believing lies

Lie #9 I Can Fix It

I fall for this lie all the time. I want to believe I can fix problems so badly.

Here’s the truth.

I usually can’t fix it.

The situations I can fix are extremely rare. Not only that, most of the things I want to fix are frankly none of my business.

Instead of trying to fix it. I need to be fixing my eyes on Jesus and my purpose — the race set before me and the prize I am racing towards.

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.
— Proverbs 4:25 ESV

Wanting to fix situations limits my ability to listen to others. Instead of really listening to what I’m hearing, I’m thinking ahead to problem-solving solutions. Listening is usually the kindest thing you can do for a friend, so I should focus completely on just listening.

Thinking I can fix things puts myself on a different level than the person with the problem. Instead of being peers, I put myself as a fixer who is higher than the one with the problem.

When I think I am supposed to fix situations, and it turns out reality dictates I can’t, I have unnecessary shame. If I think I should be fixing it, and I can’t, it can make me want to avoid a situation or the friend with the unsolvable problem.

In short, trying to fix it often pushes me farther away from others instead of bringing us closer together.

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Fix it, Jesus.

Lie #8 Certainty Is Possible

One of the ways I know I’m not doing well mentally is that I am waiting for certainty to move forward or I am wanting certainty from a situation where it isn’t possible.

When I am wanting to be certain of an outcome, what is going to happen in the future, or wanting certainty in what someone else is thinking, their thoughts behind their actions, I am wanting something I can never have.

I can’t know these things.

I can get stuck wanting these things.

I have been stuck wanting to know the future. I have bee stuck wanting to understand other’s thoughts and actions.

If we want to move forward with our lives, we have to accept that we just won’t have all the answers.

Not knowing can put you in two very different places. It can put in a place of paralysis, full of fear. Or it can put you in a place of bravely facing the unknown, otherwise known as having faith.

We aren’t suppose to have all the knowledge. We aren’t supposed to see all the steps and pieces in this life. It doesn’t work that way. It never has and never will.

There are things we can be certain about as Christians.

Knowing those things about God’s relationship with us is what we hold onto as we deal with these uncertain, difficult times in our life. Searching out these truths brings freedom, not fear. It will never bring you to a place of feeling stuck, but it will bring to a place of open hands and surrender.

Surrender isn’t a comfortable place, but it is the best place.

If you find yourself stuck, ruminating uncertain situations or confounding people in your mind, step away from wanting certainty. If you find yourself stuck facing a decision, and you think you can’t make up your mind without every ever-loving fact, step away from wanting certainty.

Let go of the absolute words about your life right now or your thoughts about yourself. Stop using: should, shouldn’t, never, always, everyone, no one, everything, nothing, must, and ought.

Embrace: maybe, trust, possibility, surrender, imagine, adventure, brave, and hope.

So don’t be embarrassed to speak up for our Master or for me, his prisoner. Take your share of suffering for the Message along with the rest of us. We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus.
— 2 Timothy 1:8-10 The Message

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Lie #7 You Have To Say Yes

In my early twenties, I was a young, new mom. I went out in search of mom friends and friends for my little girl who loved to talk by joining a few playgroups. I was very insecure because of my age. I wanted to get the parenting gig right, and I had no idea how to do that. I wanted to be liked. I didn’t want to be criticized. So I thought I had to say “yes” to every opportunity to prove to the older, more-experienced moms that I was responsible and capable.

I said “yes” to many things that might be parent adjacent like baking cookies, organizing crafts, and whatever else was needed. I said “yes” to things that had nothing to do with parenting and, in fact, probably took time away from my children like being treasurer of the homeschool association.

My motive was probably a high percentage towards wrong on a scale of pure to neediness. In many ways, I wanted to prove my worth by volunteering and knocking that task out of the park.

I don’t regret those yeses. I learned things and grew as a person by serving others.

I also said “yes” out of a fear of being overlooked the next time. What if they never ask me again? I wanted to be needed and well thought of. I wanted to seem capable, cool, and smart to the older women I was making friends with.

