Lies Women Believe: Chapter 9

Lies Women Believe…about Circumstances!

Boy, did this one hit me hard!  I am struggling this month.  Hormones are raging, tempers flaring, and communication hindered because of both of those!  You think I would have learned after Chapter 8 about my response to my emotions, right???  Well…welcome to the first trimester of pregnancy.  Yep!  almost 11 weeks pregnant today!  And really struggling with controlling my blood sugar levels….

…and frustrated that I have to wait a little bit longer to go back on my insulin pump…

…and frustrated with the lack of communication from doctors and nurses…

And yet, it is a 3-day weekend where we are supposed to be remembering our fallen soldiers and thanking those who have fought for our freedoms.  I need a perspective shift.

Since reading Chapter 9, I have been a teary mess!  Thinking about my brothers, cousins, uncles, and grandfather who have been in and out of the military, facing battle, or just keeping the peace…I am honored that they have risen to the call of our nation, and grateful for their acts of service.

So, with this new perspective shift, let’s dive into the lies and truth found in Chapter 9 of Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book.

Lie #36:  If my circumstances were different, I would be different.

Truth #36:  Man, I have thought about this one A LOT over the years!  If only I weren’t diabetic… If only my sister had waited one more day for me to come home… If only I had not gone on that missions trip… If only…

The vicious What If cycle can eat you alive!

A lot of these “if only’s” and “what if’s” I have dwelt upon over the years have to do with my sister’s death by suicide.  I blamed myself for a very long time, and was trapped in depression because of it.

Then, one day, I heard my former Youth Leader speak a message at church about “What if’s.”  He blew my perspective out of the water!  I had been dwelling on the negative “what if’s!”

What if…God has a plan for my life through this pain?

What if…God is glorified through this disease He has allowed me to have?

What if…it is not about my feelings and emotions?

What if…God really does make beauty from ashes?

What if…my circumstances have strengthened me, built my faith, and allowed me to draw closer to my creator, my shelter, my fortress, and my God?

In that moment, I began to realize that if my circumstances, I really would be different…but NOT for the better.  My faith would not be what it is, and I would not be who I am.  And who I am is a beautiful daughter of the King of kings, who seeks to honor and glorify Him to the best of my ability, who frequently falls into His arms seeking forgiveness and wisdom, who stumbles and grows ever closer to Him.

God has allowed me these circumstances to teach me, to comfort me, to be my strength in the midst of my weaknesses.  This is all over scripture!  Take a look at these passages:

Job 1:8-12   And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Romans 8  in its entirety speaks to this truth.  Verses 37-38 bring me the most comfort:  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalm 139:16  Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were  formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

God KNOWS.  He KNEW all these things would happen to me.  And yet, nothing can separate me from Him.  He knows, and He is there, and He LOVES me through my circumstances!  We have a God who has experienced pain and suffering, even death and grief.  He knows my pain, past, present, and future.  I have found much peace in that.

 

Lie #37:  I shouldn’t have to suffer.

Truth #37:  So why does God allow me these circumstances of suffering?  Another question is, “Why not allow these circumstances?”

Scripture never once promises us a life free from suffering.  In fact, Christ and the disciples often write about suffering!  My Savior suffered the deepest pain and humiliation known to man when he was whipped, beaten, despised, ridiculed, crucified, and taunted while he died.  Three days later, He ROSE from the grave and CONQUERED death!  But if my own Savior willingly suffered for ME, why would I think myself above suffering?  Am I willing to suffer for HIS sake?  Even then, suffering in America is an easy life compared to suffering in other countries.  I am not facing death because of my beliefs.  I have a chronic illness that is treatable with insulin and glucose monitoring.  Easy compared to stoning, rejection, and death because of faith in Jesus.  Perspective is everything.

Passages of Scripture about suffering:

Romans 5:3-5  Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

1 Peter 4 says A LOT about suffering.  Verses 12 and 13 really speak to the heart of what it means to suffer though:  Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Isaiah 43:2  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,and the flame shall not consume you.

 

Lie #38:  My circumstances will never change–This will go on FOREVER (as I visualize the face of one of the boys from The Sandlot…)

Truth #38:  I cling to the truth that God’s timing is perfect.  I will not always understand why suffering endures as long as it does, or why illnesses last as long as they do.  But I know my God is sovereign.  In comparison to Eternity, these fleeting moments of pain and trial are just that:  fleeting.  Temporary.  A blip on the timeline.  This does not make the immediate moment easier.  However, that truth allows my perspective to adapt.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”  Do not lose heart!  This momentary affliction will pass away.  

