Lies…and the Truth that Defeats Them

I am currently reading the book You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth. It is the current book in the (in)courage Book Club. I found this at the time when I was just beginning my study of self-doubt, so when I realized that the entire book was about finding who I am in Christ, and living out His dreams for me, I knew it was a book I needed to read. I am only three chapters in, and I am LOVING this book! It is speaking to me in ways I never would have imagined. First of all, Holley makes you feel like you are her best friend, that you are truly conversing with her. She is open about her own struggles, while at the same time using her background as a counselor and life coach to help you work through the topics.

Chapter three is all about the lies we allow ourselves to believe. Lies that started in childhood, lies that are often spoken to us, or that we tell ourselves. Lies that we hear often enough that they begin to feel like truth. I am still working through the lies that my heart believes, but one of them is that “No one cares what I have to say, so just sit here quietly and listen to the conversation. You’re not smart enough to really offer anything of value.” OUCH!

What is that lie really saying? It’s telling me that I’m not good enough, or that I don’t have anything of value to offer. Is that true? No! In fact, in Psalm 139:13-14, God tells quite a different story. Those verses say:

For You formed my inward parts

You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are Your works;

my soul knows it very well.

What does God say about me? He says that He formed me, He put me together. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God doesn’t make mistakes. His works are wonderful. When I doubt who God made me to be, I am questioning His workmanship.

What about the story in John 8:1-11? A woman was brought to Jesus, her accusers ready to stone her. She had been caught in adutery, a serious offense. What did Jesus do? He started to write with His finger in the dirt. We don’t know what exactly He wrote, no one does. I think maybe He was writing their sins? Or maybe He was just writing the Ten Commandments? I have no idea…but I do know that whatever He wrote, along with His call for the sinless to cast the first stone, caused the woman’s accusers to drop their stones and walk away.

A quote from the book that has been sticking with me these past couple of days talks about how we can imagine Jesus writing Truth in the dust when Satan begins to accuse us. Holley says: “The enemy is ready to throw stones at us. In the dust of our hearts, I picture Jesus writing truth that covers those accusing words:

  • Loved
  • Accepted
  • Chosen
  • Mine”

Are these the words that I’m listening to, or am I choosing to listen to the lies that I’m unloved, unaccepted, alone?

I posted about not too long ago, and how our fears play into our doubts. Tonight, I’m thinking that our fears are sparked by the lies that we believe about ourselves. When we begin to replace the lies with Truth from God’s word, we can also begin to live a life without fear. It won’t be easy, but it WILL be worth it!

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You Can Do It!

I had an AMAZING weekend! It was full of encouragement, friends, business ideas, and so much more. Friday night and Saturday, I went to my first ever Mary Kay Career Conference in Knoxville.  I am SO glad that I decided to go!

The theme of the weekend was “You Can Do It”, which is exactly what I need to be my focus. As I’ve shared in my posts on Doubt, I so often allow the fears in my heart (fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of saying the wrong thing) to stop me in my business. What I heard this weekend was that these fears are common, almost everyone has them, or has dealt with them! Sales Directors and National Sales Directors (the top women in Mary Kay) talked about how they dealt with these fears, and what they did to overcome them. One of them even talked about many of the mistakes she had made in her career, and followed each one with “you, too, can be a National Sales Director.”

Here are some of the main points that I brought home this weekend:

  • Get out of your own way – STOP making excuses! Excuses are lies only you believe.
  • Do something TODAY that will move you forward
  • Step out of your comfort zone, do what others are unwilling to do
  • You’ll never get anywhere if you wait for all the lights to turn green before you leave.
  • I have everything to gain and nothing to lose by taking the next step
  • Make the choice that your dream is bigger than your challenges
  • You don’t have the right to give up on the dream that God has put in your heart
  • Never give up on your dream
  • Enjoy the journey you are on
  • Do the work!

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, those points aren’t just great for a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, but they apply to anyone and everyone who has a dream. We are each designed with specific strengths and weaknesses, and God has given each of us a dream. Does that mean that our dream will always be easy? No way! Achieving a dream or goal takes work…and sometimes that work is hard! Sometimes it requires doing things we’re not comfortable doing because we’re not very good at them. Sometimes we have to do things that are scary. However, if we keep making excuses, we’ll never get anywhere! We’ll never reach our goals when we aren’t willing to take the first step toward our goals.

What is a goal or dream you have in your life? Are you allowing fear or doubt to stop you from achieving that goal? Do any of the points above resonate with you? Which one? What are you going to do about it? (OK, I know, that’s a lot of questions. Feel free to answer the first two or three to yourself and the last two in the comments.)