As my children were older, I was able to be more involved with our church that is really more of a children’s ministry than a church. It had lots of outreach to under-resourced neighborhoods: feeding programs, free camps, and Bible classes. I started saying “yes” to all I could in our ministry too.

My motives were a little better when it came to these yeses. I had lost my brother to suicide, and life felt so much more urgent. I wanted to love these children and make sure they knew about Jesus.

I ran heavy and hard at ministry. The undercurrents were that neediness of my soul wanting approval, seeking to prove my worth.

I had to burnout to learn the lesson that I could say “no.”

I had to realize how protecting my times of quiet and rest was crucial to ministry longevity. I needed to protect my time for the “yes” I should say, and I would bring God glory by serving out of a place where I was secure in His love instead of needy for others’ approval.

Saying “no” is still hard for me because of the bad habit of people pleasing, but I am fighting that lie that I have to say “yes” every time I say “no” when I should.

Have you believed the lie that your “yes” is required? What is something you know you should be saying “no” to in your life?

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A song for you today.


Lie #6 I'm Too Much

My thoughts are too much.

My ideas are too much.

My feelings are too much

I take everything too seriously.

I care too much.

I make people uncomfortable because of my excess of thoughts, ideas, and feelings.

These are all the lies I believed about myself centered around this idea of being too much. And these lies aren’t just lies. They are shame. I believed there was something wrong with me. I constantly censored myself around people because I believed they couldn’t handle it if I let them see the real me — hear what I was really thinking, share all my ideas, or show what I was really feeling. I’ve been censoring myself for so long that I don’t know if I will ever be comfortable enough to stop completely.

If I cry, I’m being too emotional. If I laugh, I’m being too flippant. If I talk, I’ll probably be disagreed with. If I don’t talk, I’m being too quiet.

This is really hard to write about. I’ve been dreading sharing this because this place in me is still raw. I don’t have it all figured out. I’m still changing this lie to truth in my thought patterns.

But I know so many of you have this same lie haunting your thoughts and actions. I know so many of you shame and censor yourselves too.

Let’s make a deal. Let’s quit believing this together.

I’m not too much.

You are not too much.

You know how I’m beginning to see the light of the truth about us? I’m beginning to see a fuller picture of who Jesus is and knowing that allows me to shine a light on the truth about us.

Jesus is the Great Acceptor.

He did not come to earth to point out our flaws. He came to earth to bridge the gap between our possibility of righteousness without Him to our possibility of righteousness with Him. He came to bring us life, not tweak our personality. He came because he loved us — who we were created to be, not to dim or censor our personality to be less.

God sees you and knows you, and He doesn’t think you are too much because you are not too much.

God loves you and likes you, and He doesn’t ask you to censor your thoughts, ideas, or feelings because He already knows them anyway.

Here’s the thing that makes being yourself hard. There are people that will reject you when you share your thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Guess what? It’s ok. You are not any less of a wonderful creation because a person doesn’t like you.

The work of fighting these lies also requires the work of letting go of needing acceptance from other people.

I already have the only acceptance I need from the Great Acceptor.

It is all I need. (Well, it is all I want to need. I have yet to let go of that addiction to people pleasing completely, but I am fighting for that freedom because I need it to be healthy.)

You already have the only acceptance you need from the Great Acceptor.

He knows you, sees you, loves you, and likes you.

Quit shaming yourself. Allow yourself to be you. Share your ideas. Show your true feelings. Quit worrying about people’s reactions.

Use common sense as you do this. There are unsafe people in this world, and you may need help figuring out who is a safe person to share your feelings with.

In safe situations, be you.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
— 1 John 3:1 ESV

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A song for you today.

Lie #5 You Are Either Good At This or That

In seventh grade, my math teacher suspected I was too good at math to be in the regular class I was in. She gave me a test, and apparently, I scored well enough to convince the school to let me skip pre-algebra and go straight into algebra. 

