If we’re not careful, I think we all start believing lies about ourselves over time. Whether it’s our own messed up egos whispering fallacies to us, or some outside force like Satan, we can be easily convinced to believe things that just aren’t true.
Some lies are universal to all of us, and some our very specific. Here’s a few of the many lies that I deal with on a consistent basis:
LIE #1 – It’s important that people think I’m smart and funny
I believe that most of us, when we walk into a room, are hoping to come across as the most _______ person in the room. Fill in the blank for you.
Maybe it’s “most beautiful”, “most spiritual”, “most artistic”, “most exciting”, “most attractive”, “most compassionate”, “most intelligent”, “most well-rounded”, “most creative”, or “most amusing”. Whether we realize it or not, we desperately want people to attach these adjectives to us, and we work at making that happen.
For me it’s smart and funny. I want to be the smartest and/or funniest person in the room. Which is a ridiculous thing to type out and look at…and I’m actually tempted to go back and delete it. Not that I think it’s a competition or anything, but if I’m honest, a huge part of my identity is that I want people to think I’m funny and smart.
To think that this is important, however, is a lie. What’s important is not that you perceive me the way I want to be perceived. What’s important is that I am myself, without putting on a facade. And in being real about who I am, that I also love you for exactly who you are as well, so you don’t feel the need to put on a facade around me. And when we can do that, we can enjoy the freedom of not working so hard at looking smart, funny, attractive, humble, and spiritual. We can just be who we are.
LIE #2 – If you keep working hard, you will be able to create your own destiny
I think it’s true that working hard is honorable, and that God honors it. But putting in an honest effort isn’t like rubbing the genie lamp. The Bible says “Unless the Lord builds the House, they labor in vain who try to build it.” There’s no exception in there for builders who “work really hard” even though they are outside of God’s will.
For me personally, this means I ought to keep working hard at the things I love, but I must never forget that it’s ultimately God who has plans for my life that are more important (and better for me) than my own. I will continue to pray and seek Him in hopes that my desires, talents, and direction lines up with what He has for me, but I’ve been wrong before about where I should be, and I might be wrong again. Hard work is great, and I’m going to continue to pour myself into the things I do, but it’s no guarantee of success.
LIE #3 – Becoming a published author is going to bring fulfillment to my life
It’s been almost 2 years since I first discovered I wanted to be a writer. Since that time I’ve had a handful of book ideas come in and out of my head. One in particular made it right to the precipice of becoming a book, but couldn’t make it past the final hurdle at a publishing house. Another idea I’ve had is currently in the process of trying to find it’s way through the maze of editors and salespeople in hopes of getting published. Like most book proposals, the chances of it getting picked up are slim. That’s just the way it is.
But here’s the thing I need to keep reminding myself: a book deal isn’t going to change my life. Will it be rewarding and satisfying? Absolutely. It will feel great, and it will be something I’ll always be able to have on my resume. But I’ve seen enough of my fragile ego to know what will happen next. Once the luster of being a published author has worn off, I’ll start to obsess over book sales. And once that first book has made it’s run, I’ll start to obsess over a second book, and wonder if I’ll be a one-book wonder. There will always be another milestone to reach for, always another white rabbit to chase.
For me, fighting against this lie means putting a book deal in its proper place. Yes it will be rewarding and a testament to the hard work I’ve put in. Yes, I will continue to work towards it. But I will not be duped into thinking it will bring me everlasting joy and fulfillment. It will not make it easier to write blog posts, be a good husband, and be a better dad. When it happens, if it happens, it will be a gift from God and a testament not just to the hard work I’ve done, but also to the grace and mercy he’s given me. And if it never happens, I will be okay with that. Because to think otherwise is to place way to much emphasis on something outside of my control.
I’m not asking you to share your struggles here – though you can if you like – but have you sat down recently and thought about the lies you might be believing? Are you believing things about yourself or your circumstances that just aren’t true and may actually be harmful to you?
I challenge you to find some quiet time this weekend and reflect on it. Ask God to help you see through some of the lies you might be believing. It’s not easy, but it can be very healthy.
(I know that was a little more personal than I usually get on here, so thanks for letting me share.)