Sorrow Before Joy

To be so early in the year, 2012 has been a roller coaster for my family.  In the past two-and-a-half months, we have had big highs and even bigger lows. A quick rundown for you:

  1.  In late December 2011, we found out we were expecting baby #2.
  2.  3 1/2 weeks later, it was mid-January. My Mamaw went into the hospital. Two days after, we went to our first OB appointment, baby measured 2 weeks behind schedule. I flipped out. Late that afternoon, my Mamaw passed away. At the end of that week, we traveled to be with family for the funeral and to say our final good-byes.
  3.  At the end of January, we went to our second OB appointment, hoping for good news. We left the appointment devastated and in shock that we will never meet our sweet baby.  We scheduled the D & C for later that week.
  4.  In early February, we headed to the hospital for the D & C. An ultrasound confirmed what we already knew…our baby stopped growing at 6 weeks gestation. At this point I totally lost it. I cried for the rest of that day, and off/on for several days to come.
  5.  Mid-February…Quitter Conference! This was a great weekend, focused on finding and chasing your dreams. We met some amazing people, and learned so much about making dreams a reality. We also had a great date night that week…which was SO needed after our January!

The end of February and first half of March have been pretty low-key, thank goodness! We have had time to really work through a lot of our emotions surrounding the miscarriage, and to begin the healing process. I’ve also been reminded that God knows my heart, my fears, and my joys. He also knows exactly what I need to remember that He is in control, not me. Last week, a family expecting their second child around the same time that I would have been due announced the gender of their baby. While I am truly excited for this family, when I read that announcement, my eyes welled up with tears. I cried uncontrollably for several minutes, grieving the loss of my own child. Once I was able to wipe the tears and “Like” the facebook announcement, I began to chuckle. You see, earlier that morning, I had told a good friend of mine that I felt like my hormones and emotions were finally starting to even out. I felt like I was finally starting to be more like myself, instead of this crazy hormonally emotional person that the pregnancy and miscarriage had created. I laughed as I realized that not only was I wrong, I had obviously been made a liar that day. It was a good reminder that I had been depending too much on my own strength in this process. I still need God every single day as I navigate my life’s journey.

I found this verse today, and though I normally post Scripture from the New American Standard Bible or English Standard Version, I really like the way The Message is worded here:

Psalm 30:5b – The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter.

I LOVE that! I have definitely had a few nights (and days) of crying my eyes out this year. But now, I’m starting to see those days of laughter more and more. The Lord is good, and He is healing my broken heart as only He can.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
    he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
     and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
  to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
     to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

Isaiah 61:1-3 (ESV) (emphasis added)

Have you ever had a night of crying your eyes out give way to a day of laughter? How has God bound your broken heart?

Doubt and Fear

This weekend, my study of Doubt has brought me to the topic of Fear. Why do we doubt ourselves? What, exactly, is it that we fear? Are we afraid people will really get to know us? Afraid they’ll stop loving us because of one tiny (or HUGE) mistake we made yesterday (or even something 5, 10, or 20 years in the past)? Are we afraid that if they see our messy house, they’ll think we’re unworthy of their friendship? Or maybe we’re afraid of the unknown. We think, “If I take this new job, what will happen next? I don’t know, I can’t see the future, so maybe I’ll just stay in this job that I hate because it’s comfortable here.”

There really are a lot of different things that we could be afraid of. I’m not talking about spiders, heights, snakes, public speaking, and that type of thing. I’m talking about those deep down fears, the ones that truly stop us from becoming what God created us to be. These fears are sometimes brought on by the experiences we’ve had in our lives (a “friend” breaks your trust by telling someone else your secret, an abusive relationship with a parent or spouse, another Christian judges you instead of loving you through a period of sin or struggle). Sometimes, these fears are simply brought on by a misunderstanding of who we are in Christ. It can be hard to really find the root of our fears, but I believe that no matter where they come from, God wants us to work through them. He wants us to learn to trust Him, to see ourselves as He sees us, and to move forward from our pasts into the future He has planned.

How do we do that? How do we let go of our fears and hold on to Him? I’ll be the first to say that I don’t have this all figured out yet, myself. I believe that truly knowing what God thinks of me is a good first step. So, what does God see when He looks at me?

