There’s nothing worse than being lied to. Lying to someone is an act of disrespect, and I’ve never met a person who isn’t angered when lied to.
But what if the person lying to you is yourself? That might sound impossible, but it happens all the time. Our own minds are masters at getting us to believe things that aren’t true.
The reasons we deceive ourselves are varied. Some people believe lies because earlier in life they were told that same lie, they believed it, and their minds continued to reinforce it. For others, a difficult or traumatic event takes place, and they are emotionally or psychologically ill-equipped to correctly interpret what happened. In an effort to make sense of their hurt, they arrive at a false conclusion, which from that point onward is believed as truth.
I must honestly tell you that my mind tries to lie to me, and sometimes I struggle to reject those lies. I’m going to share with you a few of those lies in hopes that they will encourage you to take the time to review what your mind is trying to get you to believe.
Here’s a lie my mind tells me: There’s no time to rest. There are a lot of moving parts to the church I pastor, and there’s always something to do. I assure you that I stay busy, but when I read about churches that have thousands of people in attendance (which we don’t), my mind tells me that if I just worked harder and rested less, more people would come to our church, too. When families decide to leave us to attend somewhere else, my mind suggests that if I had only done more, they might have stayed. When I try to rest, I hear that voice in my head saying, “There’s so much to do. You should get up and get to work.” I recognize these suggestions as lies, but man, they sure sound like the truth sometimes.
Here’s a second lie: Everything depends on me. I’ve done enough self-care to recognize the source of this lie. I lost my father early in life, and some of the responsibilities of life became mine before I was old enough or ready to handle them. I had no one to help me work through this, so from an early age, I came to the conclusion that since there was no one else to help me, I was on my own, and whatever got done would have to be done by me. I hate this lie, because when I revert back and act as though it’s the truth, other people- people I love and people I work with- are impacted. I become bossy. I micromanage. I wrongly act as if I’m the only one with the answers.
I’ll mention one more: Needing help is a sign of weakness. At this point, I’m certain that all female readers would chalk this up the fact that I’m a man. But for me, this goes deeper than failing to ask for directions when I get lost. My mind tells me that no matter how bad things get, I need to suck it up and keep digging. In some circumstances, this is true. But sometimes I really do need help. I need advice. I need someone else’s perspective. It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of being human. Yet my mind has twisted that need into a lie that makes me feel ashamed to ask.
I’m glad to say that I’m not without resources to fight this battle. My wife understands me like no one else, and she is an expert at helping me sort out the truth from the lies. I have friends that provide perspective and insight that keeps my thinking clear. But the most potent weapon against the lies from my mind is my faith. This might sound counter-intuitive, but because I have abandoned control of my life the leadership of Jesus Christ, everything doesn’t depend on me anymore. In Him, I have all the help I need. I can work hard, then rest at the end of the day confident that Jesus will more than make up for my deficits.
I wonder if there are some lies your mind tells you. If you are inclined to comment on them, I promise to read them and offer encouragement back to you.