Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Out With the Old…In With the Truth©

“I don't understand what I do. I don't do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate to do.” Romans 7:15 (NIRV)

Every year, on January 1st , many people make New Year's resolutions. My guess is that you have made such resolutions yourselves at least once in your lifetime. New Year's resolutions are usually the result of our desire to better ourselves by putting an end to detrimental or unhealthy habits and to establish constructive, healthy ones. For some, New Year's resolutions are nothing more than a casual statement, made without much thought or care as to whether or not the goal is ever reached. For others, however, these resolutions are made carefully and sincerely with firm determination to accomplish the goal set forth. These people really do want to make any and all changes necessary and begin the year with a seemingly unwavering resolve to succeed.

While there are those who make their resolutions and do stick with them, statistics say that 70% of us have lost our resolve by February 1st. We find ourselves discouraged and defeated, asking, “What happened? What went wrong?” We, like Paul in the verse above, cannot understand why we don't do the things we want – and even know we need – to do, but instead do those things we despise. It seems no matter how hard we try, how determined we are to stick with our plan for change, we end up doing things the very same way as before.

I think there are several reasons why this happens – whether it is a New Year's resolution we fail to keep or any other change we desire and attempt to make in our lives. Today, I am going to address just one of those reasons. For me, this was by far the biggest hindrance to me ever being able to make ANY kind of lasting change – physically, spiritually, and emotionally – in my life. It has also been the key to every aspect of healing that God has done in my heart. It is what I call the “Faulty Beliefs Syndrome.”

I grew up believing many derogatory things about myself. I was worthless; I didn't matter; I was a burden; I was a hopeless case; I was unlovable. (I could go on, but think you get the idea.) I truly believed those things…in the very core of my being. Any time I would try to make a positive change in my life, those beliefs were inside of me sabotaging any attempt I made at change. Why try to lose weight? I was unlovable, so what difference did it make if I was fat or skinny? Why try to make friends? I would just become a burden to another person. What difference would it make if I spent more time reading the Bible? My life didn't matter and there was no hope for me anyway.

I did have some wonderful, Godly friends who continually tried to convince me those things were lies. They would even point me to Scripture to show me the truth. I would try, desperately, to cling to the truth and change my thinking as well as my actions. I wanted to believe it, once and for all, but I would eventually revert to believing the lies. I could not seem to shake the beliefs that had a death grip on my thinking.

This past summer, I was in the Minirth Faith-Based Program for two weeks. One of the things they spent a great deal of time talking about was false belief systems. Through the things they taught us and an exercise they gave us, I discovered that the reason I could not cling to the truth was because I did not comprehend the true depth of my faulty belief system. I had recognized those lies that were on the “surface” of my thinking. What I didn't realize, however, was that I had other “root” beliefs hidden deep inside my heart that were faulty. My attempts to replace those “surface” lies with the truth were as futile as trying to get rid of dandelions by pulling off the tops. They would disappear for a while, but eventually return in full bloom. Before I could fully accept and actively believe the truth, I first had to acknowledge the deeper lies that were controlling my belief system.

I worked through the exercise they gave us and for the first time in my life, I was able to clearly identify the false beliefs and recognize them as the lies that they were, and to replace them with the unshakable truth of God's Word. I cannot even explain to you how drastically that changed my entire thought process…a change that has not wavered since that day. John 8:31-32 says, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. THEN you will know the truth, and the TRUTH will set you free.” (NIV)

This Scripture has become a reality, over the past several months, as I have truly experienced freedom in a way I could have never imagined, as the result of wholeheartedly believing and clinging to the truth of Christ 's teaching. His truth HAS set me free!

As with all of the healing God has done in my life, it is my desire to pass on what I've learned to help others receive healing in their own lives. I long to see others, bound by the lies of the “Faulty Beliefs Syndrome”, find the freedom that is readily available in Christ…so that they will know the truth and the truth will INDEED set them free. Recently, I had the privilege of sharing this principle (and exercise) with with a dear friend of mine. It has been an INCREDIBLE joy to witness the victory and freedom she now has as well.

If you would like to know more about this process as well as an outline of the exercise, click on the following link (HeartBeat the Magazine -- Healing the Wounded Heart) where you can find this article, in its entirety.

I pray that finding freedom from false beliefs will be your number one resolution this year.

Pressing in to Him!!


Originally published in HeartBeat the Magazine, January 2008