None of us appreciates it when we are lied to by others. Lies erode our trust and can devastate our relationships. Lies are poisonous and destructive, and they are even more so when we begin to lie to ourselves.
Lying to yourself seems to be not only counterproductive but insane, yet so many of us do it every day. If we tell the lie long enough, we begin to believe it. The lie becomes our truth. So what lies do we tell ourselves?
I’m the only person who struggles with this.
You may feel you’re the only person who struggles with your private sin or your emotional illness or your tainted past. The reason you feel this way is because no one wants to talk about that stuff. We try to hide these things because we feel it makes us less appealing as a human being. The truth is that we all struggle. You’re not the first person, the last person, or the only person with your issue. You’re not alone, so don’t convince yourself you are.
No one cares.
I guess maybe out there somewhere is a person who has no one who cares for them, but it’s probably not you! People don’t always respond to us in the way that we would like. It could be that they just don’t know what to say or do, so “nothing” becomes the default. When we are not getting our needs, our tendency is to withdraw. Our “no one cares” becomes, then, a self-fulfilling prophecy.
As long as I don’t hurt someone else, it’s okay.
Well, this sounds noble, doesn’t it? Most of the time when we say this we’re in the middle of or about to engage in something that is dangerous, illegal, immoral, or all of the above. The faulty premise here is that your life is disconnected from the rest of the world, that somehow other people are isolated from the ripples of your life. Truth is… we’re all connected. What you do matters much more than you think – to yourself and those around you.
I deserve this.
“This” could be anything from “I deserve a half gallon of chocolate ice” to “I deserve a new Michael Cors purse” to “I deserve to buy this new pickup truck” to “I deserve to use this crystal meth.” We tell ourselves we deserve it for many reasons. Sometimes it’s because we’ve been successful, like getting an A on a test or enduring a hard week. Sometimes it’s because we’ve failed at something and want to deaden the pain. Whatever it is, we don’t necessarily deserve it. We want it to distract us and give us that momentary rush of satisfaction. We both know we’ll regret the decision in the morning.
I need this.
Honestly, sometimes “I need this” is not a lie. There are indeed things that you need. It becomes a lie when we say we need something when, in fact, we simply want it. Somehow attaching “need” to it makes the expenditure more palatable. It’s a means to justify our wants to ourselves and perhaps to others. Just giving yourself overnight to truly think about and even pray about a supposed need may give you a brand new perspective in the morning.
God wants me to be happy.
Happiness is not a bad thing; it is just not the ultimate thing. It’s not that God wants you to be unhappy; it’s just that His plan for you is far more than mere happiness. In our all-out pursuit of happiness, we tend to abandon things like holiness, kindness, consideration, moderation, etc. We may get to that supposed happy place only to find that happiness packed it’s bag and shipped out a hour before we arrived. God wants us to be truly content in life no matter what our circumstances are, and that can only be found when our true happiness is abiding in Him.
If I only had (fill in the blank), then I’d be satisfied.
This lie is akin to the one above. Most people would put money in the blank, but many would fill the blank with a compatible person or achieving something worthwhile. Whatever one puts in the blank, it’s still a lie. Although each of us has a void of some kind in our lives, looking for people, places or things to fill our emptiness always leads to disappointment. Satisfaction comes in knowing who you are in Christ and trusting that He loves you with an unimaginable, eternal love.
I’ll never change.
With an attitude that that, you may not! This can be true for you but only if you let it be. You can make a change. Trying to change everything overnight might be overwhelming, but you can change one or a few small things and build momentum. Whether it’s your weight, your job, your attitude, your language, or some bad habit, change is possible. If you believe this lie you make it your truth and give it power to keep you bound up. The reality is that change is possible, in fact, change is the norm.
It’s someone else’s fault.
Yes, there are times when it is entirely someone else’s fault, and you have my permission to use the statement when it’s true. The phrase becomes a lie when we attempt to shift the blame for our action or inaction to someone else. It’s easy to play the blame game. Our politicians seem to do it very well. Blaming someone else for the issues in your life may make you feel a little better but it won’t make your life better. Assume responsibility for what you are responsible for and act like a grown-up (but not one of those supposed grown-ups in Washington, DC, please). Excuses get you nowhere.
When all else fails, this is the go-to lie. Life is bad and it’s not going to get any better. When we believe this lie we live defeated. It’s hard to even get out of bed and face the day. We disengage and retreat from life because, well, it sucks! Life is against us. We may even go so far as to say that God is against us. We exist with a dark cloud floating just inches above our heads. But this, too, is a lie. Life can be hard, challenging, painful, and disappointing, but note that flowers can be found sprouting through layers of manure and green blades of grass break up asphalt highways. There is pain and there is beauty. There is sadness and there is laughter. There is suffering and there is victory. Jesus told us that in this world we would have trouble, but He added the comforting truth that we could be of good cheer because He had overcome the world!
I’m not sure what challenges you are going through, but I’ve lived long enough to know that life is not as bad as we think it is or as good as we want it to be. In the midst of our darkness a light shines. Jesus, the Light of the world, has come to bring us peace, contentment, joy, and hope. We simply need to receive what He offers. Believe what is true and abandon what is false.
Jesus has also given us a place to belong, a place we call “church.” There you can connect with others who face very similar challenges to your own and find greater strength than you could ever muster yourself. Here you will find truth to counteract the lies that the world tells you and that you tell yourself. Here you can begin to embrace the life God wants for you rather than the life you assumed you’d have to settle for.
Lies destroy. Isn’t it time you quit believing the lies you tell to yourself?