There was a lot of left-brain, right-brain talk going on in the early 90s. Somehow I got the idea that if I was never going to be good at Language Arts because I had been dubbed a math person at that point. (Never mind the fact that I devoured books all through my childhood and I don’t remember not being able to read.)

My junior year of high school the English class I would have been in didn’t fit my schedule. I convinced the advanced English teacher to allow me to join her class instead. My motivation wasn’t purely academic. My two best friends were in the class. Even though I made good grades in the advanced class and was able to stay in the advanced class my senior year, I would have told you I was good at math and bad at language arts because I had put myself in that box in seventh grade. 

Even after I dropped out of my pre-calculus class my senior year, I would have still told you that I was a math person.  

I choose accounting as my major in college because I was a math person.  

Even though one of my favorite college class memories was talking about The Awakening in my sophomore English class, I would have told you I was a math person. 

I loved a lot of my college business classes, and I even to an upper-level math class called set theory for as an elective for fun. 

The truth is that I was good at different portions of math and I was good at different portions of Language Arts. It wasn’t an either-or situation.  

I’m good at reading and writing. I’m awful at spelling. I’m good at algebra and theory. I’m awful at doing math in my head and geometry.

If I had embraced what I was good at, I might have studied something different in college. I might have started blogging and writing sooner.

I think we have a tendency to look at spiritual gifts the same way. If I’m good at teaching, I must be bad at hospitality. If I’m good at prayer, I must be bad at evangelism.

Or sometimes we don’t know what our gift is because we are too afraid to try.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.
— 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 ESV

Don’t put yourself in a box. Try serving, even in areas that are uncomfortable.

Spread your wings. Allow God to paint your story outside the lines.

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Lie #3: All Checkboxes Are Created Equal

I can get the same sense of satisfaction from finishing a tv show as checking off a box in my planner. I feel as accomplished when I add another finished book to my Goodreads account as I do posting a blog post.

As someone who enjoys finishing tasks, I take enjoyment when I check off a box that I’ve accomplished something.

But not all checkboxes are equal or accomplish the same thing in life. I can fool my brain into thinking I did something at the end of the day. I can believe the lie that I’m accomplishing what I should be doing with my life by watching a tv show.

There are survival accomplishments: buy the groceries, pay the bills, file the taxes, do the dishes, wash the clothes, and read yo’ Bible.

There are make-life-better accomplishments: go to that doctor’s appointment, take my kids to the dentist, Target runs, organize that closet, buy some flowers, water the plant, meet with the insurance agent, and/or actually put up those clothes and dishes you washed.

There are entertain-your-brain accomplishments: binge the show, read that mystery novel, listen to the music, or maybe Wednesdays we PopCast.

Then there are the accomplishments that actually are long-term, what-am-I-doing-with-my-life accomplishments.

I can get bogged down in the weeds of just finishing survival accomplishments with a side of entertainment accomplishments and never actually accomplish the things I want to do in life (especially when my mental health isn’t the best.) I heard a podcaster call it “running the errands of life.”

I have goals that will never get accomplished if I never put time towards them. These goals require me doing things that I don’t always feel like doing. I want to be a better writer. I want to study my Bible with intention. I want to publish a book with a traditional publisher. I want to disciple my kids. I want to have a marriage I enjoy. I want to see a book I wrote on the shelf at Target. I want to really know God. I want to fulfill the Great Commission to the best of my ability. I want to make life better for other people. I want to enjoy my family and love them well.

What will my life be known for?

What will your life be known for?

Are there things you want to accomplish that get pushed to the back burner? Have you believed the lie that all checkboxes are created equal?

Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us.
— 2 Corinthians 6:1 The Message

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Song for you today.

Lie #2: "You're Too Quiet" = Something Is Wrong With Me

I heard it again today. A woman leaned over to me and whispered, “You’re too quiet.” I had tried to interject a thought during a discussion, but the group leader who was leading the discussion moved on without hearing my comment.

