“Above all, avoid lies, all lies, especially the lie to yourself. Keep watch on your own lie and examine it every hour, every minute. And avoid contempt, both of others and of yourself: what seems bad to you in yourself is purified by the very fact that you have noticed it in yourself. And avoid fear, though fear is simply the consequence of every lie.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky said that is his novel The Brothers Karamazov, and while I’m not sure about what Dostoyevsky believed when it comes to God, I think this quote sums up what happens in my brain a lot. I lie to myself. It’s not on purpose, but it happens anyway. I begin to believe that I’m not good enough. That I fail too much. That I am unworthy of my friendships and relationships. I believe these things, and then fear begins to grow. What if my friends realize that I’m such a mess and they don’t want to hang out with me anymore? I have these big things I want to do, but what is I never really make a difference? What if no one else likes what I write? Before I know it, I’m paralyzed. Stuck. Not moving forward, towards what God has awaiting me. The lies I believe have quickly lead to fear that controls and debilitates.
But, I think the part that Fyodor missed is that the author of those lies is satan. When we can remember that it takes away some of his power. And when we take away his power, we kill the lies. When we kill the lies, so often, we also kill our fear.
But satan finds ways into our minds. He makes the lies so camouflaged that we even believe them to be truth. My theory is that a lot of our problems are rooted in the fact that we put our identity in the wrong things, and so it’s easy for satan to attack. We allow ourselves to be defined by our job, or our friendships, or the things we lead in. I know I am incredibly guilty of that. Often I find my identity in serving people. While serving people is a good thing, when my self-worth is found in it, we have problem. Serving is great, but it doesn’t define me. So when I begin to find my identity somewhere other than in Christ, I begin to seek approval somewhere other than in my relationship with God, and the things that He says about me. And that’s where satan pounces. He sees an opportunity to poison our minds with lies and fear, and he takes it.
I find myself there more often than I’d like to admit.
But I’m not content there. And you shouldn’t be either. Because fear is the enemy of growth and joy and pretty much every other good thing in life. And “fear is simply the consequence of every lie.”
Someone recently recommended that I read Psalm 139 to remind myself of what God says of me. My response was sort of embarrassing. I told her, “I know that one already. It’s kind of sunday schooly.” But a few days ago I read it anyway, and even though I’ve read it and heard it a hundred times before, it took on new meaning. I read the first verse over and over. “O Lord, you have searched me and known me.” This tells me that He knows everything about me, the good and the bad, and He loves me still. He knows the sins I commit, the thoughts I think, and the harsh words I say, and He still sent His son to die so that I could live in freedom. That truth, my friends, overrides every lie that satan plants, and every lie I’m tempted to believe.