Where do these messages come from? For many of us, these lies are a part of the "golden oldies." Maybe you have a radio station like this in your area. They play music from earlier years. When I hear this music, I remember high school years and early college years. Occasionally, I go to this station and hear one more round of groups like the Beatles; Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young; and early James Taylor. Such groups bring back a lot of memories.
Some of us hear old messages from long ago that are not so "golden." These are messages that may be stored within the recesses of our brains but we replay over and over again. Many of these messages are faulty. Some are just downright lies.
Some examples of such messages?
You will never really amount to much. (Don’t even think about going beyond what any of us — family or friends — have experienced.)
You can’t do it. (Too many obstacles for you. Why, how will you ever….?)
You are not really worthy of being loved. (Think about some of the things you’ve done. How could you ever really be loved by God after what you did on that trip a few years ago? What about the time you ….)
You must keep up with everyone else. (What would people think if you drove an old car like that or if you lived in a smaller house than your friends? Why, you don’t want them to think that you are not successful, do you?)
You must make sure people always think well of you. (After all, you don’t want them to think you are lacking in any way. You don’t want them to think that you are not as successful as someone else, do you?)
Do any or all of these internal conversations sound familiar?
Some years ago, when we were still living in Kansas City, I was meeting with a fine Christian counselor every other week. At the time, I was in a seriously conflicted church situation and found this person to be very helpful in this time of high stress.
I recall talking with him one day and mentioning to him that I had received a compliment regarding my work from a man I greatly admired. I must have gone on and on about how much it meant to me. Finally he said, "Why is this so important to you? I know it is nice to receive a compliment from someone you admire and respect, but this seems way too important to you."
That one comment was so helpful. Why? Because I began to realize that I had been listening to a message that I had replayed again and again in my mind for many years. The message?
You are only okay if another recognizes you or affirms you. If you do not receive a "well done," then you are not doing well in your work or in this life.
Without really being conscious of this, I had rehearsed this message repeatedly through the years. The conversation that day in this counselor’s office helped me identify a lie that was interfering with my life. I became aware of this lie that I had believed and had been listening to repeatedly. At that point, I began to think about the implications of believing such a statement. I also began to think about a true statement that better described the reality of my life than that one.
It could be that none of this relates to you at all. Yet, I have a hunch that more of us believe these lies than we admit — or even realize.