Truth, Lie, Response
You can close your eyes to the things you do not want to see, but you cannot close your heart to the things you do not want to feel. – Anonymous
When I was about 10 or 11, one of my favorite board games was “Dream Phone.” If you’re not familiar with this game (either because you are older than me, or a male), here’s the gist: there is a game board with pictures of fictional (and very attractive) guys, and you have to figure out which one “likes” you. At the center of the board rests a huge, plastic, pink phone, with which you make calls and get anonymous tips that clue you in as to who is digging you. Slowly, through the process of elimination, you cross Ryan, Jake and many others off your list, praying that the nerd Ted isn’t the “one.” I played this game for hours.
Why am I sharing with you about my young dating career? Because this is a perfect example of how often, and how innocently, we internalize messages about ourselves that aren’t necessarily true.
Let me expand on this to make my point a bit clear. Here’s how a simple game like Dream Phone can plant a harmful seed in a young mind: Some guy out there likes me. The goal of this “game” is to collect hints, make assumptions and use all of my brainpower to figure out who is my mystery date. If cute guy Steve likes me, then clearly I’m a winner. If it’s the nerdy/unattractive/unappealing guy, then I’m devastated…because the cute one didn’t choose me. Suddenly, attraction, relationships and emotions are reduced to a board of faces and a large pink phone.
For many of us, our distorted thinking comes from experiences and memories much more severe than a simple game of Dream Phone. Along the course of life, we’ve learned to believe false, shaming, debilitating messages about ourselves. These could originate from childhood, a former boss or work environment, a toxic relationship, the media…the options are endless. What they all have in common is that they leave us feeling awful about ourselves, fearful about life and only a fraction of the people God created us to be.
In the fourth section of Theodyssey titled “Godwalking,” we explored seven different themes associated with spiritual growth. The one that stuck with me the most was Identity. Hear what David Smith has to say about how these negative beliefs affect our identity:
“Living our lives by default means that we simply allow these inner thoughts and emotions to swirl about unnoticed, and thus we let them shape our identity by default…Unless they are noticed and identified for what they are, they settle into the core of who we are, and, in effect, create our very nature.”
Before we know what happened, we assume that all of the horrible messages we’ve been told are actually true.
So what do we do? The best solution that I’ve experienced is the Lie/Truth/Response chart outlined in this Godwalking section. Using a three-columned chart, we were instructed to identify some of the harshest lies we believe. Then, for every lie, we would write out one truth found in God’s Word that would completely negate the lie. Finally, we would write a statement in which we would consciously choose the truth. This may have been the most important step in the whole process. Oftentimes, we have to purposefully choose the truth because we’ve become really comfortable believing the lies.
Walking through this process was challenging, liberating, painful and exciting. Some of the lies I wrote down were old standbys; others were new and cut to the core of my being. They hit on every sore spot I can imagine. But, that made the truth so much sweeter. I wrote verse after verse about God’s unconditional love, his kindness as a Father, his overwhelming grace and the freedom he gives.
Above all else, I realized that I am wanted, fought for, purchased, treasured…and chosen…by the God of the universe.
Take that, Dream Phone.