“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32, ESV)
“Don’t let the false narratives keep you at their mercy. The story you are telling yourself is rarely the story that’s actually true.” That was the message from my time with Jesus this morning.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about false narratives, those I live by and those that I allow to hold me captive. The lies I’ve bought into about myself, my world, and even my God, that make me the absolute worst version of myself. They make me fearful and anxious and insecure. They make me busy and driven and manipulative. They call me to acquire and compare and compete. They tell me I need to earn and achieve and perform, all in hopes of convincing myself and my world that I am actually worthy of being loved. And until I realize that I am already loved, and therefore of infinite value and worth, I will never really be able to love anyone else. I will be too busy trying to extort and manipulate love out of them.
I don't know what your false narratives tell you, but mine tell me I am not enough—not talented enough, not gifted enough, not skilled enough, not smart enough, not attractive enough, etc. And they tell me I suck: I suck as a writer, I suck as a worker, I suck as a son, I suck as a husband, I suck as a dad, I suck as a friend, I suck as a man, I suck as an everything.
When I am believing these lies, they cause me to interpret everything in light them--which is actually oh so dark. In turn, this causes me to create narratives for others that do not exist and assign motives that are simply not true, which just reinforces the lies I believe about myself and my world, only making them stronger. It is a downward spiral that is impossible to pull out of unless Jesus--the way the truth and the life--intervenes. When I let these voices control and consume me, my neediness and fear and insecurity rule the day. It’s astounding, and more than a little baffling, that I give these voices the free rein that I do.
Then Jesus comes along and tells me the truth: “You are seen, you are known, and you are deeply loved. You are of infinite value and worth and do not have to do anything to prove it. You don’t have to do anything to justify your existence. You don’t need others to give you your value and your identity because I have already done that. Let my love be the basis and foundation for everything you do. Don’t let the false narratives hold you hostage, I came to tell you the truth. Abide in my word and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. For if you are not free, it means that you are believing something that is not true. So stop listening to the lies and start believing the truth.”
Lord Jesus, save me from myself. Let your love and your grace and your truth define and determine me. Free me from the lies I believe about you, about myself, and about others, and help me to constantly abide in your truth. Amen.