Identifying the Lies You Believe
Hello and welcome to week two of my six-week series, Gaining Confidence in a Critical Environment. Last week we touched on some important steps to experience healing from your past. If you haven't read or gone through it, I would encourage you to take a look and see if your past is something that has played a role in your insecurity and self-doubt.
Part of this process will include identifying the areas in which are hindering us in experiencing true freedom and joy in who we are. Many of you already know that our feelings, emotions, and actions link directly to our thoughts. Sometimes our thoughts bring about feelings and sometimes our feeling bring about thoughts. In order to learn how to better understand ourselves and see who we truly are, we need to first eliminate the lies we believe that sometimes come from those thoughts or feelings. Lets first refer to some scripture. As I have said in last week's post, much of what I discuss here has a lot to do with my belief in God. Feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments on the matter.
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." -Philippians 4:8
This is one of my favorite verses. I know that God has created me as an emotional, sensitive, and creative person. I know he has created me to think and to reason. To have emotion and feelings. To utilize my talents for his glory. I know that he knows me better than I know myself. Every thought and action I have ever have and will have won't go unnoticed by him. It is why I trust that he gave me this verse to take seriously. Even though I have all of these wonderful capabilities because of how he created me, I also know that my heart is at times deceptive. How do I know that? Because time after time I have given into my emotions and feelings, which has lead me to believe lies about myself and others. I know it is a very popular idea in this world, that we should always listen to our hearts, and do whatever your heart is leading us to do. That's great and all, but what if your heart is telling you to kill yourself or someone else? What if you are so overcome by anger that your heart feels like abusing your children? Just because we feel something, and our heart is expressing itself, doesn't mean we should act on it. This is why it is vital to filter our feelings and emotions and begin to identify the thoughts that aren't true. Now, as I have said in last weeks post, it is also important when we take something away, like our negative thoughts, we need to then put something else on. Like this verse, we need to think about things that are true, noble, lovely and so on. It will do us no good to tell ourselves, "stop thinking that way." We can't. It will take time and effort to begin to change our way of thinking. We need a plan and a strategy.
Let's begin our take action section with identifying exactly the things we believe that aren't true.
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Identifying what ISN'T true about you
Have you ever looked in the mirror one day and thought to yourself, 'I am so ugly.' But then on another day you looked in that same mirror and thought, 'I look so good!' As women, not only do our hormones play a role in how we feel about and see ourselves, (I wrote a little on that matter here) but also the lies that we have unintentionally ingrained in our minds. Feelings, which lead to thoughts, in and of themselves are not a bad thing. It's when they lead to lies, we need to step in and take action. Feelings are a signal to your body to acknowledge that something is happening that needs a reaction, whether good or bad. We then have a choice in what we will do with that feeling if we are in a healthy headspace. Sometimes there are situations in which one feels hopeless and helpless when it comes to being able to make good decisions when our feelings are out of whack. They are incapable of knowing how to filter reality from deception. I have been there, and I know how difficult it is. If you feel this way, please seek help. It's okay to admit we need someone else's help in knowing what exactly it is that is going on in our bodies. For me, it was hormonal, which was something I didn't have control over. What I am discussing here is for those of you who are able to filter healthily what thoughts are good and bad. If you can't do that, know that it's okay. But also know you don't have to be stuck there. Many times I have struggled and been entrapped in the feelings of depression. It took someone else's loving hand to guide me in the right direction, but you also have to be willing.
The first step in identifying those lies for me begins with prayer. When I have a thought come up that makes me fearful or angry, it helps when I ask God to show me if that thought is truth. The next step is what I am about to show you, but I first want you to go through these questions and answer them the best you can. They might be helpful in identifying what the lies are. Last week we worked on our past and what areas might be causing us to feel insecure. Now I want you to keep those things in mind as you answer, and realize that how we have thought about our past has everything to do with feelings of insecurity in our present.
1. Write down how you see yourself physically, such as your weight, looks, hair, etc.
2. Write down how you see yourself as a person, such as your personality, social skills, knowledge, education, job.
3. Are you a person who likes to please others and will do whatever it takes to gain their approval?
4. Are you afraid that you will fail in life?
5. Write down the specific thoughts you have in correlation to these questions and begin to form a list of the unhealthy thoughts you have about yourself or others. If it is a feeling that brings forth thoughts of inadequacy, fear, jealousy, etc., then it is most likely a lie. Again, pray and ask God to dig deep in your heart so that you can unveil these deeply seeded lies you've been believing.