 

Lie #39:  I just can’t take it anymore!

Truth #39:  Raise your hand if you have ever said this!  I just raised BOTH my hands.  Yep, we frequently find this phrase slipping from our mouths, right?

In these moments, I am reminded of my weakness.  I can’t do this…on my own.  But with the Grace of God, I can endure with HIS strength.

Take a look at some more passages from 2 Corinthians:

11:21-30

But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?  If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

The man who wrote this passage is a man who once persecuted and killed people who claimed to be Christians.  And here, he has endured HOW much for the sake of Christ?  And I throw my hands up when my son cries for two hours!  I am so weak…

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 is a passage I have referred to often in my blog.  Read it once again:

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Psalm 130 is another great description of waiting through the suffering, of enduring and trusting in the Lord.

 

Lie #40:  It’s all about ME.

Truth #40:  It’s all about GOD.  Who am I, to think myself greater than the creator of the universe???  Who am I, to think that my issues require more attention than another person?  For we are all equals in the eyes of God, and we are all subject to His authority.  Nothing exists apart from what God allows.

Colossians 1:15-23 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

This truth really put my frustration with my doctors into perspective.  God gives me peace, words, and wisdom.  I will trust in Him and in His timing for this.

Lies Women Believe, Chapter 8

This was a deep chapter.  As I read the lies and the truths that followed, it hit me: with every emotion I experience, I have two choices.  I can act according to the way I feel, or I can pray and respond in obedience to my God.  I have a lot of work to do in order to bring myself into alignment with God’s Word.  So, let’s examine each of these lies, and the truth God is revealing to me through Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s writing:

 

Lie #32:  If I feel something, it must be true.

Truth #32:  God’s Truth is what is true.  Emotions are fleeting, and tainted with our sins and desires of the flesh.

Ladies, how many of us have ever said, “Oh, I know I love _____ because I just feel so wonderful when I am with him!” only to be completely disappointed the next week when we feel like garbage because he broke our hearts.  Our feelings are just that:  a fleeting emotion that is affected by body chemistry and circumstances.

I know I get this way sometimes when I worship too.  I get such intense feelings that I randomly burst into tears and fall on my knees to cry out to my God.  Yes, we are supposed to have intense emotion and desire for God, but our relationship with Him cannot be grounded in how we feel.  I like Lee Strobel’s approach to faith:  seek the FACTS.  Emotions can get us started on the path toward God’s Truth, but we need a rock solid foundation.  For me, that foundation is built on His Word, the circumstances He has allowed me to experience, and the evidence of His Truth through those experiences.  I have felt a variety of emotions toward God:  extreme awe, deep love, intense anger.  Yes, anger.  When my sister died, I was so angry at Him for NOT answering MY prayer for her!  I got so angry, I even questioned whether He HEARD my prayer!   Have you ever felt that way?  So I stopped talking to Him.  Yep.  Just stopped praying.  I gave God the silent treatment.  Did my response out of anger change who God is?  Did it change His mind and make Him bring my sister to life?  No.  God was, is, and ALWAYS will be.  His way is perfect, even when I don’t understand it.

In marriage, our “feelings” for our spouse will ebb and flow across a wide spectrum.  Even when we feel “hate” toward our spouse, does that change the fact we are married?  No.  Emotions are so fleeting, that true relationships need to be built on more than just how we feel toward each other.  Communication is key, especially with God.  Our spiritual highs will only last so long.  Our honeymoon stage in faith and in marriage is only so long.  When that dreamy mist lifts, we hit the ground running, and if our foundation is built on something other than God’s Word, good luck keeping up.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things,and desperately sick;who can understand it?“I the Lord search the heartand test the mind,to give every man according to his ways,according to the fruit of his deeds.””

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ, my righteousness.  Emotions are sinking sand.  God’s Truth is the rock upon which I stand.

 

 

 

Lie #33:  I can’t control my emotions.

Truth #33:  This is partially true:  I cannot control my EMOTIONS, but I CAN control how I RESPOND to my emotions and to those around me in the mess of my emotions.  This truly is where the fruit of Self-control and Patience is most evidenced.  I can take captive my thoughts, and question, “Why am I feeling like I want to cry every minute of the day?” or “Why do I get so ANGRY every time I talk to that person?”  My emotions can be tools to revealing the deeper issue that I need to address.  I may not have realized what day it was and it is a day that reminds me of my sister.  Or the anger toward this person is because s/he exhibits behaviors I have that I don’t like and wish to change.

So, instead of acting out in anger or depression, I have to take these thoughts captive, bring them to God, and seek His wisdom.