I want to make it clear that the leader and woman didn’t mean any harm, and I didn’t take offense.

When I heard, “You’re too quiet,” I physically shook my head “no” and I was honestly surprised to find myself refuting her words with my head shaking back and forth. My body had responded before my brain knew what was happening.

The next thought I had was to see the humor in hearing these exact words today when I knew I was writing this Write 31 Days Series.

And then my next thought was that I realized I wasn’t disagreeing that I was not quiet, I was disagreeing that I’m too quiet.

That little word — too — changes so much.

I’ve heard it all my life, and I know the words were often spoke to fill awkward silence. I can’t know the intention of the words, but I know the message my heart received every time I heard them.

I heard, you should change because the way you are is wrong.

I am quiet. If you met me in person and then had to try to describe me to someone else, I think you would probably use the word “quiet” in your description. I know I could not change this fact about myself if I tried.

The other thought I had as I was shaking my head “no” this morning was, what I’m hearing does not mean that something is wrong with me.

As I’ve worked hard to fight negative self-talk this year, I’ve learned that the other side of this spiritual battle is liking myself by embracing the exceptional way God made me.

Embracing this quality, quietness, in myself was a fight because I didn’t know how to see the positive attributes around my quietness when I had focused on the wrongness of my quietness for so long.

Here’s what I learned to appreciate about my quietness. I know my quiet allows my soul to dig deep, ask difficult questions without fear, observe my world, and notice the other quiet humans who often go unnoticed.

I’m not sure I would choose quietness if I could change myself because outspokenness is applauded in our culture, but loving myself requires I appreciate this quality.

What quality to you struggle to appreciate about yourself and what does that attribute allow you to accomplish in life?

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.
— Exodus 14:14 ESV

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Here’s a song for you today. I hope I didn’t shake my head this crazy this morning. Ha!

Lie #1: Everyone Berates Themselves in Their Thoughts

As long as I can remember I’ve had critical, shame-filled thoughts about myself. I thought everyone did.

It went beyond correcting myself when I did something wrong. 

An example of a correcting thought might be, “I knocked off the cup. I need to be more careful next time.”

An example of a shameful, berating thought might be, “I always knock off things off. I’m so clumsy and awkward. I have no coordination and I take up too much room. Other people aren’t like this. What is wrong with me? I’m the worst.”

After a retreat leader brought up my negative self-talk at a ministry retreat we attended last fall, I asked my husband about his thoughts toward himself.

“Don’t you have these types of thoughts?”

The retreat leader had me list out all the negative thoughts I had about myself. I was on my third page, and I wasn’t done yet.

“No,” he said emphatically. “I don’t think that way about myself at all. It worries me that you do.”

I tore myself down in my thinking, and I was shocked to find out that everyone didn’t do the same.

I’ll be sharing some of those negative things I thought about myself this month because all of the things I allowed my brain to repeat to myself in my head were lies. I reinforced those lies by repeating them and believing them in that invisible space no one can see and hear.

The effect of berating myself and believing those lies was not invisible though. It spilled out into my life in so many ways. It affected the speed in which I could slip into anxiety or depression. It affected my ability to be objective about my relationships with friends and family. It pushed me into perfectionism. It enabled my people-pleasing to continue because I if I could get approval from others then maybe I could prove the voices in my head wrong. It made me wear shame-colored glasses that changed how I viewed everything in my life. I was constantly on the warpath of striving to prove my worth.

For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
— Proverbs 23:7a NASB

It was daunting to think about changing the way I thought. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t think that way about myself.

Realizing that not everyone had pages and pages of negative self-talk gave me hope.

Not everyone rakes themselves over the coals in their thinking, and I didn’t have to either. 

If you need to hear this because you believed this lie too: Not everyone lives with negative self-talk. You don’t have to think that way. You can change the way you think. You can stop berating yourself in your head.



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Here’s a song for you today. John Ortberg says that the soul is needy like Bob from What about Bob. That’s accurate.