A New Perspective
Keep in mind all of those thoughts you have and lies you believe as we move on to the next section. The most important thing for me to understand if I want to see myself how I was meant to be seen, is to fully understand who God is, so that we can begin to replace those lies with truth. So often we come up with our own version of who God is instead of relying on a source that is trustworthy. I know that there is a lot going around about truth whatever you want it to be. In my opinion, this is dangerous and makes truth seem like something that is interchangeable. Since how we think about ourselves has proven to be fallible, how can our view of God or anything for that matter be true? If we are so prone to believe whatever our emotions want to believe how can we trust ourselves to think we know anything about God just from how we feel? We need a source. I believe that source is the Bible. Sure, it's offensive and sometimes confusing. It's a topic of mockery and thought by many that those of us who believe it are stupid and uneducated. I'm okay with letting them think that. Part of this process is to discover that caring how others think of you, especially in what you believe, will only hinder you in your journey to overcome insecurity. If I were on the outside looking in on this "religion" called Christianity, I would be very confused. It is sad and unfortunate the way many of us Christians have failed the world in showing others who Christ really is. It is important to know that as Christians we aren't perfect, and the last person you should depend upon to get a REAL glimpse of who God is, is a Christian. Sure, we strive to show the world who God really is, and sometimes we succeed and are good examples, but you will only truly know him by opening the Bible and reading it for yourself. What better way to get to know someone then by opening their diary, reading their love stories and their hearts poured out onto the pages. That is how we should read the Bible. As if it were Gods diary.
Let's get back to who God is by figuring out what IS true about you.
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Identifying what IS true about you
- God is Love
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son. That whosoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
"But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness." Psalm 86:15
"Through him, we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:2-5
and that's just the tip of the iceberg of how much he loves us.
- God wants us to be real with him
There have been so many moments in my life where I have been angry with God. When I have cried out to him in bewilderment as to why something is happening in my life.Those moments usually become a turning point in my life. I'm not completely sure, but I think it's because God just wants me to be real with him. He wants to hear my feelings and emotions. He wants every part of me, and when I hold back and try and put on a facade that I have all my shit together, he can see right through it. He doesn't want perfection. He wants my love and obedience to him. he wants my heart, and not just a "sure yeah, I believe in God," but every nook and cranny that I've hidden my emotions in. Whoeve said that our God isn't someone who wants to listen to our feelings and cries for help? If you read Psalms, you will know that David was a very emotional person, and cried out to God in every kind of way.
"3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory."
- Ephesians 1:3-14
What more could we ask for? If you are like me and have experienced the highs, the lows, and all the in-betweens, you will know that life in this world has everything to offer, yet nothing at all. We are bombarded with the world telling us we aren't good enough. That we need to get on a certain diet to be a certain weight, look a certain way, read another self-help book, meditate more and the list goes on. It's funny because the world will also tell you that Christianity will only make you feel guilty and ashamed to be you. How contradictory is that? Sure, some Christians are judgmental, but some atheists are also judgemental. I'm pretty sure all of us have been judgmental at some point in our lives. That's exactly why I don't look to other Christians to see my worth, but only in the word of God. Has anything up until now offered you something that is actually freeing you from yourself and the standard that everyone has around you, or does it offer finding within yourself the answers? I don't have the answers for myself! God help me if I ever rely on myself to get myself out of the many snares I have created. I have tried and still do from time to time, but I always land back at the reality that I cannot do this life on my own. Not to say that there aren't also things you can do physically or mentally to help you feel more confident about yourself. Working out and eating right is definitely a great thing for the health of your body, and is only taking care of what God has given you, but it shouldn't stop there.
What can we relpace the lies with?
Go back to the list you made of the lies you might be believing that cause insecurity and self-doubt. For every thought you have that is a lie, come up with a thought you would like to replace it with. New thoughts will most likely come up daily. Have a journal handy by your bed, and before you go to sleep, keep up on what those bad thoughts were. Write them down and then keep thinking of counter-thoughts you can replace them with, and dwell on the good thoughts. Sometimes it's just replacing a bad thought with gratitude and naming things you are thankful for.
With time, those thoughts will start to change, and you will begin to have victory in filtering your thoughts and feelings that are taking captive your precious mind. I would love to know if this is helping you. Maybe you aren't the one struggling, but your partner or a friend. Feel free to share this with others who could benefit from it.
By knowing who we are in Gods eyes, and how much he loves us will help us replace the lies with truth. In order to do this, we need to get to know him more. The more we know him, the more we will be able to see ourselves how we were meant to be seen. Remeber this, if anything else. God loves you, just the way you are. But he also loves you enough to know you don't need to stay where you are, in a thought process that is filled with lies, opposing his truth.