Lying to yourself is really pretty easy. The trajectory usually starts by our having a lie told to us by a parent, friend, boyfriend, spouse, or any significant person in our lives. We may immediately recognize the statement as hurtful, but not recognize the detrimental effects of believing the lie until years or even decades later.
As a counselor, my clients are often surprised at the necessity of exploring their childhood in order to identify lies they grew up believing. While all lies are not from childhood, they tend to be the ones that are most ingrained. Without fail, I’ve watched people time and again uncover lies they were told and experience great healing by choosing to start telling themselves the truth. The obvious question is, “What is the truth?”
I define lying to yourself as “Telling yourself anything that God does not say about you or your situation.” That really narrows down what we are allowed to tell ourselves! Scripture time and again states the necessity of guarding our thoughts and believing truth.
Romans 12:1 states, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” This verse is a powerful plea to change our thought life in order to be capable of realizing God’s plan for us.
The number one question I ask all day long in my counseling practice is “What are you telling yourself?” People tend to think their emotions are what need to change in order for them to experience relief from anxiety, depression, eating disorders, stress, etc. However, a thought always comes before an emotion. It is impossible to tell yourself lies all day long and have contentment, peace, and intimacy with God.
Scripture tells us Satan is the “father of lies” (John 8:44), however, often we do his work for him. In closing, here are three questions to ask in order to help you identify and change lies you may be telling yourself.
1. What am I telling myself about my situation, my worth, or others in my life?
2. Is this what God says about my situation, my worth, or others in my life?
3. What does the Bible say about my situation, my worth, or others in my life?
Benjamin Disraeli describes the link between our thoughts and the quality of life in this famous quote, “Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than your thoughts.” The great thing is, we don’t have to come up with the “great thoughts." God has told us His great thoughts about us in His Word.
Psalm 139:14 states the we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” This is not God complementing us. It is His truth about His creation and it’s time for us to claim it! I challenge you as you go about your day to ask the simple but vital question, “What am I telling myself?”
“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:14
Julia J. Sadler