lies, truth and women.

     I was recently asked to share at our church's women's retreat.  Public speaking is NOT my thing but spreading God's truth most certainly is, so I did.  God confirmed in me repeatedly what I was supposed to share giving my scriptures and points and courage along the way.  I thought I would post it here for you as well, because the struggles of the women in my church are not specific to the women in my church but common to women everywhere.  I hope you can find a speck of hope and a propulsion towards a new way of thinking below. 


     First of all, can we agree that the enemy is pretty amazing at what he does?  I mean he is really the best.  He has perfected his craft to the point where the line between truth and lie is so blurred that we can scarcely tell the difference even if we squint and turn our heads and lean in really close to look.  He.  Is.  Good.  It doesn’t help that we have often heard the lie for much longer than we have heard the truth, he’s been in the business forever! 

     And he has etched into our hearts and minds as women several lies.  Lies so vivid and clear that most of us, at some time or another would swear to them as truths.  In fact, I would say that this is one of his greatest accomplishments, I won’t say victories because we all know who wins in the end. 
He has, over time, used our weaknesses, needs, insecurities and busy-ness to convince us to ignore scripture and believe his non-sense instead.  And we do it.  All the time.  Because it’s easy.  And soothing even.  It FEELS good to be vindicated in selfish ways and wallow a little in pity.  Not fun to say or admit, but no less true.     

     Imagine how different our realities could be if from day one we were taught to replace the enemies lies with the Father’s truths!  I mean, he’s not using a new trick.  We know it’s coming.  Why are we not setting up the next generation of women for success by TELLING them the truth while we learn to tell ourselves the truth?  Do we have a good reason?  Because he certainly works on us, as women, at every stage of life. 

     He is the master of BS.  He feeds us lies morning, noon and night.  And the worst part is that we don’t have to believe all of them or even one in whole.  He just needs to be able to implant a tiny seed and more often than not we are more than happy to tend to it and nurture it and coddle it.  We are excellent at nourishing lies.     

Here are some of my favorites:  

**Lie: He has convinced us that we, as women, are in competition with each other.  Whose house is the cleanest?  Whose kids are potty trained first?  Who makes more dinners than take-out?  Who can do more laundry?  Whose husband makes more money? Who stays at home? Who works? Who works out?

First of all, no.  Just, no. 

     Truth: The Bible tells us clearly that as there are many different parts of the body, so there are many different roles in the body of Christ.  Romans 12:4-6 says  “So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other or trying to be something we are not.”  

     In other words, mind your own business, it’s a lot harder to compete with other women when you do.  Focus on God’s plan for YOU!  Some women do this or that or the other.  It’s no matter to you because it’s not your business! 

**Lie:  You are alone.  In dark and sad times, you are all alone.  God has left you, that’s why it’s so dark and hard.

     Truth: Bull honky.  God himself says in Exodus “I will hide you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand as my glory passes by”.  How can He hide you with HIS hand if he is not near you, touching you, holding you?  The creator of the universe is hiding you, THAT is why it is dark!! How can it be darker than that?  He’s so close your eyes can’t focus and once the light shines again you will notice a difference in His presence because it is EASY to cling to Him when life is hard!  
And also we are told in Romans that “I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”. 

     I’m pretty sure God means nothing could separate us.  We are permanently in His hand.  Tattooed on His heart for all of eternity.

**Lie:  Your problems and sin are SO unique and special and difficult and intricate and so catered to YOU that no in the world could POSSIBLY relate.  YOU ARE SPECIAL!  Your problem is the first of it’s kind EVER so of course no one will GET it!  This is why you have to bear it ALONE and just bury it deep inside! 

Right?  We may not tell ourselves that so clearly, but that is certainly the message we feed ourselves when we become overwhelmed with problems.  I’m sorry to say, we are NOT special.  At least not in that way.  

     God says “been there, done that” OR a little more clearly in 1 Cor 10:13 “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.”

     This I feel, is the worst lie from the enemy of them all.  Convincing us that we are SO bad that we don’t deserve the love and attention of others.  That we are so dirty from sin or the sin of our families that no one would want anything to do with us.  He gets us alone so he can get us DOWN!!  And when we are down we aren’t working on God’s plan for us! 

