which I’m thinking which set themselves up against your truth. I would also pray through Psalm 139:23. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”

Identify One Lie

Second, I would also start by identifying one lie you are telling yourself. Think this does not apply to you? This may be the first lie you need to address. Look at the things you fear and ask, what am I saying by believing in this fear? What can I do to keep from allowing this fear to be true in my life?

Replace the Lie With Truth

As believers, our ultimate source of truth is in the Bible. As you read the Bible, ask God to show you scripture which disproves the lie. Write down the versus He shows you and find a way to commit them to memory. Use a sticky note on your mirror, put one on your desk at work or somewhere in your car. Recite the verse out loud and in your mind. Repeat this until you no longer need the sticky note.

Congratulations!

If you have made it this far, congratulations! This is tough! So pat yourself on the back. Give yourself credit for being willing to look internally at the things you are telling yourself. Praise and thank God for all He is doing! Now repeat the process!

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Seeds of Deception

Photo by  Clint McKoy  on  Unsplash

Photo by Clint McKoy on Unsplash

Have you ever stood beside something so large and wondered how it ever grew to be what it is today? Standing next to one of these redwood trees is enough to make anyone feel a bit small. It is enough to put things into a different perspective. When you stop to think of where this massive redwood tree began, you are taken to a tiny little seed like in the picture. It is hard to imagine that something so large could start with something so small.

I recently sat down to go through Chazown in order to seek God on His vision or dream for my life. I had gone through the teaching a few times before, so this was more of me reexamining what God had shown me in years prior. I was seeking to clarify a few things and make sure I was headed in the right direction. I was going through part of the exercises in the course which have you examine key events, people and past experiences which have had an impact on your life.

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A part of this exercise has the participants write down these items on sticky notes and arrange them into chapters. As I was going back over these chapters I started to look back at one particular chapter where God was pointing me. As I began to review this chapter, I started to see a distinct pattern which I had never seen before. I began to see these ideas which were introduced early in my life which were complete garbage.

Seeds

These ideas were more than just ideas. The lies initially were very small and seemingly innocent, much like the seeds of a redwood. So I began the process of naming the lies and asking God how I ever started believing what I will refer to as seeds or lies. I use the word lies, but they were much more crafty or cunning than what I let on. These were small and very deceptive in nature. Funny thing is they seemed like they came from my own thoughts. .

Each of these seeds started very small and each seemed innocent enough at the beginning. Fast-forward to today, what I found looking back was that these seeds were no longer small or innocent. One was figuratively the size of a redwood tree. I could look back and see the events in my life which had reenforced the validity of the initial idea. I could even see other events which served to help the idea gain acceptance in my life.

I now found myself staring at this massive lie which has now taken up residency in my life. If you were to stand under it like a redwood tree, you might gaze with awe upon its majesty. It is now the primary root of my anxiety and contributes regularly to overwhelming fear. The scary thing is that it was not content to stay the same. As it grew, it manifested into anxiety and depression. At one point the anxiety from this seed overwhelmed me. And to think It all started by entertaining an innocent idea.

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Refining Your Dream

Photo by  Quino Al  on  Unsplash

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Starting out on my journey I had a very distinct vision of what my dream looked like. I wanted to build applications or “apps” as an Independent iOS Developer. I have loved business as far back as I can remember. Looking back, I can often remember dreaming of starting my own business. So combining the two passions of mine only seemed natural. For the longest time, I had zero desire to work for another company or organization ever again. I remember having serious thoughts about working for Life.Church and even applying for work, but honestly, the idea of working for someone else was often scary.

I applied to work for Life.Church several times in the past 11 years. When something did not turn out when applying, I was devastated! I could not understand why I was not finding success. Many times I would make it past the initial interviews only for things to fizzle out towards the end. It caused me to closely examen what was wrong with how I presented myself. Early on in my career, I had experienced trauma as part of a large corporate layoff and I was deeply impacted by that experience. Initially, these interview experiences only served to drive those wounds deeper.

If my story would have stopped there, I could have easily let my wounds and experiences lead me to become bitter. In many people’s eyes, I had every reason to be bitter. And just as with my battle with mental illness, I refuse to let these experiences define me. I also refused to let my failed attempt at employment with Life.Church rob me of the church I love so dearly. I chose to believe that God was working in me during these failed attempts. I believe His goodness was the reason I was not hired during these attempts. God was telling me, there’s still more work to be done.

Blinded By Emotion

Many times our emotions blind us from seeing what God might be doing behind the scenes. We let our surface-level feelings get hurt and rarely look any deeper. We have a hard time believing in the goodness of God. In the Garden of Eden, Eve shared in this same struggle. Just like Eve, I often have trouble believing in the goodness of God. So I get it. I also understand why some might allow their unpleasant experiences define them. It’s so easy to do!

Choosing To Believe In God’s Goodness

I just refuse to believe what appears on the surface of these experiences is the whole story. I understand there are things I can not see which would drastically shed light on these situations. I also choose to believe in the goodness of God over what I can see. Sometimes we misinterpret God. Sometimes the “no’s” are really God saying “not yet.”

Fast forward to serving on the IT Volunteer Leadership Team at Life.Church. As I began to spend significant amounts of time around staff at the Life.Church Central office, God began to heal part of me. The part in me which wanted nothing to do with working for another organization. I began envisioning myself working there. The fear in me began to dissipate to the point where I was no longer so afraid. God was healing my brokenness once again.

My Dream Refined

Now, I no longer think of my fear first when thinking about the possibility of working for Life.Church. I believe so strongly in the cause, I will wage war against my greatest of fears for the opportunity to be a part of it. God has refined my dream. My dream is to work for YouVersion, Life.Church, Bible Labs as a mobile developer.