This past year, I had a crash course in renewing my mind. I’d heard that statement about 100 times before, but I never really understood it until these last 12 months. I found myself really needing to renew my mind, because the lies that had crept in were toxic and unkind. They were beginning to fly out of my mouth and change the way I viewed myself and others.
Sometimes lies sound and feel so much like truth. It’s hard to distinguish between the two. So many of the lies we believe about ourselves are half-truths, bound closely with a little shred of truth so we are tempted to listen to them.
Just when I thought I had struck one lie down another would pull up with more vengeance. I felt helpless to fight them off and I started to believe I was who the lies told me I was: unworthy, not valuable, an unnecessary voice in the world. My viewpoint became one of negativity and sadness.
Maybe you’ve experienced this before, helpless to defend yourself. I’m not an expert but I definitely have more practice now in fighting off the lies and replaced them with truth.
First things first, get those lies out of you. Write them down. Refuse to let the lies live in your brain any longer and put them down on paper. You don’t have to hang them up or keep them, but it is toxic to keep all those lies internalized. I often find myself doing an exercise where I draw two columns. In one column I write down every lie I am believing in the current moment. In the other column, I combat those specific lies with truth. This could be truth from the Bible, or things I know to be true about myself in the core of me. For instance: I am a good friend. I know how to show up for someone when they are struggling. The lies want to tell me I am not a good friend but I do know, in the deep of me, that my experience as a friend proves the opposite of that.
Writing down the lies is a way of declaring, “I won’t let you stay and occupy my brain. This is your eviction notice.” Writing down your lies and replacing them with truth won’t fix you overnight, but as you continue, the lies will be weakened. You will start to see the truth seeping in your being, changing your soul.
As you see the lies and truth before you, you’ll begin to realize the power you possess to change the narrative. I learned at the start of this year that I needed to stop looking to the world to tell me who I was. If I was constantly looking for validation from other people or the Internet, it would never be true security. I would always be wanting and needing more.
I figured out the most powerful thing I could do to fight the lies: I could ditch my view of myself— my lowly view that killed my self-esteem— and adopt how God sees me.
Now this is easier said than done. At first, I didn’t believe the truth about myself. I thought it was fluffy and unrealistic to view myself as chosen or set apart, beautiful or desired. But I kept reading. I let the truth sink in. I rested in what 2nd Timothy chapter 3 says about the Bible, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
It’s crazy how, as I read, my viewpoint began to change. I found myself with a new instruction manual, a manual that told me to rejoice and be thankful. A manual that told me to believe good things came from up above. The words of the Bible were kinder to me and more positive than the lies. I decided to get my ultimate truth from the Bible rather than the voices in my brain belting out, “Unworthy… Too much… Too little…”
If you are struggling to believe the truth, find someone who knows it and can speak it over you. This is my friend Dawn. She is a truth-teller for certain. I never understood why God-centered friendships were crucial until I walked through hard stuff with Dawn by my side. Dawn encouraged and pushed me, but what she didn’t do is try to make me believe in myself more than God. She filled me with truth. She pointed me back to the Bible. She taught me how to rest in truth that was bigger than my storms.
There are some friends who will point you back to yourself. There are other friends who will point you in directions which take you nowhere. And then there are people who will tell you good but hard truth. As painful as it is to see yourself through the lens of scripture, it’s necessary. Find people who want to see you win but also want to see you stand on firm foundations, truth bigger than yourself.
It wasn’t instantaneous or an overnight fix, but nothing good ever is. It was a slow building process, and it still is today. But there is something that began to rise up in me with each lie I struck down: hope. A stronger belief. A reality check of whose vision mattered more: mine or God’s. This vision God has for my life is better and more hope-filled than any thought my brain could entertain. I’m clinging to that and moving forward.
Hannah founded the global organization "More Love Letters" and co-founded "If You Find This Email". You can learn more about Hannah on her website, www.hannahbrencher.com