I kept wanting to write a post about this topic but then I remembered that I already did 🙂 This is a very slightly edited version of something I wrote two years ago. I could say much more now, and maybe say it better, but this will do. I was in the throes of sorting out a lifetime of bad thinking (still am). The renewing of the mind is a lifelong adventure. Thankfully, God is patient and He is for me.
I’ve heard it said, and I believe it, that perception is everything. Perception may not be what’s true, but I feel it’s what matters most when that proverbial *stuff* hits the fan in our lives. Attached to those situations, tied on with a string, you’ll find an invitation to answer the question:
What will you believe?
The ultimate questions we have to answer center around what we believe after something happens to us. Two people can experience the same event, and while one is traumatized for years the other may recover fairly quickly. Perception/belief can be the difference.
As I see it, there are four possible questions we have to wrestle with, depending on the nature of what happened:
1. What do I believe about the situation? Do I see it rightly or are facts skewed by emotion or past events? What do I know to be true here?
2. What do I believe about myself because of what happened? What we say about ourselves is more important than what others say.
3. What do I believe about God? This one is the most important, obviously.
4. How should I respond, having answered the other three questions?
We will all work through things differently based on how we answer these questions. For example, after a divorce; after the loss of a loved one; after a rejection; after a failure; after an abuse: what do you believe about God and what do you believe about yourself?
Where was He? What does He think? Is He angry with you? Is He willing to show mercy? Is He good?
Are you unlovable? Are you a failure? Are you not good enough? Was it your fault?
The other important factor is who we surround ourselves with. Without question, other trustworthy people are essential to getting through the hard things. Isolation will leave us stranded in the mire and so will negative people.
If we can find one or two people that can listen to our story, who love us, who are wise, who are truthful, we need to take advantage of that. Anything kept in the dark will fester and grow and rob us of joy and life. We need other people to speak truth to us: about who God is and about who we are.
Speaking from experience, there is great power and freedom in talking about the things we’d rather cover, hide or avoid. It’s rarely as bad as you think it will be.
We have to go through things to get through things.
We will live “below our privilege,” so to speak, if we believe the wrong things about God and ourselves. We can’t live above what we believe. Our minds must be renewed to the truth in order for us to be free.
Freedom is a daily choice. We have to take the steps and the risks, but it’s so worth it. I promise.