My inner breeding grounds of stress. I was going to share my most toxic and infectious one this week. But now that will be next week. Here’s why. As I pondered all the bubbling mud pots in my life that exhale the debilitating stench of stress I realized something. Something very important to the personal processing of my stress. And to your processing of your stress. They all have something in common. Lies! They are all the result of believing a lie.
So a relatively short post this week, because there are two extremely important things for you to do. Two intertwined exercises that will change this series of blog posts from interesting information into what I desire would be a healing process for you.
First a word about lies. It is important to differentiate the various channels and conduits that transmit lies to us from the source of the lies. Lies come to me in an almost infinite number of ways. Advertisements deceive me into believing a thing can bring me fulfillment. Or protection. Parents pass on lies they believe…often untruths about you. Educators teach the lies they want you to believe. And so I absorb lies from television, radio, music, billboards, news reports, friends, school, university, and on the list goes.
But we need to go deeper than simply recognizing the channels by which lies are transmitted. We must understand the ultimate source of the untruths that breed stressful responses in us. Jesus goes right to the source and lays it out clearly for us in John 8:44, “…the devil…he is a liar and the father of lies.” When we battle the internal lies and untruths that want to stress us out, could it be that we are engaged in spiritual warfare? Might Ephesians 6:12 describe this battle, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against…the spiritual forces of evil“?
When I understand the source of the lies that bombard me from every direction, and the source of the few that are so deeply implanted in me, it helps me know where to go for the truth. Jesus says,”I am…the truth” (John 14:6). That is where I need to go…to Jesus. And when I go to him, I find more than just the truth, I find freedom. Freedom from the lies that have harassed me. “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32)
Now you know the process I use when I feel stressed out. First I try to discover the lie that I am believing. It might be something like, “what you think of me determines my value.” Then I go to Jesus for the truth. He tells me that my value is not in what you think of me, but in being the beloved child of God.” Ah – relax. You do not change my worth.
So here is something you could do this week that would be of extreme value. Pick a situation that seems to repeatedly stress you out. What are you believing about it and you that stresses you out? Unless you are bluntly honest, you will not find the appropriate truth in Jesus that will set you free. Write down what you think the lie might be. Then write what the truth really is. Don’t forget to ask God. And don’t be afraid to share your suspected lie with a few trusted others who know how to go to the truth of God’s word and ask them for help.
Next week, I promise, I will share with you what I believe has been my most fundamental core lie that held me captive and led me down the road to incredible anxiety, then to burnout and depression.
Remember: To keep these posts short, I periodically send additional material to “subscribers.” If you have not already entered your email and first name above, take a minute to submit it and I will send you the symptoms of stress and the difference between stress, anxiety, burnout, and depression. You will find this helpful.