     Well let me tell you something.  I come from a pretty colorful family tree.  I mean like WACKY.  I’m going to share a list of shame-bearing sins that FILL my family tree branches to the point of dragging those branches down to the GROUND.  And the point of sharing them is this: 
To show that I, one person, carry so much JUNK in my family tree that it would be almost IMPOSSIBLE for any one of you and I NOT to find a way that our problems are intertwined in some way.  And I am just one person.  We could find a way to relate and maybe begin to deal with some stuff TOGETHER and to speak TRUTH into it but to get to that point we would have to be TRANSPARENT enough to talk about it.  Out loud.  With each other.  And then it becomes the two of us against the evil one.  And we share with another, then it’s three to one, then four, then five, six, seven...  
     Now before I give this list.  Know this, it’s bad.  Horrendous, even.  But don’t feel the need to rush up here and lay hands on me, it’s OK.  I know it’s messed up.  Just know that these aren’t all ME, just mine in relation to being in my family tree and even though they may not be mine in deed, doesn’t mean that they don’t try to become my shame in title.  The enemy isn’t picky, he just wants me to feel like an alone LOSER, regardless of who owns the problem.    
Ready.  Feel free to mentally count along how many you can relate to:
Insecurity (that should be one for everyone), Selfishness (that should be two), adultery, murder, drugs, alcohol, dishonesty, broken families, stress, premarital sex, abortion, renouncing God, divorce, domestic violence, body issues, job loss, hoarding, sloth-ness, infertility, abandonment, shoplifting, arrest records, prison time, jealousy, AIDS, Cancer, and that is the list I came up with QUICKLY off the top of my head!

Could you tell any of that by looking at me?  By making a quick judgment when we met for the first time?  Could you size me up and guess all that?  Highly doubtful.  To know any of that, you’d have to talk to me, on a real level. 

OR I could be completely arrogant (because it IS arrogance) and decide that I’ve been chosen, specially by God, to carry all my issues alone.  Be all bummed and sad about my unique burdens and allow my emotions (which are easily toyed with by the enemy) to dictate my life and how I feel and how I approach the day and how I interact with others.  That line of thinking gets me in a world of hurt real fast. 

Emotions are fleeting and fickle.  Depression, I read once, tells us that our emotions cannot be trusted.  If “our heart” is saying to keep it to ourselves, call it a liar.  Our heart is not in charge, the God of our souls is!

Don’t follow your heart.  Follow your God. 

     And do you know what the point of all the enemy’s games and tactics are?  Why does he bother with us mortals? The POINT, is that if we are busy tending lies, we aren’t busy building truths.  We aren’t becoming the person God has in His plans!  We are hiding in the dark with our secrets (which is where they grow best!) and not running towards the One with the truth!  If we are crouched down, wallowing in our sorrows, we are not a threat to the plans of the enemy to steal, kill and destroy.
So how do we stop the power of these lies, which are by no means limited to what is listed here?  We are fed lies about our marriages, our kids, our parenting, our bodies, our friends, our family, our salvation, our forgiveness, our jobs...if we can think about it, the enemy lies to us about it.  How do we break free of ALL of this?  One lie at a time. 

     Step one is to be in the word.  Every day.  Fifteen minutes a day coating your heart in TRUTH, saturating yourself with God’s word.  And I’m going to say this, even if you don’t like reading it.  I know, I know, I shouldn’t say that. BUT I know that I personally had to read the Bible, daily, for some time to get to the point where I could say I LOVED it.  That I NEEDED it.  That I couldn’t live without it.  I literally cannot imagine starting my day without it and it is AMAZING how often the words are PERFECT for what I face that day.  

     I would say that step two is to speak the lie you are currently dealing with OUT LOUD to someone you trust, who will speak truth to you in Christ.  Even if you aren’t sure it’s a lie, find someone and talk about it.  Even if it sounds DUMB, which we all fear it will.  Deal with it, don’t shelve it, work through it, find the truth to replace it with.  Work on it until it is right.  Then move on to the next one.  And the next.  And the next and maybe the first one again because we are forever works in progress.  

     I can say from experience that once you start being transparent with the right people, freedom begins to replace shame.  Lies fall like shingles in a hurricane.  The line between truth and lie becomes clearer.  The list of people we can relate to becomes immeasurable.  The volume at which the lies are screamed gets lowered and the whispers of truth become louder.

     Now I’m not saying life has become easy.  Sometimes uncovering a lie leaves a mess to clean up.  Like when you open the closet in your children’s “clean” bedroom.  BUT I will say, when you get the lie out of the way and see the mess it left sitting there.  That is where God meets you (again).  He stands beside you and you roll up your sleeves together and you get to work.  And THOSE times have been the most painful of my life but also my favorite.  Those are the times that I am assured that I am worth the work and effort to clean up and make good as new.  That I am not ALONE, that I am not in competition with anyone, that God is not shocked by my sin. 
     Because God isn’t happy to JUST get the lies out of the way.  He wants to use the truth to spread healing to all the recesses of our souls, areas that we didn’t even know were tarnished, will shine like new before He ever gets done with us.  Because no matter how far we come, we can never get to the place where He will say He is done with us.  He loves us far too much for that, until His son returns, He is content to patiently work with us. 

     Truth is like a light.  Once you have a little, you want more.  The more you get, the brighter the room.  The less corners for lies to hide in.  The less damage the darkness can do. 

Go.  Be.  Light. 

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