Thursday, September 14, 2017

What's in Your Box?

(Repost Saturdays, where I share some of my favorite past posts)

I just finished a great book called Through His Eyes by Virginia H. Pierce. It was a great read.

The theme of the book is that we store in our heart and minds (what she calls the Belief Box) three things: Truths (with a capitol T), truths (small t), and untruths.

The Truths are those truths that are universal and eternal: I am a child of God. God loves me.

The truths are things that are true in different situations, culturally or circumstantially, depending upon the person, but have not eternal bearing: A clean house makes me a good homemaker. Having healthy homemade dinners on the table each night will bring my family closer together.

The untruths are things that are simply not true, but mask themselves as truth. These things are the most dangerous, because they are usually negative and damaging.

I know my Truths, and I love them. But, out of curiosity, I decided to make a list of the untruths floating around in my mind. I am typically a pretty confident person, so I was surprised at the untruths that had been lurking inside my Box when I took an honest look.

My list was thus:

  • I am supposed to have the same gifts and talents as other people in my situation have.
  • Other people's strengths and/or successes somehow diminish mine or my worth (this one was the most difficult to admit because I truly am happy for other people when experience success. But sometimes it is difficult when they succeed and I don't. Especially when I am trying my hardest.)
  • I cannot meet expectations of others--they will be disappointed, and I will fail.
  • I am not educated, therefore as intelligent as others in my situation.
  • I don't deserve success.
  • I let people down because my weaknesses outweigh my strengths.
  • I am not good enough.
  • I am nothing special.

AHH! I couldn't believe what was in there! I mean, I knew that I carry some insecurities--don't we all? But, I didn't realize that I allowed myself to see my fears and insecurities as truths, or even Truths.  These untruths were not bubbling at the surface. I don't dwell on them. They don't make me constantly miserable and unsure. But, when I dug deep, they were there. And they shocked me.

I know, in my every day thinking mind, that none of these are true. Consciously I will refute them. If any friend came to me and said they felt that way, I would wrap my arms around them and tell them with all the sincerity that they are untrue. And yet...they still somehow found a place in my Box, influencing my thoughts and feelings and perspective.

Now that I know they are there, the question is how to get rid of them.

That is where I go back to the Truths that illuminate my Box, mind and heart. I find that my untruths are often the polar opposite of Truths. So, I line them up side by side, and do some canceling out.

·       untruth: I am supposed to have the same gifts and talents as other people in my situation have
Truth: God has given me unique talents He knows will make me happy and will allow Him to do His work through me.

·       untruth: Other people's strengths and/or successes somehow diminish mine or my worth.
TruthMy success comes in doing God’s will for me in my life, whatever that may be.

·       untruth: I cannot meet expectations of others—they will be disappointed, and I will fail. (This is more of a prophecy-of-doom born out of fear.)
Truth: People’s opinions are as diverse and unique (and, at times, imperfect) as the people themselves. If I focus on pleasing everyone I will fail, because it is not possible to make everyone happy. It is the expectation and opinion of God that ultimately matters, and if I follow His will to the best of my ability, He will not be disappointed.  

·       untruth: I am not educated, therefore as intelligent as others in my situation.
Truth: Formal education is not a barometer of intelligence, but of opportunity. The lack of formal education does not negate my ability to think, reason, believe, and/or teach. The Truths that are most important to know are not taught on a campus, but through personal revelation.

·       untruth: I don't deserve success.
Truth: I deserve any and all things that God sees fit to give me—even success, as long as I am seeking His will.

·       untruth:I let people down because my weaknesses outweigh my strengths.
Truth: God doesn’t expect me to be perfect. Everyone is imperfect—it is part of this part of God’s plan for us. If we turn to Him, He can help us take ours and others’ imperfections and use them for our good.

·       untruth: I am not good enough.
Truth: God made me good enough.

·       untruth: I am nothing special.
·       Truth: I am special to God.

Virginia told a story in her book about a time when she broke down under the pressure of the expectations of others and her own doubts, fears, and insecurities. A good friend said, "All you have to worry about is pleasing God."

That Truth resonated in me. As you can see, all of the untruths above were cancelled out when I changed my focus to what God's will is, what His plan is, what His view of me is. How grateful I am for my Father in Heaven, and His perfect insight and love! 

I am weak and imperfect. I know that my Box will probably always contain some untruth stow-aways. But I LOVE the fact that, with God's help, I have the power to perceive them and strike them out. Then I am more free to live and move and act in confidence and joy as I strive to live His will. 

The cool thing is that this doesn't apply only to me. It does to you, too.  Right now, in your Box, lie a number of untruths that you perceive as truth.  Go ahead, dig them out. Write them down. Then, prayerfully seek after the Truths that will strike them out. 

Perhaps this is part of the meaning of Jesus's words when He said, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).

There is freedom in Truth--freedom to see yourself through His eyes. Freedom to be happy with and confident in yourself, imperfections and all. Freedom to live His will. Freedom to change and grow. Freedom to feel success. Freedom to love yourself--every part of you.

So, my question to you is, what is in your Box? 

What are your Truths? What are you doing to seek more Truth (for there is Truth out there yet to be understood). 

What are your untruths? What are you doing to eliminate them?

Remember that Truth is freedom, untruths are bondage. I hope you take some time this weekend and take an honest inventory of your Box. Hold tight and cherish the Truths you have in there. Then dig out the untruths that hide in the dark corners, and annihilate them.

You'll feel so much better.

I already do!  
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