There is a lie you believe about yourself. It likely has been there most of your life, hiding in the background, subtle, yet powerfully pervasive. Your lie has creeped in through life’s experiences as the whispers of the enemy give you false coordinates by which to set your heart’s compass.
A long relationship ends and you are left with what feels like complete abandonment. The enemy is close with his whispers that you’re unlovable.
Cancer rips a loved one away from you too soon. “God abhors you and will take everything you love away,” are the hate-filled words hissed in your ear.
Your division at work struggles in a tough economy, forcing layoffs. You are suddenly left without a job as bills continue to stack up and pressure at home rises. The lies seize the opportunity to pounce on you. “You are not enough. God isn’t coming through for you. You are on your own.”
These messages are spoken over and over to us. The more we hear them, the more they seem like truth.
Let me tell you the story of my lie.
Years ago, a mentor invited me to write out a list of negative things I believed about myself. It felt relatively unnecessary, but I reluctantly agreed to the exercise. Taking a long period of introspection and prayer, I slowly uncovered some pretty painful things.
An incredibly large portion of the lies revolved around how I viewed my presence in a girl’s life. Over the course of several years, I had walked through multiple relationships, which I had ended. The resulting tears, heartache, and pain I caused opened the door to an onslaught of negative whispers. So much of my belief had come to rest in a very strong lie: “All I am capable of offering a woman is inevitable heartache.” I began to question whether all my interactions with women were somehow displeasing.
Looking at my list, I wanted nothing more than to burst out of the emotional prison I had been deceived into – yet somehow it felt like I didn’t deserve release – that this was somehow my lot in life, my due. That’s one of the greatest deceptions of the enemy – to make you believe the prison walls are home. Morgan Freeman’s character Red in The Shawshank Redemption, hardened by decades lost inside the prison walls, makes note of this slow but sinister progression.
“These walls are funny. First you hate ’em. Then you get used to ’em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them.”
I knew that Jesus spent time with women, not in romantic pursuit but in life-giving ways that left them wonderfully changed. At a well in Samaria, He offers a woman, weary from unfulfilled desire, a cure for her eternal thirst (John 4:4-42). He bends over and writes something on a dusty street in Jerusalem, rescuing a woman trapped in shame and condemned by her life choices, giving her a chance to begin life anew (John 8:1-11). And then there is Mary, so captured by the life and restoration she’s found in this man, that she extravagantly pours a pint of perfume – likely her inheritance – on Jesus’ feet in an act of beautiful extravagance.
But could I ever offer that kind of life to a woman? Was it better for me to stay away from them altogether? As much as I tried, I could not fully suppress a desire for love and intimacy. The lies were strong, but not strong enough to completely kill the ache. At some point I knew I would have to risk again.
The day I shared the lies with my mentor, he said I needed a success story. He told me to write down those very words next to the lies. And so I did, “I need a success story in my own life.”
That season was bathed in persistent prayers, desperate to hear God’s voice for permission to try again. His response was unnerving, and yet somehow reassuring at the same time. “These are deep waters, and I want you to step out of the boat.”
Having the God of the universe invite you into deep waters is a strange, wonderful feeling, especially when it comes without the promise of how the experience ends. As relieved as I was with His invitation, I knew I would still face the old whispers.
And face them I did. A year-long relationship ended, again by my choice, and I felt the lie’s grip tighten around my neck. It was then when Truth’s beautiful voice pulled me from my despair. “You did it right. Your presence in her life made her a better person. I am proud of you.”
You have to quiet your heart and listen. Truth is always there to offer life – the chance to be free. But you also have the choice to believe.
Honestly, I did not want to hear the words the Lord spoke to me. I didn’t think I deserved them. Quite frankly, it felt more like I’d made up the words myself. Beware, because as soon as evil thinks you have caught wind of Truth, it will go after you with another powerful tactic, making you believe Truth is just your own internal voice.
Love never relented, continually reminding me of those hope-filled words. As strong as the enemy is, the persistent pursuit of God is stronger. Truth is calling for you. It is only our agreement with the lies that keeps us from the brilliant light inviting us into its warmth.
Could I be capable of holding the most vulnerable of all creation – a person’s heart? More than that, could I hold it with steady hands and watch God’s light heal and brings forth beauty through me?
I’m starting to believe.
I’m married now to the most amazing reflection of God’s heart I have ever seen. God has allowed me to see her through his eyes – that she is His most prized possession and carries a unique part of his heart to the world. She is a treasure of immeasurable worth and beauty … and He has asked ME to protect her.
I know what has been entrusted to my still at times shaky hands. And yet each day I feel my attentive grip gaining steadiness as Truth continues to whisper His belief over me. And the truth is setting my heart free.
Do you know your lie? Can you name it? Because, whether you are aware of it or not, it is killing you. It may be that you are unlovable. It may be that love never works out, or that it is always hard. It may be that you only bring heartache into people’s lives. Or that you are alone in this life – completely and utterly alone. You are on your own. It may be that your past defines your future. Whatever it is, it is the thing that is keeping you from experiencing the abundant life God intends for you. The truth though… My friends, the truth is far more beautiful than we have imagined.
Ready to go deeper? Write out the list of negative things you believe about yourself under the headline “lies.” Then call them out for what they are. Invite God to speak the truth to your heart. Ask Him for a success story. Ask the Father to show you how He sees you. Then take some time in the quiet and listen for His still small voice to break in.
Brilliant Truth is calling, and if you will let Him, He can break even the strongest of lies.
(As a songwriter, the author frequently uses his life experiences to tell God’s story of redemption through music. The song birthed from this article can be listened to HERE.)SHARE ON FACEBOOK LIKE EMMAUS MAG Follow @emmausmag Follow @scottbensberg