  1. He sees His child, whom He loves. 1 John 3:1a “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
  2. He sees that I have been redeemed. Romans 3:23-24 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”
  3. He sees the new me, not my old self. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come”

This is not a comprehensive list. Not even close. However, I think it’s a good start. When I learn to believe these truths, not just in my head, but also in my heart, my fears begin to subside. I begin to have a willingness to step out of my comfort zone, to be more authentic in my life. I begin to share my struggles with someone – my pastor, my spouse, my Bible study group. Yes, I am picky about with whom I share my inner struggles. I can’t, and won’t share them with just anyone, and I don’t believe God wants us to do that. I do believe though, that by sharing with one person, I begin to release the grip I have on my fears, and begin to hold more tightly to the promises God has for me.

Question: What is one of your fears? What is a truth that you can begin to cling to as you release your fears?

Where is Doubt Taking Me?

When I wrote my last post, I honestly thought that I was just writing to myself. I knew that I was writing on a topic that has come up in conversations through the years, but I wasn’t really expecting much to come of that post. I’ve had quite the opposite experience, though. First, I’ve found that the post has opened the door to an amazing conversation with an old friend (not that she’s old, but I’ve known her since high school). Secondly, in the 72 hours since deciding to write on the topic of doubt, I have started doing the 7 Day Doubt Diet that I linked in the last post (I’ll admit, I’ve only done the intro and days 1 & 2), I have seen a lot of tweets, facebook posts, book clubs and blog posts dealing with the topic; and to top it off, the topic of the training at my Mary Kay meeting this week was emotional management. It’s as if God is telling me that this is a topic He really wants me to grasp.

With that in mind, I truly have no idea where exactly this series on doubt is going to go. I’m going to simply post about the things I’m learning, the questions that I ponder after talking you lovely readers, and the questions that I have for you.

Here are some things I’ve been pondering. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments (you can post anonymously if you don’t feel comfortable leaving your name).

  • Can you look back on your life and find one pivotal moment where your confidence faltered?
  • What do you think hinders you most from consistently living with confidence?
  • Be faithful in the ordinary things of life (i.e. Bloom where you’re planted).
  • You have a choice to either let doubt beat you up or let God’s truth build you up. Which choice did you make today?

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

Romans 8:37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

*Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible

Dealing With Doubt

Photo by Shahram Sharif (Creative Commons)

I think that all of us, if we’re truly honest with ourselves, have struggled with doubt in our lives at one point or another. I know that I have struggled with self-doubt for a lot of my life. I’ve doubted I was pretty enough, smart enough, Godly enough, worthy enough; doubted whether I was the right person for the job, the list goes on.

As far back as I can remember, I have struggled with feeling less than confident. I remember starting to worry about what others thought of me as early as fifth or sixth grade. My lack of confidence has affected my friendships. I have a hard time opening up and trusting others, fearing they will reject me or be unwilling to look past my past to see the person I truly am. My worry about how others might perceive me has caused me to have a lot of difficulty in introducing myself to new people. That whole “mingle and ask someone you don’t know these 3 questions” thing…yeah, I hate when that happens! My lack of confidence has kept me from pursuing my dreams. I allow the fear of failure or rejection to sneak in, keeping me from making phone calls or approaching others about helping me with a goal in my Mary Kay business. My doubts have truly impacted every area of my life.

I would love to learn how to be more confident. Not cocky, but to have the confidence that God will equip me to do the things to which He has called me. To know that if He has placed a dream in my heart, He will provide the tools needed to accomplish that dream. In Exodus 3:11, we see Moses question whether he is really the right man for the job to which God has called him. Yet, even in the midst of his doubt, God used Moses to bring the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. I sometimes forget that God uses everyone…the loud, the quiet, the faithful, the adulterer, the rich, the poor. This weekend at church, our pastor said something that really struck me: “It isn’t about what you don’t have, but what you do have.” God knows your unique abilities and talents, and He will use those to bring glory to Himself. He knows my abilities and talents. He also knows my limitations. He knows what He has equipped me to do, and He knows where I would fail miserably. Why do I keep telling Him all the reasons I’m not the right person, instead of seeing what He sees when He looks at me?

In the coming days, I’m planning to explore this topic a little more. I’m using Renee Swope’s 7-Day Doubt Diet as a springboard, but what you’ll read here will be the things the Lord is teaching me through the process.

Migraines…

Mommies with migraines and energetic toddlers don’t mix well. That’s probably not a huge shocker to you, but it’s where I’ve been most of this week. I keep repeating my words of affirmation to myself in an attempt to lift my mood, but this dang headache will just not go away! My hope is that today will be different. I’m hoping that being able to take some Excedrin this morning and a nap this afternoon might finally knock it out for good (or at least until the next migraine hits in a few weeks or months). Today is the perfect day to nap away a migraine. It is dark and rainy…which makes for perfect sleeping weather! With that said, it’s naptime! Good night!