Philippians 4:4-9  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Colossians 3:1-2  If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Romans 12:1-2  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

 

Lie #34:  I can’t help how I respond when my hormones are out of whack (a.k.a., P.M.S.).

Truth #34:  This is a hard truth for me.  Before I share what God has taught me, let me share an experience from yesterday morning:  My husband and I have one car, and we were getting ready to leave for the morning so I could drop him off at work and go grocery shopping.  FIVE times, I had to go back to the house to get something I forgot (or thought I forgot but didn’t).  Of course, I slammed car doors, huffed and puffed the whole time, and was quite snappy toward my husband.  Bless his heart, his response to me was, “Hon, are you stressed this morning?”  I realized I was.  We got into the car, and I apologized for my behavior.  I let my emotional and hormonal state consume me, and I was taking it out on him.  We were able to talk through the situation on our way to his place of employment.

So, what did I learn?  Take deep breaths.  When I know hormones are raging, I need to be mindful of my attitudes and actions.  God made women this way:  to live in cycles.  We have time to prepare!  He gives us warning signs!  So, as the hormone fluctuations happen, get a massage, drink more water, increase vitamins, get good rest (I take Tylenol PM during the biggest fluctuations…).  All these things help keep me level-headed as much as possible.  Be open in communicating with those loved ones around you and ask for help.  I cannot even begin to express how thankful I am for Brandon’s response to me yesterday.  Instead of being accusatory, he simply asked me a question.  That allowed me to step back, evaluate, seek forgiveness, and readjust my thinking.

James 4:1-10 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.  You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

So when the waves of emotions are crashing over me, may I respond by lifting my eyes to You, O Lord, from whom my help and salvation come.

 

 

Lie #35:  The answer to depression must first be sought in medication and/or psychotherapy.

Truth #35:  I do struggle with depression, and I have been on and off medication over the last 14 years.  Medication can be crucial for battling depression, especially with chemical imbalances in many of us.  Is it the only option for treating depression?  No.  Is it the best option for treating depression?  Honestly, that depends on the individual, and the source of the depression.  If the culprit is a chemical malfunction in the brain, by all means, take your medication!  It is just as important as insulin for a type 1 diabetic!

Counseling is also a VERY helpful tool in treating depression.  Coupled with medication, it can be even more beneficial than medication alone.  As a person of faith, I always found the most in-depth counseling sessions were with my counselors who were also Christians.  Once I brought my faith into the equation, they then had the Bible as the biggest tool to diving into the depths of my soul.

Deep Bible studies with people I trusted also were (and are) very helpful in battling my depression.

I have to stress here before I continue that each person is DIFFERENT, and treatment options should be based on YOUR needs and circumstances.  Start first by talking to someone you trust:  doctor, friend, pastor, spouse…anyone who can give you Godly counsel and wisdom in taking the next steps.

I have recently stopped taking my antidepressants.  I was not wise in how I did it:  I didn’t tell anyone that was what I was going to do.  I knew if I could get through the first two weeks and the withdrawal symptoms, I would be ok.  I did have a couple of days of high anxiety and a bit of a manic episode here and there.  When I felt these coming on, I did talk to my husband to make him aware of why I might be more intense in the weeks ahead.  Spending quiet time with God in the mornings and writing has been helping me keep my eyes stayed on Him, and is helping me get to the root of my depression issues:  I never felt worthy enough.  This is a battle I fight over and over again, because Satan keeps trying to sneak the same lies in over and over again.  He thinks to himself, “Well, it worked last time.  Let’s try this again and see if I still have it.”  Sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn’t.  When he does, he doesn’t have it as long any more.  The root of God’s Word is pressing deeper and deeper into my soul, preventing Satan’s lies from getting deep enough to do more damage.

I cling to the truth that God’s creation is BEAUTIFUL and I am HIS CREATION.  He knit me together in my mother’s womb.  He wrote all of my days, even those in which I battled depression and suicidal thoughts.  He has rescued me time and time again as I fell victim to my thoughts.  He teaches me to take my thoughts captive now and to dwell on what is good.  As frustrated as I get with people now and then, He reminds me of what is GOOD and the blessings these people bring into my life.  God, time and time again, has come to my rescue and picked me up out of the pit of despair.

He brings me often back to Psalm 40, and reminds me that He does not withhold His mercy from me, and that His steadfast love endures, even when I am weak and depressed.  He loves me, even when I lose sight of that love and feel unlovable.  I am so thankful that He rescues me over and over again!  My feelings can be gateways to lies from the enemy.  I have to trust in God’s Word, in His truth that is unchangeable.  I am HIS, and His alone.